Haruki Murakami

May 10, 2009

I’ve just finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, by Haruki Murakami.  After 500 pages of his style, I’ve begun writing in my journal again with great gusto.  Here are some excerpts of recent entries:

6 May – I skittered across the humped footbridge, its planks still slippery from last night’s rain.  My speed was motivated by avoiding who/what lay behind me, rather than by excitement for what lay before me.  This is not unusual for me.  What lay before me, as I stepped into it, included new s-shaped rivulets transforming my familiar, dry footpath into a sandy creekbed whose momentary dryness no longer fooled anyone and a gray toad-shaped rock on the bank of the “path” looking like the result of a fairy tale curse.

7 May – The insects whose nighttime call sounds like the honking of Canadian geese just seem to have taken their allotted 10-minute break.  Now, the crickets are audible once again.

Wacky Day.  The rain strongly suggested that we all remain in out homes instead of working this afternoon, so my friend Mez and I ambled back to 2 eager, lusty dogs in the house where she’s living until it’s owner returns in September.  we both read novels by foreign authors and fell asleep as the rain came heavier.  The dogs soon dug their way between us on the loveseat and the 4 heart beats created a brief, organic polyrhythm. 

When the rain let up, I left the house in search of a task and headed to the garden.  The path is now a pale orange stream threading its way down the least resistant route.  No one in the newly rinsed garden, either.  The crickets are definitely here in large numbers and the rain has brought the glowing green of moss to these spikey, tropical trees, almost softening them.  Encountering another friend at his house, we discussed moss, and home – what makes it? who chooses it?  is Pachamama home? – and writing as a pasttime rather than a task.  general sense of being on the right track.

9 May – The small, square black clock was chomping away on what sounded like rather nutty minutes.  i stretched out as best I could on the loveseat and absorbed the weight on sunset into my limbs, growing heavier as the light faded.  Once darkness has fully arrived, I was no longer sleepy and opened my eyes and sat up.  The lightning bugs had turned on their green lanterns for the evening.  odd, yet comforting.

As I strolled back to Mez’s house under the light of dense cloudcover made bright by the faraway full moon, I somehow interfered with the attempts of some very ambitios spiders.  I was walking in the middle of a wide one-lane road and my face repeatedly broke through the sticky threads of their webs.

Finding no one in the dining area, I sat in the vaguely moonlit darkness, my light blue tank top blending in with the illuminates aluminum of the all-weather chairs scattered around the space.  I soaked up cricket sounds and the groans of evening howler monkeys with a dark delight.  2 people approached, the steps of their 4 feet marking an arythmicbeat on the gravel.  I closed my eyes and willed myself invisible, remembering all the times I’d done exactly that in the past, always succeeding.  This time was no different.  Once they’d passed, I stood and fled, accompanied by an equally earnest bat.  I had a clear feeling that I had better things to do.  Keeping an eye on the clouds in case an opening might reveal the elemental nourishment of the full moon, I opened the communal fridge and gathered a few ingredients for a miso soup dinner.  I was pleased that its interior light did not illuminate when I opened the door, as though it was a willing conspirator in my invisibility.

Tonight, the sky is blank.  It’s an odd description for  something which is usually full of motion, light and color.  But now, the clouds have united into one solid cloud, leaving no cracks for contrast, no hint of the stars or full moon hovering somewhere above.  Thick and blank.  But not empty, rather too full – a sky without vacancy – no room for anything more than the cloudy coat it wears right now. An uninviting sky.

10 May – The flavor of this morning, with its clouds that are thin, but just thick enough to disperse the force of the sun, is bittersweet.  New white blossoms have appeared on the small tree along the path below my casita.  They bring small bees to spread their pollen and in the air nearby rests a light fragrance.  perhaps this is spring.  Here, I am challenged to label the seasons with anything more sophisticated than wet and dry.  But there is constant subtle shifting  – in the insects whose alarm calls make up the sound of night, in the flowers whose petals fall to the red clay grounfand color the paths and roads like an impatient pointellist, in the birds who flit and sing and drop their feathers for us to find and hold tenderly in our awestruck fingers – us with skin such a boring and uniform monochrome, will never cease to be amazed by these beautiful animals who not only embody our dreams of flying, but whose very wings are what we try to imitate with the rainbows we glimpse in oil slicks and the designs we embroider on our clothes.

Not even the masking tape on the sign indicating where to turn to find my “neighborhood” stays on, leaving just an unmarked arrow.  it points cryptically to the right .  Turn here, it says, but I won’t tell you why.  Trust me, I’m an arrow, would I lead you astray?

Last night, this trail was overflowing with a dark unknown – maybe poisonous snakes, maybe new obstacles, maybe scorpions, maybe nothing – is now clean of all fear, just leading me where I want to go, east to see, to predict, and to follow.  Following a visible path is quite a relief.

Roadkill frogs, splayed ouas if prepared for a high school science class dissection, now litter the roads.  the dogs love to drag their fur through the juices that remain in these amphibian husks in order to disguise their own predator scent.  The instinct calls even the smallest terrier with a pink rhinestone collar to roll with great gusto in dead frogs.

San Juanillo beach – This beach gets me every time.  On my last visit, a jagged black loghad washed up at exactly the same point along the beach where a massive pale tree trunk has been holding court half-buried, its xposedbranches providing excellentperches for quiet sunset viewings.  This black log and this pale trunk were locked in a battle instigated by the relentless tide, and thus more fundamentally by the moon.  Like a territory dispute between elk, with much locking of antlers and stubborn pressure, these logs cracked against each other, making a sound, I’m sure, but it wasn’t audible above the smashing of water on water.  Apparently, the pale incumbent was victorious, because today no sign of the black log is visible.

2 Responses to “Haruki Murakami”

  1. Mom said

    Wow! Beautiful writing, amazing images–what an experience you’re having! The photos are incredible! You look pretty darn happy.

  2. Impulsively, I follow the scent of a long lost friend who has wandered out in the world. She is gone, vanished, and yet leaves traces of her writings flickering in electrons like a literate skink moving through sand. Beautiful.

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