Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
“Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost.” – Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, “Exiles”
I won’t burst into tears, because my tears rarely come in bursts. My tears escape my body with the efficiency of a well-planned, late-night border crossing, army-crawling under thorny thickets, waiting until the sentry’s eye goes blind from the bribery. They will slide to the agreed rendezvous point at the contour of my jaw and await transit from the sleeve or tissue paper, or base-jump to the earth; they will vanish into their new lives and forget the nation of ache that used to call them citizens.
Tonight, New Leaf Theatre closes their moving and fully realized production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, their final production before shuttering their doors entirely. For the next two weeks, my wife and son will be spending most of their time in the suburbs while she works a teaching assignment; I will be staying in the city to continue my own work, and it will be the longest single stretch of time I’ve spent away from them since we became parents. By the end of the summer two of the dearest friends and artistic collaborators I’ve been fortunate to find will have gone off to seek further enlightenment in the far-flung reaches of Texas and Montana; to say I will miss them is to commit an understatement on how much love I have for the both of them.
This is not an essay about despondency. This is being written as a catalog of crashing waves, to understand that what I used to view as horizon has become the present place. There is sadness in all of this but sadness only has power when you allow it to be sadness, when you allow it unrestricted reign. Plenty of people harbor thoughts of suicide; the trick is refusing to let the crew come ashore.
Life changes of any magnitude inevitably put me in the mind of water, and I’m aware of how consciously I’m employing the imagery. I attempt to tolerate the mutability of water by finding my own transformation into fluid; I respond by determining the state I must exist within in order to live in the state in which existence is choosing to immerse me.
It is, of course, a different world, a world rife with the potential for unbroken communication, a world in which new and richer experiences are impossible without the collapse of the status quo. There is as much or more to look forward to as there is to look back upon. Tomorrow I will look time in the eye and I will open my arms to the ocean. Tomorrow I will stretch out my bones and rearrange the ends of my nerves to better perceive the sensations left behind.
Today I sit in the shadow next to the sunbeam stringing together words with mournful notes from distant flutes, captured as they flew through valleys and over streams. Change is not always loss but it often arrives wearing similar garments, and I’m not quite ready to look beyond the surface of the thing.
Current Music: Mumford & Sons, “Winter Winds”