Thursday, February 16, 2006

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE....

Trying to read the writings of a mystic is like trying to trap the wind in your hands and expect it to keep moving. Or try to bail the ocean with a teaspoon or count the grains of sand in a handful. Assuming you can keep the sand from spilling while you’re counting.

 

We’re trapped in what our human abilities can perceive with our five senses and further trapped by language when we try to describe it. I’m coming to believe that words are as imprecise as particle physics. If you know where a particle is you can’t know how fast it’s traveling. If you know how fast it’s going you can’t know where it is. And this from somebody who used to think that if you just had the right words you could explain something in a way that anybody would understand. Yeah, right. Between the current administration, the talking heads and the news that isn’t really news I think there’s a new Tower of Babel being built and it's just down the street.

 

If I say something is blue. Which blue am I talking about? Blue bells, blue birds, blue jays, the almost blue white of the sky in the east just before dawn on a clear morning or the almost blue black of the western sky at the same time? 

 

How about smells? Something smells sweet. Carnation sweet? The sun just went down and the garden smells like heaven sweet? I’m standing in the middle of a field of lavender sweet? Just bathed and powdered little baby sweet? Just took a big, three-layer devil’s food cake out of the oven sweet? (and how did something that tastes and smells so wonderful get called devil’s food anyway)

 

Someone could writean entire book on roses. How big they are, what colors they come in and then you come to the two kickers. You can only describe how a rose “smells” or how the blossoms “appear” by referring back to a rose. A rose smells like a rose. A rose looks like a rose. If someone has never seen or smelled as rose, telling them that it doesn’t smell or look like a lilac will tell them zilch. About all you can say is, there’s a rose garden, go have a blast and watch out for bees and thorns.

 

I’m currently working on the autobiography of a former Catholic priest who got drunk on the mystics and ran afoul of folks who would like to convince us that when they say something is blue everybody will agree about the shade they mean. Or if we don’t agree about the shade we’ll keep our mouths shut anyway.

 

Maybe creation is trying to tell us something. When you stop to think about it, the best roses often have the biggest thorns and we all know what kind of protection those little honey producers carry.

 

2 comments:

lisaram1955 said...

Nice!

That's the thing I like about poetry.  I can use metaphors that work in MY mind, and let them take the reader wherever they want to go...  Lisa  :-]

toonguykc said...

Does it make me a wimp that I prefer the non-thorny flowers?  Don't answer that.  I already know that I'm a wimp!  ;)  Roses are so overrated.  Give me a UV ray-bathed sunflower any day.  Or a dandelion.  

Russ