2016 was rough.
It was a definite test emotionally, physically and mentally. December wrapped up with a shriveled bow – torn and ragged from the struggles, heartbreak and disbelief. Never have I felt sorrow so deeply. It hurts. A constant ache in the chest. Never have I dealt with loss, the numbness of shock, the cold gripless hand of death. Never have I looked into the eyes of a loved one, and agony reflecting back from their silent tears.
Numbing, they call it. Loss and without a plan. Time and time again. I feel like I’ve fallen, but the beating countinues. Each strike is received by just a little less strength to get back up. i craved the final blow, face down, deeper and deeper my face furrows into Earth’s dirt
Throughout the year, I was reminded of my (ironically) favourite poem time and time again – The Second Coming by William Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
You lie next to me.
Next to the soft warming glow of a tending fire. Mesmerized you watch the flames dance; mesmerized, I watch you watching. Orange, yellow, crimson, gold; a secret brews in the oceanic depths of your deep blue eyes.
Eyes. Eyes softening as you stare into the blistering pits of universal combustion. The flames fickle and cackle, drowning the last remains of residual air. I sprawl across our makeshift camp, crinkling the old hotel sheets we tossed so carelessly onto the floor. This moment feels like a small slice of our heaven, hung and strung so delicately together by short wisps of time. It’s the most intricate array of fleeting chances smiled upon by the fortuitous Lady Luck.
A stale half bottle of wine. A crusty rind of an aging cheese.
And like my favourite book, I read you. The way your royally ruby-stained lips slowly chap with the sweltering, dry heat. The way your lower jaw locks as you are met with a soft gust of hot air. The way the creases across your face deepen to outline the most passive of emotions. The way your mind works, and, the way your thoughts paint the world with the most terrific of colours, naked to even your closest lover’s eye.
The flirting of the flames, laughing in absolute mockery, sympathizing in a bittersweet empathy. Your voice trembles playfully with the shadows; your words roll smoothly off your tongue, slow and sweet, dripping into a jar of thick, viscous honey. And in vast contrast, you melodify my name, like it’s the most harmonious sound fluttering free from a light summer flute. The notes dancing to our pipedream conceived under a dazed, golden sun.
I coil up against you. Your heartbeat riots mine in violent rebellion. It reminds me of an aquatic creature – the swell of a single strong pump chased by a trailing tail of fading dreams. Swimming, gliding, meandering through the soft currents of my wandering mind. I am experiencing an entirely new spectrum of emotions. Feelings of utmost fullness.
A subtle scent of rustic firewood. Your breathing is so gentle. Your tenderness, so mystical. The faintest and lightest drop into the stillest of waters. Rippling the body, a masterpiece so finely tuned. I’m lost in your maze and my senses trance in blissful oblivion.
Sent from Seattle via a beautiful moment when the Earth stopped moving
Our body is a temple; our body is a vehicle. It transports us through isolated moments in time, for the reasons that your mind and heart controls. It’s the executor, the sensitive champion of action and movement. Fragile, it may be, the body is what actualizes our desires.
Body and (Negative) Space is a study of the human body – it’s form, existence and interactions with the external world. Physical, mental. We crave a brush, a graze, a caress, a gentle stroke. We react with a light jacket of goosebumps under the soft pressure of a lingering touch. Fingertips fluttering every so lightly, dancing across the milky smoothness of velvet skin.
This series focuses on the way we maneuver through the density of life and the emotions we evoke from these journeys.
Sent from a small apartment in Captiol Hill, Seattle
Two years ago, I woke up energetic. Next thing I know, my bag was packed and I’m on a 2-hour journey to Harriman State Park. You see, hiking in New York is difficult. Not only is getting out of the city difficult, ti’s always tricky to find a) early-morning risers, b) adventurers who are ready on a whim, c) someone whose idea of a day under the sun is more about mountaintops and less about rooftops. Halfway down my second mountain, lost on a trail I did not anticipate to be the trickiest of them all, I was greeted by a man, John, who lives nearby and runs in the mountains. “These ‘hills’ are my backyard”, he told me. He knows them like the back of his hand. As we journeyed down the trail together, I realized that it was just us – two individuals whose universes met at a particular point in time. It hit me how pure and organic our fleeting friendship was and for the first time in a while, I felt completely myself, at ease and most importantly, at peace. “I’m sure I’ll see you again one day”, he said as we bid our farewells and each went our separate way.
There is a Japanese word, Aware (pronounced ah-wah-reh) that means “a fleeting moment of fading beauty”. As I sat, feet dangling off the side of a cliff, I gazed slowly out at the horizon and suddenly felt very small. Isn’t is such a bittersweet thought that all those seconds you grasp onto so tightly, those seconds that have changed you so much as an individual, taught you how to love and live, only exist in the fading memories of your past? Isn’t it ironic how those little moments, the ones that you hold so close to your heart, are easiest hellos but hardest goodbyes?
Sent from Harriman State Park, New York
“Why do you love traveling?”
I recall, dusting the lids of the moments tucked in the closet of my memories, shoveled between decaying, mahogany bookcases nestled in the labyrinths of my mind. Soft pages, my fingers rummaging through, the soft sunlight from a window of awareness, descends ever so delicately upon the fragile pages of experiences, backpack hanging off one shoulder, meandering through a fish market, balancing on the journey of a 60-mile bike ride, pages, pages yellowing with antiquity, bounded by the smell of old, worn leather.
Love is a feeling. A melancholic longing for something in the past, present or future. It is an overwhelming craving, of lust, longing, a moment in its purest freedom, in its untainted form, contained only by the chains of passion.
We are constantly seeking, craving, wildly sprinting after a love tied to a human being. We need, no, want, no – are fixated on this superficial idea of a lover, a savior – the kind that wears a Superman cape and swoops down to save you from the perils of a humdrum life.
Why do we tie our every changing wants, our desire to understand ourselves, to one unique human being? Why do we tie our happiness, our sadness, and all that comes between to someone we arbitrary picked out from a sea of individuals?
Places, not People.
I believe you should fall in love with a place. With an experience. With a feeling, created by a mix of fleeting instants. A shy first kiss on the bottom of the Swiss Alps. Hands cold, toes damp, snow gently falling as we slowly brush the frosty crystals off our innocent youth. A lustful moment in a midsummer night, night as dark as the tail feather of a black raven. And once again, next to you. Craving, lusting. We’re surrounded by late 19th century buildings, the night as silent as a dead man’s grave while neither one of us can admit, and accept the innocence behind each other’s eyes. A two hour journey, cramped into two small seats on our way to New York City. A runaway, a getaway. A moment steeped with freedom and beautiful impermanence. Love songs recited ever so tenderly. Lost in our whimsical fairytale, our heads rest with melancholy at a companionship that cannot be.
Places, not People.
It is the moment that moves us. The series of happenings that unanimously unraveled to make the heart quiver. The overwhelming sense of perfection.
People are like stars. A dust within the speckle of time, a sparkling fragment of a new found memory. People shine, come and go. Ephemeral synchronizations.
Places, however, always remain the same. Past, present and future, they are the old friend who beckons you home, the one who supports both your happiness and sorrow. Places are the blank canvas you are about to paint, about to slash. They are the heavens you are about to glitterize. And with a splash, you illuminate all the small slivers of life. They become a part of you, a part of the dusty memories you keep so closely hidden in those mahogany bookshelves, littering the hallways of your mind’s labyrinth.
Places. Not people. Love the place where you can be you, the place where you will be who you want to be. After all, how can you fall in love with a person, when all you’re looking for is the missing piece of the puzzle to yourself?
(Sent from New York City)