Saturday, March 25, 2023

Buber 15

Oh Eucalyptus, tree that offers so little shade, so rich a palette of reds and greens and browns, I’m back! From the sidewalk, up hill from your base, I can see your cracked limbs, the spidery leaves in a splotched canopy. I can’t climb Eucalyptus, only infer from the bottom what the top must be like. Inference is imagination, if that is defined as collage rather than pure color. Like all true teachers, he wishes to teach not a view but the way. But what I’d give to have that view from the top down: bent shadows of monkeypods, a blue swimming pool, chain link fence, parking lot, stairs whose edges have been painted bright yellow. The way of the tree has nothing to do with destination. I could ascribe aspiration to its height, or stoicism to its peeling bark. But, as DH Lawrence wrote to the fish, “your god is not my god!” Nor are your verbs mine. If all nouns are actually verbs, you tree yourself here, acquire volition as your sap saps from the peeling bark. A haven is active, where the verb “to bend” in the wind suggests a bow, like Lars Nootbar to his Japanese fans. The tree is like us, but the like likely’s difference. A new pressure gauge serves little purpose, but its open face tells us that time’s a kind of pressure, that we can add or subtract it. We age into less of it, our needle bumping back toward zero, but not without a rush of water from the tank, brown from the catchment. That wow was for the photos by Tarkovsky; slow cinema ground to a halt, as when a pepper grinder completes its task, emptied of pepper, but full of beans. Her mother said Putin was coming for dinner and they didn’t know what to do with him, but the conversation turned toward life-long learning and Putin disappeared. We understand our minds best in extremis, though that makes everything else more difficult. Chaos in French is chaos, so you don’t have to learn that sound for that phenomenon, only how to organize whatever it represents. To represent chaos in two syllables simplifies it already. Language is the maid with a broom and dustpan, pushing chaos away from the center of the room and into the furrows of the house’s brow. Hausfrau. It’s the ultimate collaborator, trying so hard to live inside an ethical frame that rots as you watch it. To keep order in a disordered state is itself an act of betrayal. But it may pad your life’s lease. Find an new tenant, one who faithfully pays the rent. Do not talk about the past. It’s an early stage of grieving, this sense of shock that stifles words. We approach the subject gently, and then back off. We talk about sports and cooking instead. It’s a kind of communication, of kindness, that puts off the pain while still acknowledging it.

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