Sometimes it seems there are simply too many images. I was at just such a point, finally, when I opted for the outland instead. I wanted more space, at least enough to be able to pick and choose among the things I wanted most. I wanted to be where the light might some day be able to reach down and touch my hair. Most of the pictures I still had from my childhood were merely invisible, like this periodic table of the uplands I keep picturing in my mind's eye. They keep getting tangled up in each other, as if each had a will of its own. Like so many deleterious and disappointed toys. There are just as many times you would give an arm or a leg to get away from them all, simply pack up and go, like a thumbnail to some place completely different. The leaves are turning, just now, alternately yellow and bronze. Another reminder of the ice age. The deep blue pools and smaller eddies, out here, begin to plunge downward by degrees day and night virtually over the last twenty years of my life. The wind riffles the tops of the waves, which are always both shapely and imaginative. To make sense of things it is still necessary to have as many of these sensations as possible. Once we are gone, the sensations are no longer here. Only at the water's edge does the blue of the sky meet the blue of the water. It is quite possible that this is where the end of thinking begins.
But the outland is in us, too, just as it is everywhere around us. Sometimes this requires a single correction, or a change in attitude, or some other similar refraction in the light. The power of each moment resides in this change. In this way, all time is unlimited, or unfettered. It is infinitely large, or small; depending. Your perspective can get a real workout here. It can catch you up short, or open up the next horizon, sometimes both at oncealthough the memory of the moment is never the same as the moment itself of course. Which is more powerful? Doesn't this depend on its use? The way you often feel yourself moving forward for example a split second before you actually do. Do such questions themselves necessarily alter the answers? Do such things happen for the most part in or out of time? What is meant by duration then? Can it, all by itself, become tarnished? Is there a better word for this, such as wakefulness perhaps? It is the same river after all that flows through both of my hands. I was the one who thought of them as separate.
It was then I decided to pull out all of the stops in order to get everything down here. I didn't want to pull any punches, ever again. I was right here, swaying with the motion of it all, from side to side. Your hair was silver; I forgave you for it. My manner was never more certain than in my own pockets. I'd kept so many things there I could forget each one. I could never imagine getting everything right in the first place. The past never exists the way you thought it did, although miles away the present is still shining. It is so bright that it is blinding. I really haven't got a clue where I am, but I'm walking into it just now anyway, as though I did, which is the way I've always done it. The future may be merely another note, like this one, all bright and dark at the same time. But spotted with clouds, too, like most of the rest of us. Even the horses. The concept of the outland is in the color of the night sky, just as I remembered it each and every time, until I no longer had to look at it to see it.
The outland is also simply an embankment of clouds, alternately receding and coming toward you, as if they were completely anonymous.
When the outland first struck me like this, swiftly across my face, it felt like a small sun. I had just walked across the night, sleepless and distraught. Later, as the sheer blueness of the day began to pour over the woods and fields themselves, I thought about lastness. I was in a very old, unglaciated ravine, rich in mosses and ferns, high cliffs and water. I stood there stunned. Amid so much life and death emptying outward. Earlier, today, I had walked between a hugh cottonwood, and a smaller one. Its son or daughter. I nodded, one of the living. I didn't have to imagine what passed between them under the newly striated, multicolored sky.
Everything keeps flying apart. Here, there appears to be no real interior or exterior, but instead a far more fluid and interesting exchange between the two. I know perfectly well it won't last. It can't. As I can't help hoping it will, at least a little longer. Then it grows a trace more somber. So I let it go. Otherwise the buttons on our shirts begin to open, birds begin to peck at our heads, and the ant hills appear far more numerous. Arrows, made out of the finest hairs, begin to point in all directions at once. This feels ok somehow. If it were not I would not be able to tell you about it. I might look more like an abandoned homestead instead, the openings and closings surrounding it especially deft, as are the inverted time lines and bright, commodious birds. There seems to be no place else to go from here, but then you remember you carry most of this inside you anyway, as well as outside, too. But at this point you always seem to lose a little more of the whole picture, though this never stopped you before. A cool front has moved through from the north; I'm not that far from Canada. But it has brought absolutely no rain whatsoever, no matter how badly we needed it. Something else to balance here, too, a bit precariously, like the tip of an iceberg in the middle of summer, or else the moon sliding over you like a piece of silt. A speck of light, or dark.
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