This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: ‘indescribable’, as a word or a topic…I opted for both.
It’s been a busy day. I shut down my computer a bit after 6am – the new moon had me writing through the night, and I’m now only five scenes from the end of my first draft of Sea Changes (KIC#3). I was up at 11, to take my daughter to her cousin’s zorbing birthday party. Soon after I finish this post, I will be heading out to my friend Lizette’s house for a NaNo writing party (and I need to remember to stop at the store for something sweet to share).
Amidst these varying facts, my thoughts are whirling and circling and moving in intriguing directions…which led to today’s SoCS writing….
I’ve felt it all my life, as a current that runs beneath the surface, where most people look, listen, and live.
There’s something under there.
Like the Loch Ness monster, maybe, or a thermocline that offers up a sudden rush of warm water while I’m scuba diving. Like the little fish that nibbled my legs in the lake at Pinewoods Lodge Campground, last summer – or that brush of hard curved surface that brushed past my fingers in that murky, sandy water – was it a snapping turtle? We’d seen a baby one on the beach, the year before. I even have pictures. So, where there are baby snapping turtles, there must be mommy and daddy ones to fertilize and lay the eggs.
But I’ll never know for certain if that’s what I touched. The answer lies in the depths. Like in the time I heard a splash along the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Part, when we still lived and worked there, and had no children other than one fluffy little black and tan puppy with sky blue eyes.
I looked to where the sound had come from, and saw – nothing.
For a quarter of a breath or so.
And then my reality shifted.
I’d tell you exactly what I saw, and the emotions and shifting that it evoked in me – but I can’t. The experience is too high, too wide, too deep, too profound, too everything, to be put into words.
I can only fall back on language, because, sadly, I’ve yet to master the Vulcan mind meld, and I didn’t have a camera with me, only a puppy needing to pee. I’m not the type who can sculpt or paint or quilt what I saw –
So I painted the image with words, but it only touched the surface of what I lived, in that moment, when the surface of the water parted to reveal a new truth –
From my poem Firehole River Splash, written October 17, 2012.
Something rising from the water
Something alive –
The moment crystal and infinite
White feathered head
Yellow eye meeting mine without
Hesitation or fear.
I am the one who does not belong
Rising, rising, rising…
Rainbows of water
Powerful wings spread and lift
Beak opens in a fierce cry
Away from the trees on the
Opposite bank comes
Rising, rising, rising…
And now, the talons
Clutching the small, arching trout
Who could not avoid
The bald eagle
Oh, yes. Those are pretty words, and they do evoke an image. Only thing is, like many of the most momentous moments in a life, it’s not complete, and can never be, I can’t give you the soul of this, any more than I can the exact impact of looking into the faces of my newborns, or knowing I was in love with my Accomplice, or how it felt to watch him cradle our dead infant son in his arms for over an hour, unwilling or unable to let him go, because that would mean never holding him again.
The moments that most change me always seem to be indescribable, undefinable, beyond what can be expressed in any human means other than the invisible, indelible, indecipherable ways that they change and shape me into something other than what I might have been without them.
It’s ironic, but I write to touch these moments and experiences, to attempt to understand them, crystallize them into something I can share, as though they are precious gems I can hold upon my palm….when, in truth, like a snowflake, they are swiftly gone, with my wordless memory of them the only record that they ever existed to begin with…
Paradoxical, that I use something as concrete and unbending as language in my attempt to fit the shape and scope of what lies beneath, and that I do it in the full knowledge that it can never, ever work…
Because sharing a glimpse of the indescribable, a tracing of its shadow, is still preferable to simply allowing it to pass by unnoticed and unremarked- upon.