Monday, 22 September 2008
If a man stands in a field for long enough, he might become one of its skeletons.
As his shadow grows long in the afternoon, he may find that his feet have fixed to the tilled earth below him and that fate has made him part of that idyll forever.
That is a dream to have anyway, this dream to become a part of the field. Perhaps when I die someone will find my bones and scatter them there, bury them among the compacted clods and roots, plant them kindly.
A field holds many skeletons and not all of them below its green-brown canvas. From the dead sheathes of yesterday’s harvest to the slender sapling that yearns to grow so thickly and quickly towards the sun, all are skeletal beings. Spectral before you, transitory, without flesh, promising either life or death... but who knows which side will win through?
The very nature of the field is a slowly convolving routine; the ageless schema of death to life to death and life again. Nature is a wonderful thing of permanent resurrection.
But where does man fit into the field? Is man like this long dead machine, left to rust on the sidelines? Set there for eternity to watch its successor, the better machine, doing its role, doing everything better, while the new grass grows fresh and long all around it? What torment, it must feel.
No, I think man has a place closer to the field. It’s almost kin, to me, that aching pasture, that threshed turf, and we sit somewhere between that rusting carcass and the steady green grass. Though it’s hard to say just where.
I hope I’ll find out, some day, when the sun casts its long fingers across the shadow of my life and leaves me standing there, naked before the winter, still and skeletal in the midst of the great field.