Monday, 8 October 2012

Gathering Wool

Cliona and the Sea, South Africa 2012 © Joss McKinley

Indulge my idle fancies if you will. Take the time to listen to silence, while I while away some hours for you. Sleep, even, while you listen, but don't dream, not yet. Yes, sleep. Sleep; let it wash over you. You, doubly exposed, vulnerable, cocooned in noiseless air. An empty breeze. A brass shelled hourglass. Disparate. But now that we know it's coming, I am happy to wait. Knowing. A pair, or more, of us, wrapped in wool, waiting and knowing. Let us dream.

Plant with the Sun, Ireland 2010 © Joss McKinley

I recall we once talked of net curtain ghosts; different light reflects from the window of these days. A light less harsh. A light where old cameras stand resolute, though distant; collecting dust; and a sun I hardly recognise shines for the pair of us. Always brighter than I remember, despite its polluted diffusion, always brighter. The things here are pleasant, but of course, they are forced to be, having seen so much and survived pristine. Their neat, un-chipped edges reminding us of the times we try desperately not to forget. Items forged of mindfulness. Little pieces of captured time. Wood. Porcelain. Lace. Paper.

Boy, Somerset 2004 © Joss McKinley

There, the boy prince from long ago awaits. Put to work again, opposite the praying child. The darkness between them, this darkness, is not empty. The word empty is too full. Yet, each knows the other to be there. Always to be there. He is always there. He warms every shadowed memory, and holds your hand at dusk when we're scared. Perhaps he isn't praying after all, perhaps he never was, but merely kneeling, there, on the woolen carpet, to ask you, to ask your child: Are you alright?
And the words come: Join me here. I have been striving for nothing for a while now. Tirelessly pursuing timelessness. Searching and waiting simultaneously. Reaching. Frozen. By the sun. Frozen by the increasingly pleasant sun. I'll hold here. Right here. I'll hold here and be weathered with you. No longer wrapped in wool, but bearing our skin to the sky; protected by our preoccupation with nothing. Just you and I, here, together, the three of us, together. Perhaps.

Sunset, Ireland 2012 © Joss McKinley

Standing at the beginning of the endless, listening to other tongues; where sheer papers edge reflection. There, and beyond, I see my journey, ongoing. Past solid metamorphics, licked so gently into shape. Still, I will not speak of time. The word time, too finite. Too many visible ends. Ends. Ends like meeting death, momentous and still. A caged bird sings its last. Singing to death. Sighing. Becoming a sigh. These are the ends we see. This is time. And, finally, when our own time comes, perhaps we will know then, that the end is always gentle, and the endless always ends.

Disquiet consumes the moment. Three prongs have pierced our Luddite's sunset. That perfect antiquated sunset; projected on paper and viewed through glass. And yet, in spite of the intrusion, these moments are moments we can touch. We are touched by these moments. Were we together then? In that particular moment? Ensconced in the space between solitude and isolation? Perhaps. The warmth here reminds me of you. The warmth tells me: yes. We were together. Yet I don't see you here. Only what is left of our sunset, or sunrise was it, burnt into the wall, exhaling through those tri-part punctures, breathing out its own shadow, painting us into a corner. Waiting for us to pass.
Alone in the room where a king once sat. He faces us still, staring out from dry, warm, shadows. Absorbed in his own imagery, he waits still, for our adoration. But we are not here for worship, nor to relive his glory, but simply to be, here, together, to inhabit this space, his space. A space so often seen through artificial eyes, but not today, not by us, here, today. A dry, warm, breeze, a kindly breeze, moves sheer curtains, and only dust dances in the stillness. Dust made glow by an amicable sun, as they waltz serenely through shadowed bars over wool-covered floor. Dance on dust dance on.

Salute, Ireland 2010 © Joss McKinley

I saw the echo of my eyelashes to begin with. Filling the lens with their closeness. Beyond them I saw you. Cornered, but not uncomfortable. Hung out to dry, but not abandoned. Waiting. For the slow returning sun. Imperfect, but beautiful. Motion-free. Caught in the boundless energy of inertia. Waiting. Watching. Wanting. But what?  Thoughts interrupted. Images reflected. A mirror in need of silvering. Incomplete, and alone, and yet…This blurred image of mind, of mine, is always most clear. Not wanting, but needing nothing. Not waiting, but willing nothing. Not watching; as you close your eyes to sleep. To sleep and dream alone.

The cold surface before me transposes my sense, of I, to the lulling waves below. Tenderly they kiss the glass, delicately threatening to break the barrier between I, the entity I, and the eternal outside. Threatening to shatter the pane and let us merge. Allowing a break into freedom, where only our limits hold us together. I watch as you slowly submerge yourself, braced against the chill indifference which floats below the surface. The trees all around bare themselves to us and demonstrate an age we can but contemplate. We are only here. You release the rails and float away, drawing me nearer, with every stroke, as you put distance between us. These are the times we are truly one. The times I know we are one. When we cannot feel the cold. I am the sheet that unravels as I enfold you. You are the pillow that supports my head as I sleep; that supports my dreams. The pillow from which I draw the stuffing. Slowly. Steadily. Woolgathering.

Gathering Wool.

Matthew Crowley


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