after “Ode to Things” by Pablo Neruda
I am a friend to all things, not just the nature that evolves around us or the people that speak to us – but inanimate objects, ordinary things. The things that make us so human, cutlery and small bottles of shampoo and scales to measure weight, nails, plastic bags, cotton, hair ties and pencil cases. The recorder collecting dust in my old music box and the big metre wide painting of opaque angels in the living room, the single lemon tree that stands alone in the backyard. These objects that we barely notice because they are such a consistent part of life, but which would alter our routine if they did not exist – they are important, and so I am a friend to them. They live with me.
I do not only touch these things, they are a vital part of who we are. We may not have been the same person if it wasn’t for the old sofa, the sentimental value of the silver pen you own, the small knife that we used to chop the mint, slice oranges into quarters for our morning juices. The cupboard is just as important as the sunrise, the space heater as important as the hills, the wind chimes as worthy as the fish that move through the sea. The abandoned building in the rural south can equate to the feathers of a peacock if we hold it at a certain light.
I love all these things. Not only the large things that are obvious towards us, which move and run and change, such as the rippling lake, birds that fly in streams across the sky, crinkled light that falls in shafts on the pavement; but also the smaller things that don’t move unless we touch them. I like the impossible stillness of a bobby pin, the case of soap, the hat that hangs on an angle on the hall stand, the shallow bowl of water we dip our fingers in after we have finished peeling the prawns for lunch. Whenever I see that shallow ball and its light turquoise rim, I am reminded of those hot Summer afternoons, the prawns dipped in orange tartar sauce, our fingers covered in the half, clear shells as we shoveled the seafood into our mouths. It is this tiny bowl that retains the memory so quickly and immediately, it is the simple whiteness of an envelope that reminds me of all the letters I forgot to send.
It is not about valuing nature over objects that humans have made, it is not about the beauty of a willow tree over the beauty of a pipe, over an embellished ornament that sits on your window sill. It is about knowing that these must coexist together, the autumn leaves with the old red car, the cup and saucer with the sunlight, the towel with our own skin, the penny with the water in the wishing well – and loving them all the same for it."
“a bouquet of clumsy words: you know that place between sleep and awake where you’re still dreaming but it’s slowly slipping? i wish we could feel like that more often. i also wish i could click my fingers three times and be transported to anywhere i like. i wish that people didn’t always say ‘just wondering’ when you both know there was a real reason behind them asking. and i wish i could get lost in the stars.
listen, there’s a hell of a good universe next door, let’s go”"