The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Francophile and the Poet

There was a sense of detachment. A feeling of letting go as we slipped off the beaten track and were swallowed by the foothills of the mountains. It was an evening wreathed in mist and something of the cold otherness caught in the back of my throat. Adrian was firing on all cylinders, rattling out stories like one of those stock reader machines you see in old movies. Colourful tales of village life tripped out of him like ticker-tape, he would pause for a moment, frown and then suddenly launch into another story without even bothering to finish the last one. All delivered with the kind of wild eyed enthusiasm that picks you up and sweeps you along with it. He reminds me of her, I hear her in the turn of phrase, the passion for language and living. Both of them, they don’t feel the need to insulate themselves from any of it, life, they throw themselves headlong into the chaos and grab great handfuls of the raw, precious stuff of existence. Outside the landscape was glorious and ancient and impassive. I thought about all the devices I use to stand once removed from it all – the camera obscurer of my mind that picks up images and turns them inside out and upside down. Sometimes I’m too busy turning beautiful moments into works of art to really live in them. The window felt cold against my fingertips, Adrian pointed out a deer as it darted across the road. In the distance I saw a bell tower and it was exactly how I imagined it would be.

Later, lying within the crumbling stone walls of the house, trying to stretch myself thinly enough to fill the room with my presence, I feel such potential in my fingertips. The very same fingers that pressed at the indifference of the car window now feel alive with power. This house is a battery, it stores up potential, it hums with echoes of things to come. It changes and grows unrecognisable. Like a child. I feel safe, I feel exposed, I feel lost, I feel inspired. I feel far from her and close to her heart. I am expectant. I can’t wait to feel at home.


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