Hello kind readers. Leaves and blossoms hang in a state of suspended animation here on the peninsula, like actors holding a pose between scenes. Look closely and you can see their chests rise and fall slowly. An arm sways, the legs keep balance. Stillness is always an illusion, motion is continuous; one warm night and the action will pick right back up where it left off.
For me, May brings with it the beginning of another season of fieldwork at Point Turnstone, where the plovers have been steadily arriving on south winds. I made my first day trip to the island last week, and only managed a glimpse of how the shoreline has changed over the winter. I’m on my way back out there as you read this.
May also marks the first of our considerations of the element air. (We’ve concerned ourselves with fire since February, in case you’re just joining.) Where will air take us then?
Air is wind through branches, wind over high ground; the clouds scud ahead of it. Air is the decidedly elevated element, lofty, looking-from-above, conceptual. But air is also a breath drawn down into the lungs, expelled again in utterance. The voice is air, and in response the eardrums tremble like leaves — here we find sky coming down to meet earth, thought to flesh.
Like I’ve said before, I think of my time doing fieldwork on the island as also a sort of homespun writing residency. I record voice memos as I walk, and over afternoon coffee scribble a few notes about the day’s flood of images. My writing work over the last two summers came together as Drift Body Two, Island lines and a cycle of poems that will appear in some future book.
So, leading up to the first stay, I’ve been considering where to focus my writing attention these next few months. The germ of this summer’s project is the word vertex, from the Latin for eddy or whirl. Geometrically speaking, a vertex is the point where two lines meet. Right near the end of Drift Gestures we find the following bit:
eyes climb steep
slope at the vertex of
sense and sensed
Here is an image of the vertices I’ll be pursuing over the summer — as meetings of sense and sensed. Who can say what the result will be, but this seems like a fine place to start, with the body: wind and skin, water and tongue, earth and bone, sun and sight, etc. It is after all never still.
With that I’m off to other shores. Thanks for reading along with this May installment of Polylith. Your responses are always welcome and encouraging.
Until next month, keep moving.