Tuesday, August 19, 2014


It's a solitary business, watching the news come and go like ships in a harbour. Each story comes from somewhere, it's all the buzz for a few hours, and then it sails away and is soon forgotten. We sit in this harbour of dreams, each of us perched in our corner, waiting for salvation - for that ship that will bring us the good tidings - but none ever comes. The seagulls float above us mocking us with their cries. They can see far into the horizon, and they tell us to despair, that our long lost loves will never come, that those who left us have forgotten us and are too busy to write. So we settle into the drudgery of every day life. We wake up every day and go to work, sometimes one of us meets the other in the street and we nod at each other silently. At night we have our meals, bathe, and put ourselves to bed. We dream dreams that we won't remember, sleeping in fits and starts. The dreams that make us jolt upright are quickly forgotten as we sink back into oblivion. And in the morning we awake. That's all there is. Sometimes we don't sleep that well. Then it's a slow march through the day as we try to focus on work, try to get the shopping done, try to remember appointments and promises and obligations. Keeping in touch with distant loved ones becomes more and more of a chore.

It's as if time is slowly turning us into the gnarled old trees that we walk past in the streets without noticing. Maybe those trees are really the people that everybody forgot about. Is it possible, I wonder, to slowly sink into a state of not caring, not feeling, not remembering? To decide one day to stop moving as you walk down the path of life? You stare on with unseeing eyes. Your skin turns to bark, your feet dig deep in the ground and spread their roots. Slowly leaves cover your tired head from the sun and the rain and the wind. Birds would come and settle on your branches, and lovers would carve their names on your body, hoping to be remembered forever. And then a child on a tricycle would speed ahead of his parents as they walk past, hopeful and full of life, and neither of you would notice the other or think anything of it.

Another ship sales into the harbour, and the watchers stand up, their eyes wide and full of expectation, only to turn them down again in disappointment as it disembarks again. No journey home, no good news, no letters from loved ones. So the watchers sit back down and drink their tea or coffee or whiskey. As they walk back home that evening, another watcher stops walking down a path, his eyes fixed to the distance at something only he can see. His limbs stop stirring and another tree is born. 

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