19 November 2013
Please listen to the song with headphones. The depth of the sound gets lost through speakers.
I’ve been listening to this song on repeat all morning. I don’t really know why, or at least I didn’t, until I read an article about the search for Craig Arnold, and a summary of his last days. In the middle of the article, I had the song on in the background, and I was transfixed. In this trance-state, I wrote for 2 hours. As my post for the day, I offer up some of my notes:
It was the song, first, although really the story first. It was the poem first, and then the relationship, and then the rest of the poetry. And then it was sleep and dreaming, and a sense of deep yearning, of absolute care and love, of obstacles and boundaries, and a short sense of grief. And then this morning it was the song, and then a curiosity, and then I just couldn’t stop.
I actually resented my own physical hunger for getting in the way of this. But I placated it, and I brought supplies, and I got everything together as quickly as possible. Heat, water, food, set up the songs, isolated the poems and the articles and the words to read. Brought up the research, dialed back all distractions. And here I am.
How to write to a man who has been dead for almost 5 years? How to pay a tribute to a man I never knew? How to pay some kind of honor to how captured I am by his soul, by his story, by the way he wrote moments of foresight into the days before his death? Why does it matter, and who am I to him? Another reader. Another wordsmith. Another wanderer, who understands the ineffability of the always searching. What do I even have to say that could be put into words? What could I write that would break through my ice-layered belief right now that words are not worthy of carrying these emotions, these insights, these delicate washes of pure human experience. To say it is to cheapen it. To write it feels like materializing the immaterial. But if he were here, I would pick up the phone, I would call him, I would say, Didn’t you ever wonder how close you were to the edge?
Note: the edge is not the final cliff. The edge is the line between this reality and the real world. The edge is a transition point, an evolution, a searching and finding and found-ness. The edge is probably something I should try to write about, because it feels so visceral to me.
For the idea of seeing a scent, I’m going to defer to the last words Craig posted online before he died:
Crushed in the hands, the fresh leaves are sweet, slightly musky – not quite mint, not quite juniper. It is a clean, windswept smell, the smell of meadow, of England, of green, the smell of a road after rain. It is the smell of a world in which there is nothing rotten or putrid or sulfurous, a world in which all of those things have been rinsed away.
– A Digression Upon Angelica, Craig Arnold, April 26th 2009.