Saturday, November 21, 2009

Landscape with impassable mountains

For a time, the high valley was shrouded in cloud, and for the length of an afternoon they gazed out of the huge panoramic windows, set on two sides of an equilateral triangle, looking out over a milky lake. Having determined to clarify their relationship, after eight hours of talk, their thoughts were already enormously preoccupied with getting through time, with such practical approaches as dining, putting on walking gear, taking an excursion, anything of a straightforward nature.

-Shall we order coffee?
-Yes, please, she replied.

She was grateful to him. The essential thing, he said, is to get back to simple things. If they were both single-celled creatures, say, or oysters, they would know what to do in the rhythm of ebb and flow, that is to say they would open up during high tide so that suspended particles could flow into them, and close up at low tide in order to dry out.She is not an oyster, though, and he is not the sea.

During the course of their afternoon conversation, in which they had planned to analyze their situation and the murky swamplands of their sexual habits, their emotions underwent a change. The mere fact that they were now hungry changed things; having being occupied with each other for eight hours, even in this imperfect manner, they felt that they would surely find a way out before long, some solution as uncomplicated as' let's have dinner now'. In the long run, this was a source of trust, even if matters between them went unresolved. They proposed to talk to each other in this way, a mountain retreat, every year. It may have no purpose, they said, but it's warming.

Everyone has his own magic words
They seem to have no meaning
Let them but flit through memory, though,
And the heart rejoices and weeps........

from The Devil's Blind Spot: Tales from the New Century, Alexander Kluge

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