By Night

By Night

It’s easier to sit and write about worldview and symbolism than about animality itself – the raw experience of it, vivid, overwhelming. A worldview constructs and shapes itself with verbal language better; how can you make someone understand what it’s like to be an animal-person in your daily life, is it even possible?

More and more, I’ve let myself drift into the sensations and stream of humanimal perception and thought, without wanting to hold it back, without having to wonder how does that translate into words for others to read. Often I just want to be in the here-and-now, and not face the blank of the page or the brightness of the screen. There are other places to be, other things I want to do, so much instead, at this moment.

I like the city by night. I feel the most inspired and awake. What is it that make such moments so real? Is it the chill air and steam around the pale golden lights, the crowd’s murmur in the streets, or the dark buildings towering up against the red sky? Would I still feel the same if the atmosphere was hot and heavy, and the roads full of dust, in a country far away, with different smells and voices and souls?

Is there a limit in how big a city can someone inhabit and belong to? I’ve lived different places with different populations and rythms, and in spite of the oceanic climate, which I find too cold for my tastes, I’ve been the most at ease in the City of Lights. There is something soothing in feeling that whatever direction you take, you can walk without reaching an end to it. I can’t imagine moving to a smaller urban area now. How similar and different other megacities feel like?

I do not like winter. I do not like the cold and wet. Yet I have to admit it’s been grounding me in this concrete experience so strong, because it’s a slap in the face that you’re really a part of the world, and you’re fighting against elements, and alive. The coldness puts me back into my body in the most animalistic way, like when exercizing. Lately I’ve felt as though we were deep into winter (from my mediterranean standards) yet it’s only the beginning. It’s also been raining a lot, and when I hear the drops pourring hard on the veranda’s roof, it fills my heart with joy.

How can you write about cat, about bird, when you’re feeling this? The wide eyes and perky ears, nostrils flared when you smell the wet dead leaves on your front door, breathing the air so crisp?

I got my transportation card last year as I didn’t have one immediately after I moved here. The possibilities it unveilled, I felt like I was holding the world in my hand. I love the subway, our old stations and the rails, and being able to get wherever I want to, just with this little magnetic chip. Since then my urge to travel has been itching ever more – which is a pity because I have no money since I got my chest surgery. But I’ve been happy in my city, getting interested in things I had ignored until then. I discovered there may be clouded leopards very close to where I live, and I need to get there.

There is so much I could be doing now.

My point isn’t that writing is a waste of time – it isn’t. My point is about finding balance between the experience and putting it down on paper. Sometimes you just have to go quiet for a while and just listen. Watch. Smell. Feel. Stop with the near constant babbles and just let yourself be in motion with the stream with no pause. It’s only afterwards that you can choose to detail what you saw/did/felt. You just can’t always be narrating your train of thought, without sometimes letting things sink in.

Ironically, I had known about this for a long time; but I didn’t feel like writing about it or anything else, at all.