Thursday, April 10, 2014

Now And Never

Bullshit, loads of crap and onwards. Stifling thought, fidgeting body, aches and pains. The whole kit, not being able to sit still. Not being able to leave the ground and fly away. Pulled between worlds and tendencies. Monastic fantasies of one small room, a cot, a desk, a bowl, a rug.
Here I would read and write. I would contemplate the mysteries and The Mystery. I would tend my affairs, small and humble, away from the mad rush of the world.
    Off to the side of the magnificent Saint-Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal is a small building that I have visited a few times. The room above the chapel that Brother Andre lived in has left a deep impression on me. What simplicity. Of course, the small church beneath was opulent enough to render the stark wood of his homely room in relief. The saint lived simply, I'm sure, but he was a few steps from religious gold and wrought works of master craftsmen. I must visit this place again, and forget the line of tourists behind me, and just grip the hand rail that leads me through the tour and stare into that simple single room.
    The monastic fantasy, the single cell or tiny house, also echoes the recurring fantasy of true independence, answering to no one. I have never had the privilege of being truly alone. I have never been without sight of another human for longer than a couple of days in my entire life. It is something that lures me and terrifies me. When I first entered an isolation tank, I snapped the lid shut, turned the lights and soothing sounds off and floated in the dark alone. Within moments I pushed at the light switch and threw the door open with a gasp. I am not so hardy as I'd like. I may go stir crazy in the cabin in the woods. The creatures of the wilderness will quickly creep out from between my ears and unsettle me. I'll plan the trip nonetheless, a week on my own. And if not in complete isolation then close to it. I'll bring books and paper and drawing tools. I'll bring a good knife to whittle and food fit for a pauper playing king.
    The other world I'm pulled to is closer to the one I live in than Brother Andre's world. Opulence and grandeur, the feeding of a growing insatiable ego, servant boys bringing me fresh fruit. Luxury and whim, a not over large estate but one linked to a world of adventure and fine dining. Night life with a driver and a table reserved, companions fresh and charming, bottles filled and emptied. No care for the morrow, for others are doing the caring. Basking in the art of living, tasting culture refined and plenty. Plenty, that's the word. A buffet when I want it. The righteous privilege of choosing only steamed mushroom because it pleases me. Padding about great carpeted studies, selecting volumes rare and lavish. Devoting hours of study, brandy nearby. A huge door to throw open to let the night air in as I smoke a pinch of hashish rolled in fine tobacco. Guests asleep in the far wing.
    This tug of war leads me nowhere. I'm not having any of it. A bowl of steamed mushrooms next to a paperback, my child sleeping in the other room, my partner trying to rest. Planning a camping trip or a morning outing can exhaust me. My man servant isn't up to the job. Push it aside, the task at hand and worry. This isn't what I wanted. This cascade of adulthood. But I never threw a duffle bag over my shoulder and I never hit the road and I never starved and buffets are ok but they are sad things too. This world that pulls me to pieces, it's a world I made. This war is my war alone and both sides fling their error and assumptions at my feet. I wade through it, victim and jailer.
    There is light somewhere. I'll have to rake the ground to find it. I'll have to cast away thought to find it. Stretch this aging body and trade my lust for love. Learning to sit still in my old age.