Monday, February 8, 2010

Reading me

I wonder: Who is reading this? I think I know your eyes, Reader. I have stared into them. I have felt their gaze on me (rain that soaks through me, sunshine warm on my skin). Or I have felt your stare from afar, a tickle in my mind. Eye-contact trickles through the fiber-optics, the abstractions, the digitization, the verbalization... Read my words, and you are with me.

As your eyes explore the forest of my thoughts, I feel your steps along my spine. Every wanderer presses footprints into the leaves, scuffs the soil on the trail. You are only sending your mind wandering, your eyes as your emissaries, but as lightly as they tread, they still leave a track. I wake in the morning to find your journey traced on my territory. Here, the broken twig; there, the displaced dirt.

If I were a tracker, like so many beloved characters in the books of my childhood, I would know everything about you by the subtle signs you leave. All I know, though, is the brush of your fingers across my consciousness. I cannot read the forest, though I indwell it. These trees all germinated in my heart, but their names elude me. I do not recognize this pointed leaf, cannot remember that shaggy bark.

The trees know me, though, and they tell me of all the passersby. Their leaves whisper. The susurrus surrounds me, and I lie back on the loam, in the shadow-patterns...

The truth is, though, I don't speak the tree-language. All the gossip they pour upon me, all the stories they rain down on me, all the knowledge they strive to impart: it drifts down like their leaves and joins them on the forest floor. I am just a girl, just a writer, really. The touch of your eyes is a shimmer in my imagination, a quiver in the corner of my dreams. You may not exist. But if you do, you can pass through in the safe darkness of anonymity. Shout whatever you want into the forest, but I am the land, I am the stones. I cannot understand your speech, and I have no eyes to stare back at you. The forest is unfenced: you can wander at your will.

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