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Fri Jun 20th, 2014


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11:05 pm - Mental landscapes
In Japan, on Tuesdays after teaching three kids' classes in a row, I'd come home on the Yurakuchou subway line all across Tokyo from Tsukishima to Heiwadai; and because teaching small children is a physical and mental workout, I'd lapse into a blank state for those forty-odd minutes. Leaning against the doors, bodies hemming me in, I used to find myself in a countryside winter scene somewhere unfamiliar. I can't quite recall it, but there was deep snow and black bare bushes and a sense of maybe a creek-- water of some description-- cutting between the snow, or frozen underneath it. I'm also fairly sure that it's not a memory of anything real; but the cold and the stillness, being the antithesis of Tokyo, was a distinct comfort.

These days when I go exhaustion-blank I'm also in the countryside, on a dark grey spring or autumn afternoon of heavy rain, with treeless fields of mud around me and the land curving up a bit from where I stand. If this is a memory it must be from childhood, back when we'd sometimes visit the farm of my parents' closest friends. (I think it was more an estate than a working farm, but they sold it when I was ten or so.) I'm a city person who doesn't drive, and so the countryside is generally inaccessible to me. Nor do I know why I'd find this comforting at all: no trees, no houses, and no people is not my notion of pleasant. But that's where I find myself these days.
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