Full Spectrum Life
Bursts of work, a deadline yoke and nothing scrambled for breakfast except my brains of course I have to reorganize my desk, a bower bird compulsion of arrangementrearrangement…. First the surface cleared of receipts, dust, receipts, dust, coins, feathers, pens, Moomintroll sticky notes, scissors, books, unfiled papers, Chionodoxa bulbs, mice (not warm-blooded), magnifying glass, brochures and my ingrown heart…. Next the suspension of not disbelief, but a full spectrum light, above the far length of my writing desk, the garden herbs replanted into clay pots last week now placed in a row beneath the brilliant light when I leave my room the afterimage a dark horizontal strip hangs in midair.
The bower bird writer rearranges her desk not to attract a mate, but to create a space that has a pleasing kuuki, an atmosphere/air quality that will seep into her creative process as well imbue into the language of her projects…. Other might call it procrastination. What have you. I am a bower bird writer, intermittently compulsive, with aesthetic and philosophical leanings. (At least I am not obsessively piling dung pellets on my desk. Really. Things can be so much worse. It’s always extremely reassuring to think about this.)
Two years ago I had a large fish tank with a beautiful velvet-blue Beta fish named Eduardo. He was so very clever and interactive and the lovely flow of his silky fins as he swam up and down in his own medium, just beyond the screen of my laptop. I would catch his movement like thoughts flickering across my subconscious. Dreamy. Languid. Flow.
I’m hoping the full-spectrum light will keep my plants healthy over the dark winter. The window in my room is north-facing and the clouds can grow oppressive. I’m also hoping that the light will be vitamin D-good for me as well, and that I will be able to eat fresh shiso, red chillis and basil over the winter! We shall see.
Edits and editing, rewriting and critiquing, a doubling of work and work is good. So is time away from desk and fully into body. Last Thursday L and I drove out toward Pemberton in search of matsutake. I think it may be too early, but we found, instead, what we thought were chanterelles*!
Ohhhh, so sweet and soft the air. The clean delicious scent of cedar, pine and spruce. The uneven spring of moss beneath our feet. We entered the forest gently, the trees ringing with silence, water rushing unseen a stream, the crack of dry twigs, the luminous glow of lichen. So body and forest and air and sound and no clutterthoughts just the careful placement of feet, just the sweep of eyes for a pale mushroom pushing up through moss. Here. And here. Ohhh!
Whenever I reenter the forest I wonder that it’s taken so very long to return. Why so city when the mountains…?
There’s still work to be done on my bower. The glare from the full-spectrum light (the fluorescent-tube variety, approximately three feet in length) is really hard on my eyes! Hahahahahahaha! Things don’t necessarily turn out exactly how one envisions, but it won’t be too difficult to make some kind of shade to attach along the edge of the piece of wood to which the light is affixed. I’m currently wearing a baseball cap to cut down on the glare. I’m sure the light is also bright enough to damage my photo of Alice B. Sheldon (a scanned reprint off the original, the original put away in a box) that’s hanging on the wall. So final tweakings to be fussed about, a darting beak and rustling feathers, midst words and language and the slow-building of an interior 3-D imaginary world in all its delicious details.
*Please NEVER eat uncertain mushrooms without having a professional confirm their identification. If you ever need to research dreadful details of a slow and awful death read up on mushroom poisoning. L got confirmation of the chanterelles from the mushroom guy at Granville Island Market. Don’t play Mushroom Roulette! Mushroom Farmers’ Daughter