Maybe it’s only the Westerlies,
but I just can’t answer the phone today.
It’s shrill, shattering tocsin of sound sends shudders of anxiety cascading through my entire neural network.
Indeed, I have no concentration at all. So deeply am I in the Grip of Doubt that I feel beset by mental paralysis, frozen into a sort of ambulant catatonia, unable to answer an email, or write this week’s sermon or continue a project or undertake any task that requires more than auto-pilot..
Yeah, maybe it’s just the Westerlies, I tell myself consolingly,doing their positive-ionic, chaotic thing,
disrupting neurons/blowing dust in your eyes/
tossing the paperwork about and in the process
scattering my brain to the far flung corners of the globe.
Ah, the Westerlies! A mad Festival of wandering Windstorms, harsh, hostile and desiccating. They have travelled from the frozen wastes of the Antarctic and crossed Western sunbaked deserts to reach you here, and it shows in their character. The colour of the dust they throw in your eyes tells you something of the path they took..orange ochre from ancient dried up creek beds/taste of brine from the great salt pans/radio-active grit from Maralinga..
This annual Brisbane phenomena appears around the time Winter is turning into Spring. This in practise can be anywhere between August and early October, they are notoriously erratic both in appearance and behaviour. Thus whilst in the regions up above the general direction is indeed from the West South-West, down on the ground they break up into buffeting, irregular gusts that can come at you seemingly from any direction.
Then foliage is torn from the trees, lips crack and split, cold sores erupt, eyes redden and weep, whilst the cascading currents of fractalizing ions disrupt all electronic communications whilst scattering brain function and de-railing the normal train of thoughts. To people like Poets and Psychotics – (sensitive biological antennae to the Great Currents that sweep through all our lives, for the most part as undetectable as gravitational waves) – the Westerlies can be particularly distressing.
As an animist, I realised of course that the Westerlies are Sentient Beings, just like the Mist Spirits that dance at night above moonlit paddocks, or the greedy, orange Bushfires, that once unleashed live brief, hungry, raging lives, guzzling the landscape and shitting it out black.
And the Wind penetrates the crevices of your mind,
whispering disconcerting thoughts through the cracks, undermining your self assurance and confidence until suddenly you recognise with a sickening clarity,
yes, you know in your heart
that the Wind is just an outward manifestation
of the Chaos of your own Mind,
the Shambles of your own Life,
and that this rough beast is shambling unshaven towards his inevitable Disintegration..
Yes, yes, I mutter like a madman.. My Life in Shambles.. The State of the House around me
seems at this moment to accurately reflect the State of my Mind itself. (No big surprise there folks!)Untidey, messy, chaotic..
Around me everything is flopping and flipping
and scattered, or tumbling across the floor, as the winds enter through a thousand crevices
and cracks, under doors and down chimneys
paperwork everywhere shuddering and flapping,
like pinioned birds desperate for flight, every instinct straining to fly away. The house creaks and groans and strains..surprised it doesn’t entirely collapse into a tumble of untidy timber..
The Winds of Chaos clap their cheeks and Blow, Man, Blow!! like Mad aethereal Coltranes!
Tree branches scrape across the roof with threatening persistence,
Commitments tap insistently at the window/ send
me emails/ leave long, incomprehensible messages on the answering machine..
I cower on the couch, gnawing my fingernails..Why did I promise to do anything? Did I seriously think I was capable of meeting commitments? Why do people expect me to actually turn up for appointments/conferences/coroners reports? Can’t they see I’m suffused with unreliability?
I haven’t been so afraid to answer the phone since my good ole drug addict days. Of course, it was different then. Back then it was just Debts and People I Didn’t Want to See Because They were Such Bad News chasing after me. Now it’s all “Responsibilities” and “Commitments” and concern for Worthwhile if Hopeless Causes bothering me,
aggravating my vestigial sense of Social Obligation.
I break through the Inertia of the couch and go outside to run through my Tai Chi Set & Sequence of movements,
that ancient discipline, half dance/half martial art
cycling through the centuries to eventually sweep me along too in the currents of its archaic momentum.
So taking my usual stance beneath the silky oak tree,
I take in a deep lungful of air and commence.
Above me the uppermost branches of the silky oak
neurotically rub their bony knuckles together, as though concerned at the actions of the gyrating human below.
Usually this unfolding martial dance “Centres” me;
calms the mind, stops it’s chatter and shifts focus to the Contemplative Core at the still Centre of Sentience.
But not today.
Instead of Centering me,
today the wind rips my Soul out of it’s moorings
and joyously flings it about
up amongst the tossing branches above
in an exuberant whirling of leaves.
The Winds drop me suddenly and landing back in my body,
I laugh with a sudden, loud Exultation of Happiness!
Yes I roar a barbaric Yawp of Delight at Living,
that frightens the neighbours and sends a flock of parakeets screeching into the distance.
I laugh again and in that precise moment the wind drops in sudden swallow-swoops and dies away completely.
Oh it will be back soon enough, the mad bloody Beastie! But for now we have an Understanding it seems
and the Sun shines it’s Royal Seal upon the Deal.
Shuffling and crackling through the blanket of fallen leaves
covering the ground in a shroud of chlorophyll
I make my way then back into the house
and there I sit at the keyboard
and start to write these words..
The Reverend Hellfire..
“Thar he Blows!!”