not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

listening


we listen a great deal to the sounds in the distance, try to untangle their webbing.  sometimes only wind.  sometimes silence.  sometimes promises of coherence, language, understanding.  sometimes great joy. once we heard a wild sound which surely was an animal trapped and dying.  it reached a place of longing in us to do something which we could not do.  there was a body of water between us and the sound and a great distance of emptiness to search, no way to locate the suffering animal, really.  we'd have gone walking and searching forever.  and so instead we remained tied to the pain of the ground, dumbly on our own feet.  of course later we thought it was perhaps only a bird engaged in pursuits we could not understand, it possibly mimicking sounds we only guessed at.  this interpretation, true or not, will always remain possible.  most recently we heard a mad dog in the distance surely on the verge of death whose cacophonous distress broke into the distress of many, only for us to later learn that it was three happy hunting beagles out on a run.  what do we ever know, truly?  nothing.  but we listen to the sounds in the distance and try to name them.

13 comments:

  1. I understand this so deeply today. And why today and not everyday? It doesn't matter I suppose, as long as I can catch a glimpse, and try not to name anything (as if it's possible).

    your writing, as always, stirs...
    xo

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    1. mj, even the distance between people holds great distance for misinterpretation. and here it is i both wrote this and then forgot it (again) in my personal life.

      how many times must we learn the same lesson?

      i suppose as many times as it takes to breathe through - and learn to not name things, but allow living to be.

      xo
      erin

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  2. this brings up in me, erin, the realization that we - at the core it - make our own worlds. many things happen in the world we react to, with pain or joy. but the reaction to the beagles - are they in pain? are they in joy? we have discriminating tools on board and we use them reflexively to paint the world according to ingrained emotional response instead of

    what really is.

    how well and how much do we use the tools we are given? i think we are afraid. i think we look to others to find the path instead of within.

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    1. i've been thinking about this nature of fear you suggest, amanda, and wondering where it comes from. i've been thinking in terms of mortality (of course) and how we fear it, create distance from it, try to name it and tame it and control it, and fail (of course), but just now i am thinking that perhaps the fear comes directly from our consciousness. as conscious beings we are driven to understand. as (arrogant) conscious beings (who do not study the world but only our toenails) we very wrongly put ourselves central to the understanding of the world. perhaps what we are truly afraid to learn is that we are not central and our naming mechanism holds no weight, our understanding is (to the momentum of the overall existence of the world) irrelevant.

      xo
      erin

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  3. Many times we rush in before we know; at times we wait too long. Ahhhh, this trying to be in consonance with the universe is a hard thing to learn.

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    1. :) yup. you said it, rosaria:) a very hard thing. and so we keep at the work of making ourselves smaller so that we might even see the universe and not just our own faces inside it))

      xo
      erin

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  4. The sounds of the distance....try to name then...
    Wonderful
    Regards Erin
    W.

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    1. i wish for fewer language barriers, white. i would love to know how distance exercises itself in your culture and life.

      xo
      erin

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  5. "... tied to the pain of the ground..." Nice. Wonderful image, erin.

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    1. steven, there's something about being inside of these bodies...

      xo
      erin

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  6. you listen, you wait, you stay alert like a still cup ready to be filled,,,

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    1. michael, i hope to. i hope this for all of us.

      (and inside of this i realize, entangled with my ego too often, that if we allow our cups to be too full of self we have less room for the world to pour her secrets and mysteries into us. huh.)

      xo
      erin

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  7. Words you have and use, each a shell laid along the water's edge. The sounds float in them, and we can hear through you.

    Your thoughts remind of of Susan Sontag in On Photography where she says that we see a photograph of something in another part of the world, in some completely unknown-to-us place, and through the photo we think we know something, understand something. But truly, we know very little.

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"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))