The days drift on…


The days drift on, ever more alone, ever more without a sense of purpose. The surface facets of life are dulling, there is no glittering sparkle there any more, and in my depths just a slippery ledge in the darkness. Yet still I persist in thinking I am brought here for a purpose, even though it seems too late for the things my interest has drained out of to reanimate themselves. I've been thinking back, as far as I can, which isn't very far any more, just moments really, moments just passed that contained clutched remembrances that seem like origami to unfold, and for a while now I no longer try.

I saw ginkgo biloba extract half-price yesterday so bought some, though I did not set out to look for it. Richard Rutt once told me that whenever he moves to a new house he plants a ginkgo biloba tree, which I thought was a beautiful idea. Ginkgo dilates the blood vessels in the brain, more circulation, it is supposed to improve memory. I do not feel that there is anything I particularly want to remember, but I may be curious to see whether there are things I have forgotten it would be useful to remember. Like, how did I arrive in this stasis, what path did I follow, did I leave the road at some point or am I still on it, the one I set off along so long ago there is a barrier of tears that cannot be crossed to recall. I don't know whether they're tears of self-pity or tears of feeling moved, by something. It's that pattern again. Will increasing the blood-flow to the brain really help in that? I already see more of the pattern than most people, it's not as if I am unaware or dull-minded in comparison with the masses, but I am not sufficiently clear by my own standards to see where I am going and suspect it is only amnesia that saves me from despair. What if that is so? What if I have blocked out something to protect my mind, hermetically sealed it away, but now I cannot progress any further without unlocking it? Well I must unlock it, there is nothing else to do. There is nothing else to do indeed, everything else is now gone, just me and the slippery ledge.

I used to think I knew what it meant to be alone. Now as I lose sight of anything and everything that may have once provided a modicum of human warmth, now I know what it is like to be alone. I was just putting off the day.

My face is wet, yet still it is like trying to furrow my brow enough to understand something that is just absence. There's nothing there, yet what I cannot penetrate is holding me back with emotions as if they were just flicked switches, emotions without emotional involvement, as if the tears have no more meaning or significance than a tendon recoiling, the potential energy held in tension merely expelling itself into thin air, and nothing but faith to tell me it was not in vain.

And why do I have so much faith still? And faith in what exactly? Why am I too brave to give in? Where did I obtain such courage? Everything I have experienced before. It is all being repeated. Nothing new has happened in years. Is this the deterioration of my mind? Nothing more than a chemical reaction, reflexes. Does a perpetual motion machine consider stopping to be an impossibility? What would constitute stopping? How can it stop, it must go on. It has to go on. But why must it go on?

Permanent. Impermeable. Permutation. Perm. Will even words fizzle out and die? Lose their significance for me?

I drifted off with my head slung low, found myself at first in a stream of consciousness descending into dream, was gone just seconds but saw an alien creature, sullen, unhappy. I wake, I drift off again, attempting to think, but I am staring at vacuity. The nembutsu comes to my lips from nowhere like an old friend and I sit up straight in my chair after no more than a couple of utterances and look about me, curious what kind of splendid stupor I sank into, but not sufficiently interested to be perplexed. I look about the room, the things of my life scattered all over the place. Paintings on the floor, notebooks, novels I have read, books in Chinese, Buddhist paintings and Tibetan calligraphy wishing a multiplication of blessings upon me in Dugsta script as a prayer of the calligrapher for me. An old ivory fold-out ruler that belonged to my granddad, I used to call it a railway ruler as a child because the lines on it looked like railway tracks, but it is some sort of logarithmic scale.

And I think I should just sit quietly and say the nembutsu. There is, after all, so little else now. So I will arrange cushions on the floor and light incense.

Later, maybe someone will ring and say: 'What have you been up to?' And I'll say: 'Oh not much.'

Glancing at the calendar I notice it was twenty years ago today that something happened that completely changed my life. Something that has influenced my every thought and action, but which is still an utter enigma to me and has led to immense hardship and given me unflinching dedication to something as tenuous as a dream.

And the days drift on…