So far out of my usual path with this, ambient or dark-ambient music isn’t often where the world takes me so early in the morning but it seemed to fit. Sleep didn’t come easily at all and my thoughts climbed up into the cavern ceiling of my skull and formed a hard layer. Maybe some days they need a vibe or a hum or a drone to bring them back to their natural, fluid state. The drone of air conditioners and fans wasn’t quite enough to do the trick. If anything the electro-mechanical pulses overwhelmed the organic processes.
TOWERS, no less inorganic, is doing the trick though. It’s a sort of low-key DMT trip, a chorus of tiny, bright micro-robots moving along, assembling… assembling something. They have their own agenda for the day. My duties are a little more than an hour away but still seem so distant and almost irrelevant. Maybe that’s the wrong word, but I just seem to be hung up in right now. I’m acutely aware of every physical sensation, inside and out, every hair and every nerve ending. Everything but the intellectual processes that seem to have ossified.
I’m back to Kensington now with the smells of traffic and cut grass. It’s a far cry from salt air and low-tide mornings along the shore, and I already miss all that but I’ll go back in a few days. It’s the way it smells along the piers, oddly enough, that I miss the most, the dank harbor smells. It all smells like real life.
Life, and not just living.
It’s not difficult to understand what draws people to live by the sea. It’s not a choice made in spite of the exposure to the elements. It’s a choice made because of the exposure. We are not a species hard-wired to concrete and multi-level dwelling. It’s almost an offense to biology. That may sound strange coming from me, with my fascination for vast, BRUTALIST tower blocks and the black grime of urban settings, but it’s different. With the urban settings, it’s because of the horror and the absolute sensory affront. It’s the cognitive dissonance. It’s a question of the hard angles simply not being biologically correct.
Then there’s the truth. There are the elements and they are what’s real. I’ll maintain that a large part of the love affair with the beach is the opposite of what we describe as the comforts. It’s the odd discomfort of the raw exposure. It’s a place of letting go of the compulsion towards climate control and mastery of environment. Our bodies know that it is how we should actually live. So much of our lives is centered around continual maintenance of comforts beyond what we actually require. Every detail requires constant vigilance so that everything remains just so. Who even sees the energy we expend to these ends on a daily basis. It creates a different level, a higher level, of just plain spiritual exhaustion. We don’t belong here in these hives we’ve created.
Even in the numbers of people. Yes, humans are social animals but modern living forces hyper-social activity. It’s no wonder so many people suffer anxiety and depression. Small wonder that so many people speak of feeling drained emotionally. Add onto that the compulsion to be the most perfect, very best version of ourselves that we can imagine and it’s that much less time to simply sit and be. This life is not what we were meant to be. Why else would so many people describe in such detail how incredibly lonely they feel all the time? How is this possible when there are always people around?
I’ve got some ideas.
So this really took a left turn. I never really know where this morning catharsis will end up when it starts, this morning cleanse. Sometimes it’s the steam room. Other times it’s the dry sauna. And at others the ice bath plunge. This did bring out the deepest feeling though. Despite the new levels of this sense of freedom that the semi-isolation of COVID-19 created, there is a deeper sensation of confinement that I was feeling from prior to the lockdown/slowdown and it’s still here. There’s a good chance that what’s really needed to feel truly alive again is exposure and vulnerability to the natural world. That’s what’s really required to feel entirely human.
Time to move now though. Time to begin the begin.
More on all this, when there is time to think. What I know with all clarity is that I need to get out of here.