“the experience which i am attempting to describe by one tentative approach after another is very precise and is immediately recognizable. but it exists at a level of perception and feeling which is probably preverbal – hence, very much, the difficulty of writing about it.” [1]

13/01/2012 § 5 Comments

michael kenna, forest edge, hokuto, hokkaido, japan (2004)

 

“life is not a walk across an open field” –

russian proverb

shelf of a field, green, within easy reach, the grass on it not yet high, papered with blue sky through which yellow has grown to make pure green, the surface colour of what the basin of the world contains, attendant field, shelf between sky and sea, fronted with a curtain of printed trees, friable at its edges, the corners of it rounded, answering the sun with heat, shelf on a wall through which from time to time a cuckoo is audible, shelf on which she keeps the invisible and intangible jars of her pleasure, field that i have always known, i am lying raised up on one elbow wondering whether in any direction i can see beyond where you stop.  the wire around you is the horizon.

remember what it was like to be sung to sleep.  if you are fortunate, the memory will be more recent than childhood.  the repeated lines of words and music are like paths.  these paths are circular and the rings they make are linked together like those of a chain.  you walk along these paths and are led by them in circles.  the field upon which you walk and upon which the chain is laid is the song.

into the silence, which was also at times a roar, of my thoughts and questions forever returning to myself to search there for an explanation of my life and its purpose, into this concentrated tiny hub of dense silent noise, came the cackle of a hen from a nearby back garden, and at that moment that cackle, its distinct sharp-edged existence beneath a blue sky with white clouds, induced in me an intense awareness of freedom.  the noise of the hen, which i could not even see, was an event (like a dog running or an artichoke flowering) in a field which until then had been awaiting a first event in order to become itself realisable.  i knew that in that field i could listen to all sounds, all music.

from the city centre there are two ways back to the satellite city in which i live: the main road with a lot of traffic, and a side road which goes over a level crossing.  the second is quicker unless you have to wait for a train at the crossing.  during the spring and early summer i invariably take the side road, and i find myself hoping that the level crossing will be shut.  in the angle between the railway lines and the road there is field, surrounded on its other two sides by trees.  the grass is tall in the field and in the evening when the sun is low, the green of the grass divides into light and dark grains of colour – as might happen to a bunch of parsley if lit up by the beam of a powerful lamp at night.  blackbirds hid in the grass and rise up from it.  their coming and going remains quite unaffected by the trains.

this field affords me considerable pleasure.  why then do i not sometimes walk there – it is quite near my flat – instead of relying on being stopped there by the closed level crossing?  it is a question of contingencies overlapping.  the events which take place in the field – two birds chasing one another, a cloud crossing the sun and changing the colour of the green – acquire a special significance because they occur during the minute or two during which i am obliged to wait.  it is as though these minutes fill a certain area of time which exactly fits the spatial area of the field.  time and space conjoin.

– john berger [2]

 

walking in a field

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[1]     berger, john. about looking. new york: pantheon, 1980: p. 192 – 193. print.

[2]     ibid

§ 5 Responses to “the experience which i am attempting to describe by one tentative approach after another is very precise and is immediately recognizable. but it exists at a level of perception and feeling which is probably preverbal – hence, very much, the difficulty of writing about it.” [1]

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You are currently reading “the experience which i am attempting to describe by one tentative approach after another is very precise and is immediately recognizable. but it exists at a level of perception and feeling which is probably preverbal – hence, very much, the difficulty of writing about it.” [1] at a young hare.

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