Monday, January 03, 2011

Today was the perihelion, and for once it was sunny, so the sun and I could see each other and chat without any complicated levers and pulleys and baskets and semaphores. The sun leaned in close to listen.

So I told it about the funny little yellow-faced sparrows that have shown up in my trees recently, sparrows who will almost certainly become a nuisance once it's time for plants but who for now spend a lot of time tumbling hilariously on and off of branches. About the patterns left on the side of a building once covered with vines and now empty, white flashes of leaves and roots against the flaking brown paint. I told it about the smells, the sharp curled leaves under a coat of frost, the warm brown smell of a working slow cooker and the soft sweetness of a pear this side of ripe. About Stendhal and crystallization and love, dipping empty branches into salt mines and drawing them out covered in rainbows and sparkle, transformed only for those who have eyes to see them. There aren't any salt mines on the sun, but it knew about them anyway.

I told it that I worry that the places that we bend just trying to get through will ultimately be where we break, that we might not get past all of these brambles, that our eyes are made of glass and our bones cotton candy. That we might end up wrapped in chains just for something to do. I told it about dreaming of bonfires made of bones, burning hot and low and sweet, fogging the air. And all the sparks that we throw, upward by the handfuls, trying to light whatever wherever they come down. Just for the sake of light.

And then I told the sun that I have been reading Rebecca, which is really just a story about letting the weakest parts of you write your narrative, how even though the truth can be bad it's at least what's real. But instead we're protecting ourselves with more dangerous shields, letting those same old brambles pick our way. Which isn't the worst thing, just another one. Something else to keep track of.

The sun told me about its plans for tomorrow's eclipse, a quick dance with the moon and changing eyes all over Europe and North Africa first thing in the morning. Teaching people through spectacle to see everything differently, remember just how much bigger everything else is. How of all the things it looks at from space, these events are almost exclusively the only time anyone is looking back. Putting on a little show just for the sake of transforming for those with eyes to see.

So I shined the sun's dancing shoes and told it three secrets and five wishes, handed it a box filled with sugar and magazines and something cool to drink. In the end it never matters exactly what we say--we always understand each other anyway.

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