Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I need air


Where I live, or used to live perhaps, there's a very old
and very big maple
sitting just outside the kitchen window.
Every morning she takes a long, deep, slow breath in, that lasts the whole day.
Then she lets it out, slowly, a long breath out, during night.

Where I grew up there were no trees that big.
My childhood trees were apple and pear, plum and cherry.
There was the odd old oak.
Birch.
Forests of spruce and pine.

The pines could grow tall inland.
But near the coast where I grew up, the pines
were bent and crooked like old women having
worked a life in the fields.
Like bonsai trees. Tree slaves.
Trees that are not free.

The winds did that to the pines.
They were so low and and their canopies so flat that we often climbed up
and lay on top.

Zen for kids. Before we knew anything about the maintenance of a motorcycle.
We knew freedom and what it smelled like.
On top of these opressed but stubborn trees.

There was a spiritual calmness about laying there,
on a bed of pine needles,
under the sky,
breathing deeply and slowly.
watching terns and gulls chasing each other and the winds,
diving into the sea,
coming up with glittering little fish.

We would lay up there,
not very high up,
but high enough to be invisible to the occasional passerby underneath.
Quiet. Breathing. Untouchable.

We filled our lungs with fresh air from the sea.
We were invisible.
And a little like birds. Floating on top of the world.

I remember that I sometimes had dreams about flying.
From one roof to another.
Sometimes I was able to jump high up in the air,
and, like I could, by concentrating hard enough, just hang there.
An act of will.
Levitate. I could levitate in my dreams.

Now I often wake up and think I can't breath.
I have no dreams in which I fly.
I have dreams in which airplanes can't make it to the altitude.
Can't make it above the electricity pylons and wires.

I wish I could just find a flat pine,
rest on top of the foliage.
With my pockets full of pine cones that I would drop on the heads of people passing underneath.
Especially those who reject my work.

I guess flying,
or even levitating for a just moment,
is to wish for too much.

I'm taking another deep breath.
If only the air wasn't so polluted.

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