an email from eden, from hell
Bittersweet, it is, this moment, now, forever
I’ve headed to Athens for a few months—maybe a few years, who knows—to get my head down somewhere the grit and the dust clogs the lungs, not the spirit. I have no plans yet to be in New York but if I make it out I will of course let you know. I am...tired, recently, and deeply sad for the world whilst grateful for all the joy I am fortunate enough to experience in my own life. Bittersweet, it is, this moment, now, forever, until.....? Yet, there is something true in becoming undone; we bear witness in love, to prepare our own flesh for the inevitable. It is life, not death, where terror reigns. To think someone thought to profit from Eden as if they could dream up a better paradise than a cosmic wink which knows no bounds to its beautiful mischief. For so long I could not see the world for my own hell and now that my heart is brave I see hell was only ever outside, weakening our bones and turning our stomachs until we lash out at one another for in the other is ourself and how can we bear to see what we have become?
Sometimes I cannot bear it. I turn away, I turn off, I bury myself in books and conversations and walk slowly to the market and speak with the men who I want to believe are sweet as they show me the wares they are proud of, valued in how far it has travelled. And why shouldn’t they? Have we not always shared a fascination with the exotic? If not, surely no human would have ever set sail for distant shores. And yet, maybe, these adventures were not the trips of mythical heroes but the desperate vanguard of the rejected, the abandoned, the frightened, who had nowhere to turn but unknown-where.
I take joy in the the chaos of this city: the abandoned cars, the barking dogs, the overpowering smell of fish and meat at a market in which my guilt arrests any attempt at bartering. Who am I to ask for less when I carry British pounds and American dollars? This is the point, here: Who am I? Nobody, anybody; a foreigner, welcomed. Skimming the surface; a cultural surfer because the internet has become too turgid to swim in. Gradually, I will sink, for as long as is possible, yet the world is so complex that every sinking feels like drowning and how can we grasp for meaning when we are gasping for air; the essential, the ineffable.
I must rest, now, as must you, as must we all. The urgency is killing us, the simplicity of what needs must seems impossible: slow down, take care, be well, laugh loudly, make love. If we cannot break our chains we must wiggle our way to freedom; the revolution is out through the belly; it is birth.
god, send us your daughter.
Rachel Donald creates Planet: Critical and curates We Will Bear Witness.
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