Stellar Thoughts •

“It’s hard to explain where I’m coming from when one minute I am laughing with everyone else at the beach and the next, I am staring off into space, into the layers of sand washing away into the sea. Thinking of scenes too otherworldly to comprehend, of thoughts that spirit you away.”

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Gif from the movie “Howl’s Moving Castle”

It’s hard to explain where I come from.

Not geographically. Or culturally, ethnically, socially. Not through these kinds of lenses, not through methods tried and true. There is not one lens that fits, not really. Nor is there a combination of them. All they project is an approximation, an à peu près* image, a translation for a word that has no equivalent.

But no, what I mean is that it is hard to explain—when I emerge from dazedly staring off into space— the depths of the worlds I was just a second before absorbed into. It is hard to explain what started it. How, from one blade of grass, my mind has built cities and ignited stars, conjured yellowed childhood memories and movie scenes. I cannot explain where I come from during bus journeys, cannot explain how there is this clear wistfulness pooling in my hands, staring me right back in the face, reading to me memories I have never experienced.

I’d give anything to hear

You say it one more time

I cannot explain how piano pieces make me feel unspeakable things, make me shudder, and my heart tremor with beauty and thinly-veiled fear. The fear that there is, somewhere in this wordless melody, hanging in the air between the vibrating strings of a piano, an echo of my own thoughts. And more importantly, the knowledge that behind it, there are hands and a brain and a heart that knew how to describe all of this giant, wordless feeling that swirls perennially inside of me. In no time at all, I can feel the fear, the anxiety, the disbelief from having found all that I have been looking for.

It’s hard to explain where I’m coming from when one minute I am laughing with everyone else at the beach and the next, I am staring off into space, into the layers of sand washing away into the sea. Thinking of scenes too otherworldly to comprehend, of thoughts that spirit you away.

Sometimes, my mind drifts. Sometimes I am shipwrecked in the Sea of Tranquility, feeling like the last person in the universe. And where silent moments before would find me stargazing from Earth, I am now watching its remains as though it twinkles as the stars do. As though its solitary ruins will guide me through the night, like the stars once did.

I feel like one of them, now, these stars I have longed to hold.

And yet, it all means very little now. I wanted so much to be somewhere else, to be part of the universe as though it were the big city and I just a country girl from Earth. But there is only silence now. The stars are not loud and the planets revolve without a word, while their moons follow. Some days, I think of extinguishing the stars, of putting them out and turning the lights off on this old, old universe. Other days, I sit quietly by a piano, nestled in the sea of tranquility and play a song I’m not sure I remember. I play to no one in particular, I play to keep the music alive, to not forget. I play because if I forget, nobody else will remember. I play to keep a part of my soul alive.

So it’s hard to say where I come from.

I mean, I’m not even sure how I got there.

Which winding paths and dirt roads I took, which side alleys I bypassed, which tracks I made myself.

That the universe was made

Just to be seen by my eyes **

But I think that lenses don’t really help. It is best, I think, to view these things with a naked eye.


*   à peu près : almost, nearly, approximately (but it is, to me, one of those expressions best left in the original language).

Listening to :

** The words in italics are all lyrics from this wonderful, wonderful song.

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