Friday, August 01, 2014

Apparent Motion

And embarrassing how often I find I have driven entirely off the rails, no longer moving at all, my eyes still flicking to some ancient jerking cartoon song, and I, I, alone and as lost as ever. I never knew what I was doing. How the sky wheels overhead! a waxing crescent moon setting, meaning it has been haunting the sky unseen all day. I have heard people, grown human beings with real jobs, wondering where the moon has gone that they glimpsed in the west at evening. They think because it's new it should be rising, I guess. I don't even have the heart to tell them.

The earth, the earth is round like a ball, or like a shoulder, or like a smoothed pebble, and as I turn it -- thus -- the moon (the which we figure as this fingertip of chalk) appeareth to rise and set. And so the sun too appeareth to rise and set, but all this is the spinning of this lovely blue and white roundness, and all the things that show shining in the west, all of them, are dropping from our sight. 

The moon sure seems a little slower than the others: because it really is travelling, right around us, going to the East: not so fast as we are spinning, not near so fast, but fast enough -- it keeps up enough -- to seem to lag behind the stars, a handsbreadth maybe per night. It is not lagging; rather, it is falling behind our spin more slowly than the stars, if you like to look at it that way. If you like to look at it at all. Do you like to look at it? Do you like to imagine that it's real? Do that, sometimes: because it is real. 

I too am real, a real animal, even if I am an untracked train car, a sometime wreck. My chest rises and falls some twelve times a minute, and my heart beats some five times per breath, falling behind, maybe, like the moon against the stars, or else -- you can always lay the string end to end the other way -- catching up with the unmoving flesh. And my eyes blink. You can tell I'm alive, no matter how still I hold myself: how the blood kicks with each squeeze of the heart! And that's not even to mention all the gurgling and fermenting in my midsection, more the work of my resident bacteria than of mine, sure, but still ordered and marshalled and delimited by my digestive tract -- yards and yards of smooth muscle, doing its work with no more than a casual nod to the voluntary motor system in passing. 

Now -- to the purpose of our rather speech -- supposing other people to be fixed -- they are not, I know, but suppose -- then my heart might be said to advance a handsbreadth, every day, though it appears to lag. So if you see it shining in the west, don't look for it later on at night. It will have dropped from your sight: it has been in the sky all day, but you've been too blind, my dear, too blind to see it. It is only an ocean of potassium and sodium, after all, washing against calcium shores. How I love you, and miss you! 

So I set one wheel after another onto the rails, heaving her up, under the stars. No, no, no moon tonight! You haven't listened to a word I've said, have you?

Rally and heave, heave O! we sing. Round and round and round she goes, back on the track and away she rolls!


Zhoen said...

Listening, although I've always found the spatials slippery in my gooey brain. I slow in eddies at the side, watching from there.

Lori Witzel said...

And then one of my walking friends told me about this:

And these: