Monday, May 04, 2009

Don't Look Down


The forces acting upon the carapace are not evident – the lack of air pressure outside belies the fact that I am travelling at between 3 & 4 kilometres per second.
From where I sit, trapped in this decaying satellite, the planet below exhibits itself in a glory of blue, white, brown and green. It is an entity, enormous, mysterious and complete, it glows in reflected light from a distant sun.
There are organisms that live at the outer limits of the stratosphere of that planet which, were they capable of sight, (and for all I know, they are) would see the land mass below as a uniform solid mass, exhibiting gentle gradations of green – a single entity.
Sooner or later all things diverge; the glue that holds us together, molecule by molecule, is governed by the laws of entropy and, as such, will tend toward a state of rest.
My orbit will decay.
To the lone circling bird of prey, the jungle canopy appears as a topographical survival map, the sounds of life that come to her ears from the canopy arrive as data; to be processed into a three dimensional picture that will locate her prey with brutal accuracy.
Below the canopy, the narrow path opens into a small clearing where they come to a stop; three faces of diverse hue, entwined in an intricate contract of horror and chance.
The path forks before them and they become, momentarily, a frozen tableau of hesitation; each consumed with their own particular set of internal mechanisms – habitual and genetic – each functioning within the parameters of fear, experience and social conditioning.
The jungle holds its breath.
“Left” says Mbali – instinctively and with authority – the tribal scars on her face glisten with sweat. She wipes her face in the crook of her arm, her elbow pointing briefly at the treetops; her chest heaving with the exertion of their flight.
“Shit,” Grevil finally finds his voice, he fights for breath, bent over, hands on knees, “shit.”
Siva faces back the way they’ve come; alert and poised, breathing hard, “we need to keep moving - they’re not far behind,” she breaks a long straight branch from the nearest tree; its protesting crack is swallowed by the green.
Divergence does not come easy to a species so locked into the perceived security offered by communal uniformity. Although individuals strive to break free from the uniformity of the herd, the herd will seek (through convention, coercion or violence) to keep its shape thus hindering those who would opt out.
A column of ants diverts from its vertical course to investigate the newly created wound in the tree, sap oozes in an attempt to protect the exposed flesh.
The jungle ripples with the myriad of events impacting on its awareness – the spilling of blood; the recycling of matter by organisms multi-bodied but single minded and brutal; the business of survival – all mere shadows moving at frequencies too high to register on the calendar of the seasons.


6 comments:

Yodood said...

Beautiful - I can smell the fecund musk of the jungle floor being composted by your organisms multi-bodied but single minded… All meals are brutal to the eaten.

Pisces Iscariot said...

"all meals are brutal to the eaten" - I love that - will make a great title

Jimmy Bastard said...

Now this is a post worth reading. So much better than people blogging about what they had for lunch, or how green their grass is.

Encore.

James Higham said...

Is this stand alone or is it part of a wider piece?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Jimmy: some lunch was consumed during the production of this post

James: Stand alone - I tried to create a kinda zoom effect

James Higham said...

Like it.