Wednesday, January 2, 2013

it starts with a colour

Prussian blue. Entirely the colour of a night sky without stars or moon. The interior of a wooden box, ruched velvet under the lid, this dark blue. Then the box closes. Polished wood, rubbed with wax; oak, golden and plainly finished, square-edged. Two, small, rather tarnished brass hinges at the back, a little curly but not much, four tiny nails in each one.

There could be something in the box.

The box sits on a shelf in a large room with enormous, picture windows along two sides. The view outside is of trees broad and deep to the horizon and they're not too close, but near. No branches encroach, they're just there, tall, lovely, dark, mainly a deep green and then in the background some lighter green, birch perhaps. 

The house is on a hill, (it's not just a room). 

In the valley below something sparkles. When anyone opens a window along that northern side where the most sun appears in this hemisphere, the water below which races along fast and clean, a river sends up the play of itself. The sound of rushing water carries when there's no wind.

The future looks this way to me.

We live there.

This day in time to come I sit on a long, rather retro-acid-green sofa, reclining really. The book in my lap is open at about the middle and I read at my usual pace, pages turning every few minutes. You're across the room on a recliner made of wood, lattice and some kind of black, polished stuff in the middle. It's like a sun-lounger but for inside. Curves follow and support your head, neck, back, backside, legs slightly bent and feet, relaxed. You have a flattish dark yellow pillow behind your head and a book open in your hands. 

 The room is mainly golden, figured wood and the floors are polished, the ceiling is the same but not shiny and it's flat, quite high. Shelves where the box sits are paler wood and stretch to the walls on each side of the raw white and grey stone surrounded fireplace. A pair of black, carved birds are on the other side opposite the box. They're like two swans but also perhaps they could be another kind of bird; coy and elegant, apart with a closeness about them too.

One wall in the room is entirely full of books. They're facing the longest set of windows, (which have special glass to screen out harmful UV rays). A black ladder stands in the corner, attached to a rail at the top of the bookshelves so it can be moved along; we can easily fetch books down from our library.

In the middle of the room but over to the side is a globe of the world in a wooden stand. It's so large I cannot put my hands and arms all the way around it. Sometimes I turn the globe and trace where I have been, where I want to go. Or I stand there with my palm upon it, a little sad because no one travels far any more unless they absolutely have to. New, light-weight, ecologically-sound solar cells for long-distance travel, faster than we've been permitted lately are almost ready to be used widely, but not quite yet. 

 Through a door near this globe is the kitchen. It's utilitarian, lots of stainless steel we recycled, and some dark reddish rimu panelling from an old pub. A few perky nonsense things here and there, my penchant for kitsch hasn't really ever left me. A ceramic cat with wide-eyes holds string which appears from its smiley mouth for instance, and a few tins from the 1950s display brightly coloured birds. Your collections line the windowsills, too.

A couple of cat toys lie on the floor, by the sink bench. A bright orange ball, along with a red and green and purple pretend-mouse.

The house is clean but not too orderly. It's warm but not stuffy. We've lived here a while now in the future; planted many of the trees outside and watched them grow. Our neighbours planted others. The world is covered in almost as many trees now, as it had when human beings first appeared on the planet. The future has appeared and it's better, this is in ten or 20 years from now, from 2013.

Today is the day when we do not speak. To anyone. Especially not to each other. Everyone, more or less, takes on these Silent Days now. We can choose the day not to speak, for ourselves. We chose Wednesday, by a random ballot. 

At the letterbox there is a sign. It's a stylised drawing of a person looking out, their eyes open, their ears are clearly drawn, they have a nose but no mouth. This is so people who call in will know, we will not speak to them even if they desperately need us to, on this day. A pad and paper is by the front door and a gadget given to us for Xmas by well-meaning techie friends, it's like an etch-a-sketch. We can do drawings or write words if we need to answer someone. Usually, when people see that sign on a shop or house they simply do not call in there that day.

So it goes and we with it. O yes, time still exists and does not exist, but there were are in times yet to arrive, growing older.

On Wednesdays we each read and sometimes write, one of us cooks and we both eat together in the evening. During the day on mute time we fend for ourselves for meals. The very first day ever that we didn't speak, we made a few mistakes and exclaimed, or started to mention a thought we had. Words escaped us without thought. So we paid the penalty and went an extra 'silent' day and then, another until we did get through one day entirely without talking.

Some noise criminals do exist, that's what they're called. People discuss whether there could be noise meters put into houses, but no one ever wants to take the conversation further. Maybe one day someone will manufacture a kind of talk 'watch-dog' beeper, but at the moment it's more like a voluntary exercise.

