Sunday, January 20, 2008

rendered unto ash

this image [was originally] a portrait of two friends, taken by colleen, and it has set me thinking lately about friendship, and redemption, which are not usually coterminous, although it seems they should be. the light on the day this photo was taken was sifting through the weight of the room--the curtains, our winter clothing, the red wine, the dust (although there seemed to be very little of that, how do we see the light in such streams withough particulate--is it dust and light after all that touches us so?) all seemed to pull the light down making it more visible, more palpable. My thought on this day and days afterward was, some things cannot be salvaged, or rather, some things will never be restored to their original state, and this is the way life is. I carry the fragments of these damaged vessels, but I am no longer sure what I hope to do with them--perhaps they are just touchstones for the past, mementos.

the world is and we are continuously created and fractured and recreated through the accretion of countless corpuscles of matter and light and laughter and sorrow, and we change and change and change like rivers which wander imperceptibly over a landscape and yet always look the same, seem the same. One cannot, as Heraclitus claimed, step in the same river twice.

but what about redemption. Are we ever redeemed by one another, or is this the sole provenance of God? there are those from whom I deeply long for forgiveness, and yet this longing itself becomes an accretion of sorts, a settlement of sorts. this is the dust we become.

He felt closer to the dust, he said, than to light, air or water. There was nothing he found so unbearable as a well-dusted house, and he never felt more at home than places where things remained undisturbed, muted under the grey, velvety sinter left when matter dissolved, little by little, into nothingness. --WG Sebald, The Emigrants