Winter- Ali Smith

“Landscape directs its own images.- Barbara Hepworth”

(The last Christmas at UP, the lake, and the sea.)

“But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. – Theresa May.”

(We have to pick, or let it form, let it emerge, instead of letting go.)

“Darkness is cheap.”

(So, brightness is priceless.)

“She gets to her car soaked through. She sits in it in the car park under the noise of rain on the roof, in the not unpleasant smell of wet coat and car seat. Drips run down her from her hair. It is liberating. She watches the rain change the windscreen to a moving blur. The streetlights come on and the blur fills with the misshapen shifting spots of many colours, like someone’s thrown little paint-filled missiles at the windscreen; this is because of the municipal strings of coloured Christmas bulbs suspended round the edge of the car park.”

(I remember a rainy morning like this, the morning at Belmont. The smell of the rain, my heavy coat, the blurred windscreen. By then, we’ve just apart; by then, I still believed that we are together.)

“for instance, I could tell you a very verifiable fact or two-
(very very fiable, ha ha!)
-about a man called Mr. Kepler, who studied time and harmony and believed that truth and time were kindred-”

(Truth and time are kindred only because we learn how to excuse ourselves and to find persuasive explanations to things. Truth is relative in this context. It is WE who finalize it makes it absolute.)

“It was meant as a warning. Take a look at what your saints are truly made of. It was the demonstration that everything symbolic will be revealed as a lie, everything you revere nothing but burnt matter, broken stone, as soon as it meets whatever shape time’s contemporary cudgel takes.
But it worked the other way round too. They looked, those vandalized saints and statues, more like statements of survival than of destruction. They were proof of a new state of endurance, mysterious, headless, faceless, anonymous.”

“We all mine and undermine and landmine ourselves, in our own ways, in our own time, Sophia thinks.”

“Cymbeline, Lux says.
A play about a kingdom subsumed in chaos, lies, powermongering, division and a great deal of poisoning and self-poisoning, his mother says.
Where everybody is pretending to be someone or something else, Lux says. And you can’t see for the life of you how any of it will resolve in the end, because it’s such a tangled-up messed-up farce of a mess. It’s the first of his plays I read. It also happens to be why I ever wanted to come to this country to study. I read it and I thought, if this writer from this place can make this mad and bitter mess into his graceful thing it is at the end, where the balance comes back and all the lies are revealed and all the losses are compensated, and that’s the place on earth he comes from, that’s the place that made him, then that’s the place I’m going, I’ll go there, I’ll live there.”

“But what will the world do, though, Mrs Cleves, Lux says, if we can’t solve the problem of the millions and millions of people with no home to go to or whose homes aren’t good enough, except by saying go away and building fences and wall? It isn’t a good enough answer, that one group of people can be in charge of the destinies of another group of people and choose whether to exclude them or include them. Human beings have to be more ingenious than this, and more generous. We’ve got come up with a better answer.”

“He thought is was because he was too old. He was older, and compared to the age I was I did think he was ancient. He was in his sixties then. Well, now I know that your sixties feels the same as all the other ages, and your seventies. You never stop being yourself on the inside, whatever age people think you are by looking at you from the outside.”

“He’s got into the habit of thinking up something conceptual and metaphysical to ask them both every week or so. He copies them both into everything he sends them. This infuriates them. Good. They’re of the generation to enjoy infuriation, and the fury keeps them in touch with one another as well as him.”

Greenbay, early March, the end of winter, and then back to Spring. But there was no Spring at both homes. Ali always brought me back, to the specific period of my life, but I’ve never thanked her for being the lighthouse lighting up the darkness of the night sea. Charles Dickens and Shakespeare, a small town almost nowhere on the island, always connected me back to the lake, four seasons, all those people. 

It was quiet in the nursery kitchen. I don’t want him to be there. He’s still alive, but I feel death there, peace and forever and death, no big difference.

We’ve packed up many of his books, I took all of his Ali Smith with me. I introduced her to him, but I never knew he had gotten so many of hers during the two years we’ve apart.  I remember his favorite drink at the coffee shop, blonde brew and three pumps of vanilla syrup in a tall cup, a vanilla blonde. I went to the bookstore we used to go together, lingered at the board game section for a while. We’ve never been there before, neither him nor I used to interested in board games, neither of us technically has a squad to play a big game with. 

We went to see him, all of us, at different times. That’s one of the moment of my life, when it strikes me so hard that the nausea felt surreal, that I uncovered a part of the essence of life, the truth of living a life. What could it mean when all mean so little to someone.

I see too many in him, like I see so many in both men I loved, he’s my Mr.Gluck stuck in the Autumn, my parent, my friend, my tutor, my memories and my understandings. When summer comes, I secretly wish that the garden outside his room coming into full blossom that could light up the nothingness of his life in the simplest way.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s