The Dust of Memory

A solemn reflection gentlemen: what man has hidden nothing from himself? Such memories, which have accumulated, but disappear in a years time, and yet in moments they flood forth. Images of a street sign, under a lamppost, glowing orange in the fog. The sound of footsteps and humming, and a cart being pulled along a side street or in an alley. The bells from the cathedral borne sadly over the city, like morning. The chatter, which fills the market, but then dulls by afternoon.  Sometimes faces come back, like apparitions in the shadows, with long grey beards, and tattered cloaks. Eyes bent downward, grown heavy from too many years of solitude or subordination; and in such eyes, an enigma… Such unfathomable depth.

It is strange that the mind seems to have no choice, no freewill, in what it chooses to recall. We are powerless to our nightmares. I am awakened from sleep often, by the strength of my terror. I can only sleep peaceably in rain storms. There is something soothing about that sound. The dissonance between drops. The dull grey light, which seems less threatening than darkness. But along the street, the sound is dulled by the slosh of tires driving past a puddle. It seems to accentuate the paradox of human existence: that one is always alone within one’s thoughts, but can never truly bear to be alone… The push and pull of solitude, which actually realised, is man’s greatest torture… The restlessness which pushes us forth into the uncertain night, invisible, in search of something uncertain, but most certainly human.

I returned to Philadelphia…

Last night in Allentown, I watched a storm collecting on the horizon… Rolling over the foothills of the Appalachians, as though it were tucking them in for the night… Slowly covering the stars with grey opaqueness… White lightning, dissipating into orange afterburn…

In the morning, my mother drove me to the train. I could hear the train coming before I saw it. The whistle, the gates closing on the street. I looked down at my ragged suitcase, and dragged it to the edge of the platform, watching the day trippers search for the source of the low whistle. Trains no longer amuse me as they once did, but at least you can see the scenery pass from the regional rails. Things are better above ground. The movements seem calmer. No bright lights swirling relentlessly past. No deafening screeching of the breaks. Even the human being who takes the tickets and calls the stops seems more soothing than the subway. I will be in the city four days, and then I will go home. Cities are better for visiting.


About clouddweller

conservationist, naturalist...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s