Papers scattered all over the floor


My floor has papers all over it, old writings and letters I'm sorting through, culled from the bottoms of drawers, files, boxes. A few moments ago it suddenly struck me how like 'sorting out my affairs' it was, as I imagine you do when you know or sense death is close. Not that I know or sense that.

A couple of days ago I was burning papers in the garden in a light drizzle, which became the catalyst for a row with a friend who said I was being too destructive.

Perhaps I don't want to leave anything behind to be found by others that I have not decided on, perhaps I want to clear up my own loose ends, knowingly destroy work rather than have someone come after me and casually toss it away unlooked at, or, worse, give it more merit than it deserves. Perhaps I would like to live in a house where I could, at any moment, gather up what money I have, a few clothes, and just leave and never come back, knowing I have left not one thing behind that matters to me. Anything we would have to carry away we spend years carrying in our minds too, and it weighs us down. So this sense of 'settling my affairs' is a real one, whether death is close or far away. In any case, as the Buddhists say, this world is but a dewdrop evaporating in the morning sun, it is soon over.

I like to savour the transience of my own efforts, I enjoy flames licking around my words consuming them to grey ashes, the words just a blacker shade, and still readable on a scallop of burnt paper holding together for a moment, until gently touched and it collapses to dust. I welcome destruction, disarray, oblivion, sudden and drastic change, for all I am a peaceable person who may live out his entire life sitting in the constancy of the garden, constant within the bounds of the predictable seasons. Only I myself am the source of any chaos in that garden, everything else is surprisingly predictable, animals, insects, birds, flowers, all behave in ways that are curtailed by their natures, even the wildness of the weather.