Unlike a car, – in which you’re always facing forwards -, or a plane, – in which you don’t see anything at all -, a train offers the almost empathetic opportunity of extending your stay, at least for a little while, by facing backwards, so you can look at where you came from.
Once where you came from is too far away, you can swap places and look at where you’re going.
That moment when you realise it all looks so familiar
While in the train, an old memory came back to me.
A BBQ / grill party in someone’s garden. There were too many electric grills, so the fuses blew.
I still don’t recall whose party it was.
Ever changing. Never dull.
Scarred. Abused. Raw. Neglected. Painfully beautiful.
Sometimes, I take pictures of people taking pictures.
I do this in an effort to capture the moment those people are capturing, and see how this moment is added to the ledger of the place this picture is taken as it travels through time and space. You see, I’m convinced that the more pictures are taken of a place, the heavier it becomes. And as it grows heavier and heavier, more and more single instances of the moments that were captured will compete for their own uniqueness. As a lot of them overlap, this means that before they can freely act out, they are pushed back into a sack in the fabric of time and space and wait for their turn. And that can take a very long time.
This explains why long after a place loses its function that caused all those moments being captured and put away in a bend in time in the first place, they still pop out, one by one. If you pay close attention, you can feel it. You may even see them happen.
The people in the empty church; the show in a repurposed theatre; the train arriving in an almost abandoned station. Are those moments happening now, or is this the past paying its debt?
Is the man on the abandoned platform waiting for his train, or did she arrive a long time ago? Are they from the same world? Is she his fantasy? Is he hers? Is he even there? Who is observing him? Does he realise that what is in his imagination might just be someone else’s memory?
Or are they still trapped in time, waiting for their moment to play out, not knowing that their moments may be years apart. Forever.
And, indeed, it seemed small matter for wonder, that for all his pervading, mad recklessness, Ahab did at times give careful heed to the condition of that dead bone upon which he partly stood. For it had not been very long prior to the Pequod’s sailing from Nantucket, that he had been found one night lying prone upon the ground, and insensible; by some unknown, and seemingly inexplicable, unimaginable casualty, his ivory limb having been so violently displaced, that it had stake-wise smitten, and all but pierced his groin; nor was it without extreme difficulty that the agonizing wound was entirely cured.
In most cases this lower jaw—being easily unhinged by a practised artist—is disengaged and hoisted on deck for the purpose of extracting the ivory teeth, and furnishing a supply of that hard white whalebone with which the fishermen fashion all sorts of curious articles, including canes, umbrella-stocks, and handles to riding-whips.
With a long, weary hoist the jaw is dragged on board, as if it were an anchor; and when the proper time comes—some few days after the other work—Queequeg, Daggoo, and Tashtego, being all accomplished dentists, are set to drawing teeth. With a keen cutting-spade, Queequeg lances the gums; then the jaw is lashed down to ringbolts, and a tackle being rigged from aloft, they drag out these teeth, as Michigan oxen drag stumps of old oaks out of wild wood lands. There are generally forty-two teeth in all; in old whales, much worn down, but undecayed; nor filled after our artificial fashion. The jaw is afterwards sawn into slabs, and piled away like joists for building houses.
Crossing the deck, let us now have a good long look at the Right Whale’s head.
Ik zag hem hangen
Boven het zwart
Als in een vacuum
En vergezeld van zijn droombeeld slechts
Dat hem vervult
Zijn polsen langzaam afknelt
Een rode diepte wacht op hem
Hij ziet het niet
Hoort noch de stem
Van het kind in mij
Dat zijn lot betreurt
Zijn naam boort zich door mijn lichaam
De echo van een droevig lied weerklinkt
En op mijn hart drukt het zijn stempel
Een brandwond schrijnt, maar bloedt niet