BE HERE (& Life At Le Pin Pastèque)
by mATT cARLSON
May 19th, 2014. Approximately day 3,328 at Le Pin Pastèque (the watermelon pine tree) in the south of France.
It was a blustery day: the wind rattled so much that even the screws safely secured in wooden posts trembled. Branches bended & leaves sang. Squirrels and birds huddled safely in their nests; cats in their country hotels slept, dogs too on their masters or mistresses beds. Outside hanging on the home made wall of a wooden veranda – a small square mirror. It had been rescued from the trash. Tiny red tiles framed it – though a few were missing. It went “bang, bang” and then “scrape, scrape” : a dance of wind & an old mirror.
A large grey barrel sat on the dirt nearby pushed up against the wall beneath the mirror. “Gloup, gloup, gloup,” went drops of rain into the barrel. The wind had freed the drops from their pine needle prison on the plastic roof. There were always a lot of pine needles on that roof.
The barrel didn’t mind more drops joining the party, it just sat there full of water. As a matter of fact, the barrel didn’t think at all: it was only a container – left there in that exact spot to collect rain water. But it was steadfast sitting and a comforting sight. The ensemble : an outside bathroom of sorts. There was an old iron brasserie stem too (next to the barrel) used as a small table, though the marble had been broken long ago, with enough room to put a glass and a few tooth brushes. Tooth brushes that were now laying in the dirt.
With the television off, I could attend my ears to those sounds around me. An instant ago, they had been mere background noises, but now I could hear them. Joining the mirror dance, the thin door of the laundry room banged too as the machine inside shook my clothes angrily in its ever revolving mouth of plastic and steel. Outside: waves of air rolling, twisting & crashing into inanimate objects. A dog barked in the distance. Someone whistled.
Each time a new noise sounded, Foebbe and Fender (2 white Jack Russel’s) jumped down from the couch and ran to the glass front door. They jumped onto it excitedly with their front paws or in realizing an absence of anything worth discovering, would return to lie down, each in separate corners. “Of course”.
I took a deep breath. Aside from the dogs, I was alone. Of course Truc (Thing) the cat was there and the fish in the pond, but for all practical purposes, I was alone. And I desperately wanted to bring myself back to me! Back to my own thoughts – not those that were once again clamoring at my brain’s doorstep. Those were NOT my thoughts.
It was as if I wanted to read a book, but instead of the first page of a book I’d chosen, there were 1st pages of other books opening at the same time in my mind. Books from other people. “Read this one!” They yelled simultaneously, or almost. Similar to one door opening and suddenly shifting into perspective: another door! Way the fuck too many doors- or books! I took a deep breath and with impatience yelled at the dogs to go and lie down again.
“Breath in deeply,” I told myself. “Count to four.” Wait four seconds. “Exhale,” and I did while still counting “1, 2, 3, 4″… There was no need to be anywhere. I mean, I didn’t have any obligations outside of the house, the animals, taking care of the home front kind of stuff. O had left a couple of months earlier and I had had little news.
Today I would just try and exist. To breath. To listen to the wind. I would not even try to focus on that first page of any book. I would not sing. I would not write. I would not try to figure anything out. I would just sit here with Foebbe and Fender. Together we would listen to the wind.
“Be here,” I said .