Friday, July 30, 2021

Ambiguity of instruments


30 July 2021

At this age, impermanence takes a turn for the permanent. Not those old-style hair-dos that twist wire across the scalp but don’t earn the term they’re given. “Get your hair done” means to have it cut, arranged, fixed in place. So many ambiguities: “done,” “fixed,” “place.” She took a picture of her head beside hydrangeas, added that her image was only for size. The large clay vessel had broken. The potter’s son mended it with gold “thread”; in it were bright yellow furry heliconia. The hanging house was neighbored by a dry well where the main character went to meditate alongside his baseball bat. She asked if a bat were not too violent for my wedding cake, and I said think of it like a violin’s bow. It's nothing in itself, no music comes of it unless you hit ball or skull, both of which require metaphors to catalogue. Sound is so infrequently itself. A bird of one note accompanies more melodic others, over the background noise of machines. They had every size chain saw, Bryant marveled, from small to long. What they cut before they cut the tree was a mystery because the rain forest keeps so much to itself. There’s beauty in this lack of communication, more lush than simple sentences, or spaces where light falls on dead trees, trunks orange behind the bark. She told her landlord trees threatened her cottage, but the landlord said there was no problem. She had insurance. You wouldn’t want to explain it then, like trying to say what a photograph resembles when it resembles nothing that works for a living. The bright blue truck with patches of lichen on it hauls nothing except this image now. Behind the spider webs and dirty glass, a pile of board games, among them Pictionary and NASCAR. With Harry gone, the circle is either complete or forever broken, which may amount to the same thing. Time to turn to other shapes, the melding of a herd of sheep from a drone, pouring like beads in water toward a grid of troughs. Not that the drone sees anything; it only records and sends images back to its operator. Many operators suffer from moral injury; one watched as his drone missed an alleged terrorist and killed his kids, later found in a dumpster. The judge split hairs, putting him in prison for revealing state secrets, while acknowledging the good he did to protest. He saved his soul, a friend writes. (Not the judge.)

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