Mostly, people love the opportunity to be silent, strangely, if we are to believe the reports. They would not've thought of it themselves perhaps, but when the Silent Day law appeared and was promoted so well, a majority took it on and found they enjoyed themselves. This meant the practise received excellent word-of-mouth, and we're here now reading quietly, in a kind of blur of joy.

It seemed the easiest way to reduce consumption world-wide. When people do not have an easy way to communicate, we are less likely to make plans to buy things, do things, go places, travel, so this new day of rest assisted in the changes we had to make, (or die). We are not permitted any access to the internet or telephones on our silent day either, our online profiles and the answer-phone have messages regarding this on them.

It was during one of these silent days that someone devised a way for hemp to be grown widely and used for so much, nowadays. They planned this beautifully. Governments everywhere could not resist their rhetoric. Many changes have appeared due to this one day, world-wide set aside for intropection, mutual respect and rest.

Now and then here in the future I look across at you reading and occasionally, you look up and catch me regarding you. Sometimes we smile. Today, we just look at each other as if we are wild animals who do not know how to laugh or smile, we just look into each other, deeply. If we were buildings ourselves, constructions, you could say we look into the rooms of our skulls, right to the back where our darknesses dwell, and we just take it all in and accept each other's mystery, even not knowing what's there. 

Silent days produce moments like this. Rewards are infinite after the initial emotional shock and awe. Sometimes we ignore each other too of course, but this level of intimacy only occurs with certain peculiar circumstances. Or at least, they were strange situations once, these days of no talking, but now this way of life is common. That even if every day is still quite different to the next and the world holds so much beauty we each could pass out from its monumental and delicate aspects, if we were hero and heroine in a 19th century novel. Instead, we're two artists in the early 21st century, getting old together and carefully tending our love as if it too was a tree.

Perhaps love is a tree.

So much of what we've grown together is hidden and nutures us from places we know little about, as if we have root systems hidden beneath the earth. Much else is showy and beautiful, we flourish and bloom. Natural aspects are admired and accepted, human beings are widely spoken of as part of the natural world now, not apart from it. People living as a part of nature was a common belief in many indigenous cultures, the rest of us just caught up with them, to a large degree.

Long silences and many days apart often occur. Trees too appear to be alone. Some now think they were communicating with us all along, to encourage more careful, apt planting and respect.

We're each, in our case, as idiosyncratic and stubborn as an explorer or adventurer may appear. Those highly motivated and imaginative people who may've written their own life story and boosted myth-making; certain they're doing something that deserves attention, perhaps also magnifying their feats to make it difficult for others to follow in their footsteps. We're akin to them. Not that we mind admiration or emulation, we're just protective of our branches and leaves, our fruits and flowers, the shape and size of this living yet abstract thing we've created in a nowhere place, where nothing rules, and imaginary numbers count our years together. Anniversaries are like embroidered mathematical equations.

My day of silence has produced this piece of writing. It appeared to me in a half-waking dream this morning. After exercise and a good breakfast, I've written this down and it's for you like everything I ever create is for you. Hemmingway said we write our best work when we're in love so I decided to stay in love for all the rest of my days, all my work springs from love and labour and talent. It's not enough to simply please myself although I must always do that first. Then, I think, daring to put this out there into the world and hoping it is the best possible, editing and polishing so it is worthy of you makes me a better writer, perhaps a better person even if we are all always flawed and imperfectly divine, no matter what we may pretend otherwise. 

We're as good as we make each other, and our love fills in the cracks, mended with light again, fighting the good fight forever, on into the nowhere with something green.

Inside the box? The hinged wooden box with Prussian blue lining, what was in there? What do you think? What would be something you'd keep in the safest, most beautiful place you could? What is the most treasured and valuable anything anywhere any time? 

Our box is empty except for the deep blue lining. Nothing does not exist but we treasure it. Perhaps too amongst this is the understanding that deep blue sadness is valuable, doubts have a place, nothing is perfect but we need to keep sorrow and worry  as small and enclosed as possible, or we'd entropy. We prefer movement, love staying alive, well, making the world green again. Mystery and not knowing deserve acknowledgement, nevertheless, imagination and invention we love as much as we love anything or anyone else.

But what will you place inside your treasure chest?

Time travel exists. You've seen the future. Now make it so. 


This is a picture of Bjork the singer, song-writer and performer, as a tree or many trees. Visionary.

 This is a picture of hemp, (below) and a list of its possible uses. While I do not condone the use of anything illegal, this plant has the capability of producing enormous benefits to human beings and that is why it is posted here. It needs to be made legal and used as described.

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