Friday, January 9, 2009
I am restless. My heart pumps my veins with blood that run its hot platelets over and over again through the arteries, eager to be used and used up, with nowhere to go in a day of baby changing and ruminating and evenings of reading and talking, only the sudden shots of workouts or hikes to work the blood to a boil, to charge the heart with electricity, to shock and ignite. I am static electricity and running water pushing against a dam. I am the scratching of pen and ink on paper. I am the restless tail of my cat, twitching. I am the slurring of clouds over the sky.
I need to be naked in the ocean. I've skinny dipped in the Pacific, jellyfish phosphorescent at my feet, slipping through the seaweed, hard salt waves chopping my back, stringing my hair, my nipples hard as shells, the great grunting belly of Earth slapping against my skin. I swam over large stingrays, their bleak slanted faces and whippet tails working side to side. The moon overhead, the winds cold and wet against my face, the dark sky alive with stars. I floated on the brine, alone, the echoes of my friends on the shore, further in the water. I thought of Jaws and fear turned itself in my stomach, legs kicking. The ocean at night is terrifyingly beautiful, like the Catholic version of God: omnipresent, silent and speaking, removed and closer to the soul than you can bear. I pictured my own naked body grabbed by the jaws of a Great White, the slip quiet splash of my disappearing skin, white as the shark, into the sea. I held my breath and forced my body under the ocean, felt my hair slip out in a great fan. I was shaking with cold, the length of my skin covered in chills and inoluntary twitches, small shudders. Seaweed slick and coarse against the white lick of my feet, I curled in a ball and floated, making a small tunnel of warmth between my belly and thighs. The darkness was thick, pin pricked with muted light, and I could hear, as if my ears were pressed against a seashell, the far off roaring of the waves over my head, tumbling over and over as if I had never been there at all. This is what the world would be like if I were dead, I thought. The waves would keep pulling and the moon would keep shining on the water and my friends, somewhere far away, would be laughing and playing, and I would be silent and unobserved, far below the movement and even the stillness.
I waited for a great shark to bite me, I waited for pain, and when none came- I surfaced.
I've been naked in the California desert, too. I spent an entire weekend with three young men, no clothes on but my Doc Martens, laces flapping in the dust. I burned my ass laying flat on my belly and breasts watching an anthill for an hour. I was thrilled with the power my body had over boys, over men, and happy to experiment with that power in the safe setting of these boys, my long time friends who loved me and who, I was sure, were safe. They were. My freckles bloomed and my ass burnt and my legs grew tan and strong, and I saw one lizard in three days. This desert was rough, ugly faced- scratchy with bushes and cacti, silent and straight faced as any landscape I've ever seen. No curves, no animal life aside from ants visible to the human eye, not even the hawks I'd hoped to see circling prey- just the hand over hand layout of sand and dirt and bush. God doesn't raise an eyebrow in that desert.
I ate dirt constantly as a child, even an older child, and grass, and drank every muddy Mississippi river I encountered. I leapt over a fence during a high school field trip- jumped on a horse, and rode bareback. By the time my teacher returned from the other side of the mostly abandoned farm, I was off the horse and very pleased with myself. ( I've always loved, loved horses. ) I miss this part of my self occasionaly; I get attacks like old people get attacks of gout where my body expands, and I can feel it longing. The canyons that were such a part of my growing up beckon me- with their cigarrette smelling weeds and boggy pockets and mud and snakes and lanky lean trees. The last muddy romp I went on with my family made me happy. I need the trees, the mud, the birds, the fear of dark covens of trees; the mystery of the natural world is my siren song.
I always have told Mr. Curry that when I die, I simply want to be taken to a beautiful place and left underneath a tree, to decompose, stir with the dirt, run down the sluices of river and end up curled and suspended, deep in the ocean.