Yesterday while running, I looked up and saw powerlines. Three lines running perpendicular to the squalid streetlight. I did an internal doubletake – do we even have powerlines anymore? Two thoughts struck me in the moment. One, that I had not looked up in a while. That while I knew my surroundings had been physically altered in so many ways, I had not taken stock of what remained. A shrub that had thrived in the unlikeliest of places, a local establishment that owed its survival to a few loyal patrons, an etching in the cement bearing witness to a young love – these stand quiet and resilient, there if one deigns to notice. Somewhere along the line, I thought about the network of cables that ran under my feet, powering a city of tv-watchers, midnight typers and those who tossed and turned under their quilts, their breaths cool against their throats. Two, I thought of the myriad of lines that we did not see but felt imperceptibly. The lines that kept us in check. The lines that we’d been trained to keep clear of. The lines we only knew we’d cross after the fact, when it would have been too late. These lines run silent, going in all directions, with no claim to any land, no jurisdiction in territory, no geographical coordinates one could identify. These lines cross our hands, bind our feet, pierce our foreheads. (It is a skilled marksman that allows his intended to feel safe, seconds before the kill.) Then I saw the lines for what they were – a product of a trick of light, and a moment of weakness. A futile effort in romanticising the mundane. I had inadvertently did what we are wont to do when faced with something we’d much rather avoid – commit myself to wanton distraction.
First posted on Facebook on 17 October 2012.
Image credit: weheartit