Sunday, May 26, 2013

Small rooms concentrate the mind


On a mild summer morning when the birds were at their most cheerful I went for a walk back in time.   First I entered a museum, one I had visited many times before.  This museum once housed Phar Lap, the stuffed wonder horse, the bones of gigantic dinosaurs, and the skeletons of tiny marsupials.  But I had lost interest in these exhibits and longed to find a new room within this many roomed museum.  Then I looked up. 

On the ceiling was a man hole with a metal ladder held to the wall by brass bolts.  There was no one was around on this day in the museum of my mind so I decided to look further. 

They say you should not climb ladders once you have passed the age of fifty but in this museum age did not count.  Anything was possible.  Everything relied on luck and a certain state of mind that allowed the viewer to see things with fresh eyes.  I had not noticed this ladder before.  I had not looked up and seen the manhole in the ceiling before. 

As in any dream the ascent was easy. My feet did not falter even though in the outer world I was wary of heights.  The man hole lid lifted effortlessly at my touch.  I slid it to one side and poked my head through the opening into darkness.  Now was the time I should have turned back but something drove me onwards and upwards into the roof cavity. 
           
I knew from past experience to make my way along the rafters as if I were reading Braille.  I knew from past experience to avoid putting any weight on the plaster of the ceiling.  Like a trapeze artist I slid along the beams, wishing myself weightless, which was not so difficult in the roof well of my museum where anything was possible only everything remained in darkness.  The faintest light shone behind me from the man hole I had just entered but ahead of me black ink and no movement. 
           
I was blind.  I could not see those things around me whose shape might otherwise be visible to someone else with sharp vision, but I was so locked inside myself that I could only see things as I had seen them in the past.  No new images entered my field of vision.  I relied on my fingers and my sense of smell to continue along this narrow and splintery beam careful to avoid the rough bits that might pierce my skin. 

Something has to happen I said to myself.  But my optimism offered nothing in return.  Something good has to happen I reassured myself but still nothing.  That is when I decided I must wait.  It will come.  And when it does, I will know it by sense alone and I will pounce. 


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