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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

moose, the noun and the verb

east side of the road against the line of the dense forest, dusk.  this is precisely what it is to stare into the face of a moose.  precisely.  i could show you the ordinary face of the moose, the one he wears, the one we are familiar with, the one we expect, except as i stared into his true face only some feet away i was unable to think toward my hands and adjust my camera. 

moose.

moose, east side of the road, killarney, ontario

earlier in the day i stopped to touch the remarkable head of a dandelion.  i ate fresh strawberries picked by my own hand, strawberries! with specific strawberry flavor.  and earlier than that during a run i paused and ate a pink head of clover.  five days before i stopped during my run and touched the flower of a lupin, a flower i have loved but never once touched before.  each petal unit was like a bell or a pocket, its keel covered by two wings creating its unique shape.   all these years i had no idea.  as i drove toward the forest i touched my arms and my neck, my nose, as i do, becoming reacquainted over and over again with this body that houses me. earlier in the morning i discussed with james through a post of ruth's the heated nature of how language is both a bridge toward and a bridge away from true understanding.  and then the day. and then this moose.

if you could take earth that has never been seen before and stitch it into a cloak and throw it around the shoulders of an ancient idea, this is what i want to tell you the moose's colour was.  the ancient idea would be breath, first breath, a handful of breath lung sized thrown into the house of a body, the breath before human, the one before language was born.  the moose breathed, it snorted, distinct in its body, as distinct as the dandelion and the strawberry, as the clover and the lupin, but with awesome and terrible animation, the moose was.

we stared at one another with only the distance of a few dark feet between us.  at first the moose was stock-still willing me blind.  i was careful to not take my eyes off it.  i put down my car window and slowly raised my camera.  some time passed in the world with both of us breathing.  when it realized i was not being lured into its trick of blindness it willed me away with its strength.  it tossed its head and snorted.  did it stomp its feet?  it raised its left front leg and scraped it against its right front leg.  didn't i understand what it was capable of?  yet still i did not go.  it was still again and we stared at one another.  again there was only time between us, time and the distance in me of being human.  i think we both knew there were moments of decision.  it might have charged me.  (what might i have done in its mind?) but i could not help myself except to remain and be who i am, deeply curious, entranced with possibility.  i was staring into the face of our history, well past the obstacles of being human, except for my being human, of course.  inside the moose is the information we need to understand ourselves.  we too exist in a place beyond language but sadly we have no ability to be aware in that place.  our language keeps undoing our experience of it.  (although this is paradoxically our happy situation, as well, our ability to utter and communicate.)

the moose began to move its awesome body toward me.  i was not going to move.  whatever was to happen would happen.  and then it suddenly veered off away from me onto the road. 



he entered the forest on the east side but did not flee into it.  he was not afraid.  he kept his strong rump toward me and immediately munched foliage, as though consuming were a part of his horrible being, something i should be frightened of.  (yes, moose, i am wary and sometimes weary of consumption.) 

i sit here now typing this, thinking of the moose i saw, conjuring up the memory of his dark face.  although i know the location of the encounter, although i understand i met him on a road through the forest in killarney, i feel his face present inside me, as though it lurks in the meated tissue located in the back part of my skull behind my brain.

moose, west side of the road, killarney, ontario

9 comments:

  1. Yes, if we, humans, go back to that place of primordial being, before language and possibly to that place prior of self awareness and of being cognitive, we would then probably not be able to even understand that state of mind.

    Every once in a while I do my escape from the self exercise by sitting in front of something other than a human being, living or inanimate, and releasing my sef and becoming the other. It is a moment of non-cognition (sort of).

    Gracias for sharing this erin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. how could we understand that state of mind?! the language we have developed through our living, the very tools that we have developed to become the bridge to the world we witness and to the unsayable has become a narrow road and all the mystery beyond it falls off once again into the void of the unsayable, which after all of these years of talking has become that which can not be fathomed but only felt/sensed. this is very important and i'm grateful you've pointed it out.

      as to your ability to sit and transcend self...

      xo
      erin

      Delete
  2. gorgeous piece...nice to see your writing up for us to adore :) is the first photo intentionally all black? i couldn't spot an image in there... love love love to read you, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aimee, it was not intentionally black however, this is what the photograph offered me in that i had not adjusted my settings. but how interesting the situation, that i should sit with a mechanism between me and the moose through which i could see his face clearly but that rendered only a black photograph. i wonder how often the inverse happens, that we stare at something that seems empty but rather is full.

      xo
      erin

      Delete
  3. Erin, thanks for sharing, I'm sure you made quite an impact on the moose,,,M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. michael, i hazard to guess and believe he has no recollection of me, while he will remain inside of me for a long long time.

      xo
      erin

      Delete
  4. The color of earth, never seen!

    You interacted with a moose. You have him inside. Keep him, keep him, forever if you can.

    I met a moose once while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. We stood alone gaping at each other. I did not fully begin to understand his weight until he lumbered away and it sounded like an avalanche. I was 20 (now nearly 57), and it is one of the primary events of my life. I do keep it here in my skull, I do.

    I love the title of this wonderful piece. Why don't we moose the world together, close, with our soil-colored face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ruth, such encounters! i've only met a few moose in my lifetime despite there apparently being many in this area. each time an encounter such as this offers us such opportunity. you are right to remember. what we are offered is the chance to examine language, definition, body and being. even identity. i'm sure there are two distinct strings of being throughout your history, before moose and after moose. these encounters are just that important.

      xo
      erin

      Delete

"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))