November 22, 2005
the (for)getting of wisdom
not an original header, i know ...
i've been away sooo long. i got a job. i may be being head-hunted for a new one on more money than i've ever earned before. so much certainty, and so much un. i'm loving my new neighbours. i'm thinking of wheels and mobility again. summer. a relative's property in lorne. xmas bellinis with other orphans, divided from their families and the friends they love best. i screamed australia across the line from fed square against uruguay, in a moment unparalleled in australian football - the atmosphere walking home through the melbourne CBD was astounding, almost as if NYE had suddenly hit, and the passion for the round-ball had finally overflowed, for a brief moment, into the hearts of egg-ball AFL sheep everywhere. note, guys and gals: i was kissed and hugged by a brazilian guy, a dutch guy, an englishman, two scots and a german. the world game, indeed. if only i were gay...
so: i'm walking along minding my own one sunday when my mind has been sliced open by a good book (extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer); you know the feeling - everything looks more contrasty, cut with the scalpel of feeling from its bland background like some existential bas-relief. i came upon this butterfly. not being a natural entomologist (as opposed to etymologist, which i am) i couldn't tell for sure, but it seemed like it was dying. i was wondering what to do. i wanted to get close to it to take a picture, even though i couldn't do it justice with my shitty little digital - to capture the fleetingness of this perpetual symbol for the ephemerality of beauty and change.
as i got closer, it flexed its little wings in what seemed like an attempt to fly away, even though it could not. i had to wonder: is whatever passes for fear going through its little lepidoptera mind? or is it just instinct to cling to life? which is worse? to dwindle away, unable to even perform the simple act that is your raison d'etre (to fly) or to have some merciful fate eliminate any chance of you feeling loss for what you were or could be, now that decay has set in?
it got worse. i remembered some urban myth bullshit about how butterflies 'taste' with their feet, an afternoon riffing in the retiro with a gifted, magical storyteller about what various cities would taste like if we could likewise sample flavours through walking. i wondered if it was supposed to be like this, tasting a shitty north fitzroy footpath, or would this fragile little bugger have been better off scooped into the mouth of a passing bird or collected by a windscreen, mid-flight, tasting the sky?
or was i just projecting my own stupid fears onto this simple insect, my foot poised above it, ready to crush, to perhaps spare it from longing for something to come, or missing something it never had? of course; the butterfly's emblem isn't flight - many things fly - it's *transformation*. it didn't know it, but it had lived through the hardest part, lucky little winged bastard ...
it was a total blade runner moment; if that butterfly could have said one thing to me it probably would have been: "i want more life, you fucker"
more life. and i spared it for the same reason roy batty spared deckard; in that moment, life itself - any life - was precious. a book had made me feel *something* again, after i'd been walking around numb for months.
a life won't end in december, but some ugly, crawly thing will emerge from its coccoon, perhaps more beautiful, eager to learn to fly, i think.
with or without bells and fanfare, an audience or cheersquad. time to die. and be born.
* * *
don't lose faith; it isn't all pseudo-profound revelation; the shots of one very drunk womble cosying up to a hot sailor, plus my awesomely embarassing gay-trucker Movember stylings will all be up here soon...
the following moment of genius is courtesy of my housemate, sim, a wisecracking calabrese with a memory like a steel trap, and a penchant for scatalogical repartee. with an atavistic scrawl of a whiteboard marker, a hangover born of a golden weekend was tipped right over the edge by the simplest of sunsets over east brunswick meeting a throwback, directly to year five, do not pass Mrs. Rockwell, do not collect 200 lines ...
i laughed and laughed
Posted by reuben at November 22, 2005 10:29 PM