Saturday, March 20, 2010

Know Now Then

Morning. First day of spring. I am contained in my skin, my brown denims, my light pink long-sleeved tee, but I am bursting with love for you and the desire to be in your presence. I feel as though I'm on a phantasmagorical journey - images and sensations, dreams, fragments, memories, reveries, connections, confetti, colors - all streaming past me. It's overwhelming, the scale of it -- too hard to keep straight. (I keep hearing my name, in instrumentals even --)

I feel a desire to settle my mind down, craft a story, but my divided mind jangles. Besides, that's not how writing - my best writing - typically goes for me.

Afternoon. Dearest love, I am sitting at a picnic table in a semi-secluded glade at the conservation area. It's warm enough that I'm just in my shirtsleeves. There's a view of blue mountains, outlined against pearly sky. Overhead the sky is blue with a couple of intricate white clouds. The turf is starting to green. A light breeze rustles my hair. I was just at the library but felt restless so I left after a few minutes and drove here. A family has just strolled by and said hi. Tiny bugs hover close to the ground.

I am glad to be here alone, outside, in the quiet, off to the side. I think of Marina Abramović who, as I write, is seated at a table at her exhibit at MOMA, where she will sit every day for the duration of her show (2-1/2 months) as patrons stroll by and choose to make eye contact with her - or not, sit across from her for a moment, or longer, or much longer even - or not. For me, that would be an excruciating experience. I would dread every day, I think. I prefer to retreat, be off to the side, not right in the middle.

I have come to realize (But I didn't know what I know now then) that I once saw her and her now ex-husband (as I recently read) at the conservation area, a year ago or more. They were a particularly striking pair. I can conjure their image now - at once vital, fit, attractive, graceful, and unassuming. They passed through the rustic arch of the gate. I didn't know who they were. We apprehended one another, made eye contact, and smiled. I went through the gate for my walk and I presume they returned to their car.

I saw who I know now (but didn't know then) was her ex-husband at an art auction in December. He pulled up a folding chair and for a spell kept company with the friendly acquaintance I was hanging out with that inclement day. I didn't know who the gentleman was, and my companion didn't introduce us. There wasn't any need. We were in the midst of the casual hoi-polloi of streaming auctioneering and a milling crowd and it wasn't entirely clear (at least to me) why I was there anyway so I was playing it as it lay, content to see how the minutes as morning wore into afternoon mildly unspooled. I didn't recognize him as the man I'd seen with Ms. Abramović at the conservation area gate. By the time of the art auction - the day of Winter Walk that December Saturday - I was aware of who Ms. Abramović was and I think it was that day, or maybe that evening at (p.m.) after the Winter Walk parade that Mr. NFS told me that she was opening a performance art school here in Hudson in the Community Tennis building (apt place, it seems to me) and in days following I got around to googling her and was surprised to see the image of the stylish couple at a fancy black-tie event and recognizing him - who the day I'd seen him at the auction reminded me of Ralph Fiennes (smiling reserve) and that they had been the ones at the conservation area one afternoon several seasons ago. Small world, these tight and not - on the face of it - terribly meaningful connections.

I would like to see Marina Abramović's show and hope I have a chance to see it. If I do I will be unlikely to sit down at the table with her and, especially, to make prolonged eye contact. (Something which on the other hand, my dearest, I would love to do with you - but in a private setting, even if outdoors like this).

Perhaps this meandering post can take the place of any awkward face to face with Ms. Abramović. There. I captured, if imperfectly, an evanescent connection, two tables, at two removes, separated by 120 miles, exercises in preservation.

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