whatonomy Moving Over the Face of the Waters


You should have seen me go. My feet were skipping over the pavement like infinitely skimming stones, so fleet and light that they left no ripple.

As I ran, I was listening to this song, its trance raising my diaphragm with euphoric fizz. As I ran, I swear I fell in love with every single sentient thing that parallaxed past me. Running, smiling, eyes half-closing, dangerously at risk of haplessly bursting into traffic or tumbling over hedgerow into the line of fire of a trimmer, I was a bliss of nothing – I am a part of the infinite, a permanent embrace.

It’s 11am and I have yet to depart my pyjamas. There is unwashed crockery in the sink. There are lightbulbs that need changing. My teeth hurt (I really ought to get to a dentist). My lower back hurts (I really ought to even out my posture with a bit of yoga, but all yoga seems to do for me is remind all those around me what I had for dinner the night before).

As you might have gathered, my half-term holiday has just begun. For a brief moment, I am presented with an enormous slice of dream-time. I am delirious and buzzing with mental fatigue. As the dust settles around me, I imagine it as ticker-tape and I, a gazelle, the central figure in some incongruous and zoological Macy’s Parade.

Hercules, as a teacher, would have struggled to muster the energy to shave, this morning. As it goes, I stroke my smooth chin-skin and look deep into my own eyes. I congratulate the owner of those eyes for having started the day at last.

The first coffee of the holidays feels carbonated in this body that should be moving far more than it currently is. I don’t need this coffee, for there is nothing from which to pick me up.

A teacher, a creature of routine, I find myself in a Choose Your Own Adventure with too many branches, too many possibilities, greedy for time.

A day in, and I have written the first chapter of a novel. A day in, and I have mastered Nick Cave’s ‘Ship Song’ (after a fashion) on the guitar. A day in, and I have discovered the joys of Fultoning wild animals on dusty, Afghan prairie land.

In short, my mind is a mess. A mess which it will take the duration of this brief pasture to unravel.

Everyone who works, feels this. In sharing this fragility and knowing that we are not the machines we pretend to be; surrounded by fused adapters, blackened bulbs and novels unread and unwritten: embrace the broken, the impermanent and the lost.

Work. Run. When you run, dream of nothing. Until you fall. And when you fall, dream of when you ran. Though you no longer have the muscle with which to smile, I can see it broad in your eyes.

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