Friday, 21 October 2011

the sea: cloud (an epilogue)



Cloud, from old english Clud [mass of rock or earth] 

Cloud Seed #1

Dirt from the construction site where buildings are beginning to be formed lifts up and moves into the atmosphere. Once a part of the earth's crust now set loose into the air: a potential staging ground for the condensation of water vapor; seeds for the formation of a cloud. 

No more permanent that anything else. Everything is a momentary apparition. Oh, but beauty. My eyes open each morning, and some mornings are full, like a song that makes me sing along. I am here. I am here. And it will not be forever. Thankfully. Because there is too much to see, and nothing would be worth trying to remember if my eyes will open every morning like a hose spraying infinite nows. Nothing is worth feeling if it can be felt anytime, always.

Cloud seed #2

A man who spent half of his Saturday afternoon kicking a can down the promenade comes home and shakes his jacket before hanging it on the coat rack.  Small crystals of salt, deposited on his jacket from the spray of the sea are set loose, moving out of the open window and into the atmosphere.  The salt crystals mix with the dust from the construction site, more water vapor condenses, freezes and the cloud is growing.

And looking at The Sea. Looking at the sea. From up here. And now we are here. The dinner is ready and we cannot eat. The meat sits in the white lake of its dish. The wine waits.[1]

 “Who watched the forms of the clouds over this part of the earth a thousand years ago? Who watches them today?[2]We will watch and we will try to hold on, but surely they will change. We will cry tears falling up into the sky cuss spittle flying under the clouds' haunted arches we will roll in the meadow inhaling the mist while stains form on our trousers whelm of joy mixed with dread we will lay on our backs looking up listening to the sound of the blades of grass flittering in the wind and remember nothing is worth feeling if it can be felt anytime, always.

Cloud Seed #3

Sitting at the bar at dusk, watching the dusty antiques on the wall lose their definition with the fading of the light; a mass was forming before the drunkards eyes. Looking down at his drink, trying to avoid the scene, he suddenly felt an absence forming behind him. He fell of his stool, bumped off a table and a couple of chairs before he stumbled out the door.  It was damp outside; it was as if the clouds were sleeping in the street. Trying to make out the shadowy forms through the misty veil before his eyes, he picked a point and staggered towards it. After walking for some time, bumping off of various landmarks-changing his course with each bump, he could feel his body gaining weight from the droplets of water collecting on his skin and clothing, after some time he was swimming in the cloud and after some time he was becoming it. 

What is in any [Sea] ocean but a multitude of drops? [3] An awesome body of matter all tangled up more incapable of seeming an object than land, but then theres air, The Sea as the entropic middle. And this, viewed from a distance, the edge of the universe perhaps, looks like Brownian motion, all of it bouncing around and against itself, changing course, the collection of these glancing blows becoming lives. Matter drifting in the system with the illusion of acting. But one cannot bounce off of belief - and vicious acts, or virtuous acts, are precipitated by belief. But without invoking some grand narrative in which to protect our fragility, why cant small joy be joy? We can drift, and appreciate the view, and seek to collect these views into a remembered joy, always more possibility in the future, until there is no more future. Smiling into the face of a finite existence of little lasting result, manufacturing small meanings that add up, a joy in having participated instead of being frozen in the want of gifted meaning.  

Cloud Seed #4

Down below a couple is sleeping side-by-side covers up to their chins.  Clouds are forming in front of their mouths with the rise and fall of their chests.  Quietly, while they dream their bodies are regenerating tissues.  They wake up in the morning look in the mirror, see themselves the same face, look at each other say good morning seeing nothing as changed, maybe only the date on the calendar, but everything has changed. Everything. Clouds.  Each morning we wake up and meet our self ... meet the world. Our mostly-water bodies, our loose collection of matter, regenerating always. Clouds. We are all potential fossils still carrying within our bodies the crudities of former existences, the marks of the world in which living creatures flow with little more consistency than clouds from age to age.[4] But only the crud, none of the actual stuff. And still our hearts hurt when they are broken. Still we collect something. Small, tiny in fact, but ours (us).

An object is like a pattern of movement instead of a solid separate thing that exists autonomously. [5] Look through the microscope and pick your favorite, follow it closely, like a star, like drift wood, like a maybe-face in a cloud. Organization used to be understood as order. Databases, cordoned off, categorized. But clouds. Leaving those things we collect where they lay, and giving them keywords, signs, so that we might search for them later, the algorithm, the duplicitous web (put it in the cloud), cloud computing, more reliable, and more appropriate to our shifting understanding of relationships; time going by, entropic ephemeral re-structuring. Us to the world, us to nature, coffee to the morning, the world to the world.

As for astronomy, the difficulty of recognizing the movement of the earth consisted in renouncing the immediate feeling of the immobility of the earth and the similar feeling of the movement of the planets, so for history the difficulty of recognizing the subjection of the person to the laws of space, time, and causes consists in renouncing the immediate feeling of the independence of ones person. In the first case, the need was to renounce the consciousness of a nonexistent immobility in space and recognize a movement we do not feel; in the present case, it is just as necessary to renounce a nonexistent freedom and recognize a dependence we do not feel.[6]

Clouds are like momentary apparitions; their possibility is in the air always, like mist settling down in the cool evening before burning off in new sun. A cloud looks like an object, but isnt it really just the way air looks when the atmosphere conspires to make it so? I am a cloud.


[1] Strand, Mark. Reasons For Moving, Darker & The Sargentville Notebook, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, p. 75
[2] Thoreau, Henry David. Autumn From the Journal of Henry David Thoreau. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin &Co., 1892, p. 429
[3] Mitchell, David. Cloud Atlas, New York: Random House, 2004. p. 509
[4] Eisley, Loren. The Immense Journey, New York: Vintage, 1959.
[5] Bohm, David. On Creativity. London: Routledge, 1998.
[6] Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, p. 1214

This epilogue text is by Stephen Fiehn & Tyler Myers / Cupola Bobber.

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