Thursday, September 15, 2011
posting the metaphor
"I think it's wonderful. I don't know what you are photographing but the fact that you can see it, is wonderful." said the gardener of the butterfly no larger than the nail of my thumb...earlier this summer.
You don't see much nature where I work. It's mostly trucks and pallet-moving machines and other big and dirty machines of which I am not sure what they are meant to be. The floor thuds every time they pass by on the main road: often.
They move by in a slower procession when a large crane soaring into the sky as high as an apartment building touching the sky moves by at walking pace...you'd expect to see a man with a flag walking in front.
I love those moments, when time, no, I mean the hard business of business, screetches to a slower pace, slowed by the sheer weight and scale of things. It gives the road, otherwise roaring, a dignified gait, indeed, a sense of gravitas and occasion.
And there are also flashing orange lights which match the daily different smells that waft through the harbour, which seem to me to be the nasal equivalent of disco-lights. Some days they smell of biscuit dough. Other days of a bitches' brew of chemical concoctions of a dubious nature, thick like cough syrup, which spell t.o.x.i.c. and artificial in different coloured words every day... Were it all not so sickly my synesthaetic self would be having a constant field day. If it smelled better (or, preferably, not at all) it might add a certain je ne sais quoi to my workaday existence... which instead I brighten up in other ways. The orchids certainly help.
Yesterday, I killed a moth by standing on it. It was fluttering on the polished industrial floor of the showroom where I work. I first saw a blur and wondered at the natural tones in the otherwise sterile environment. What could it be? I approached it. I imagined it might be a bit of a hot moth, and that it was trying to ventilate itself. Auto-fanning for moths if you like. I blew on its wings and it froze. Then I realised that it was trying desperately hard to fly.
No doubt it had ended up there when the half-ton battery was delivered from storage by a fork-lift truck. Such an industrial environment is not a happy place for such a delicate creature to be. The icy blue floors and the red columns and the greenish window frames and the electric green windows all terribly at odds with the bold appearance of this rough creature's nature: quite a big moth.
I decided to give it some help, and take it outside and put it in the bushes where the wind, that sticky harbour air, as described above, might help it take flight..
As I picked up the moth with the paper I saw that its fat body was half crushed, its antennae were part-lame. It fluttered its wings more persistently as it lay on the double folded sheet of paper as I walked the distance to the door, and I felt its soul in my hand through the vibrating paper, which amplified the fluttering motion of the wings like an ominous drumroll. Once out the door it fell off the paper and dropped to the ground. I tried to launch it on the wind, knowing it was all to no avail. The creature couldn't fly. So I did the only thing one could: I covered the moth with the paper and stamped on it.
Afterwards I felt a flash of a white after-image of the moth nearby.
I told a co-worker about what I did to the moth. She said: "It is probably really grateful and will reincarnate as a butterfly."
Who knows. Maybe she's right.
Big kisses to both of you and much love!