As I write these words I am hurtling (hurtling!) through a tunnel below ground under the hills of Seattle, in a plastic and metal carriage in a chamber that a thousand thousand thousand inventions of humans have created. Such a thing is unthinkable if you really pay attention to it, as unthinkable as time travel, yet here I am.
Or at least, I think I am. Here.
As I write these words I am walking the streets of San Diego, sunny, Spanish, festive. I stroll into museums, sip tea in museum cafés, enlarge my brain. Indulge my imagination on someone else’s idea of art. Many someone elses’ ideas of art.
As I write these words I am lying in bed still, sleeping. The cool surface of my pillowcase, my red-orange pillowcase, touches my cheek, and the pillow smells like sleep.
As I write these words songbirds trill outside in the spring sunrise. They have started to sing even before the sun is up, before my human eyes can discern the start of day. The songbirds know something I don’t know.
As I write these words I am sitting in the Tae Kwon Doh school watching my son in his lesson. He is white-shirted with white trousers and his colored belt is knotted ceremonially in just a particular way, in a way that is prescribed by the Dojo Master. Everything is particular for him, and I love him for that. He focuses on the moves as they are called out. His hands and his feet move in a kind of ballet that only he knows the choreography of.
As I write these words I am passing through the back sides of industry. The chain link fences. The beat up trailers. The concrete and corrugated walls of warehouses. The walls and fences and rail tracks take me instantly to the Paris Metro, the London Tube. I am riding in the New York subway with my adult son to Queens to see an art exhibition he read about, as I write these words.
As I write these words the balloon loops of graffiti call their messages to me. The walls festooned with bright reds, yellows, whites, blues plead for notice and attention while at the same time blasting rudeness in my face. If I had the means, I would pay for colorful art-blast murals and lovely street-side plantings to be created over all the ugly places in the world.
As I write these words I watch two travelers, like me, on their way to the airport. They sit together in a seat, young, like Youth Hostelers from another country. Perhaps they speak German or Czech. The girl looks sleepy, the boy a little gruff. He shelters her. Their blue suitcase stands next to my smaller black one in the set-aside space for bikes and baggage on the train. Bikes and baggage. Bikes and baggage, whisper the wheels under the car we ride in through Columbia City past the V.A. Hospital and along streets of new townhomes, shiny new townhomes.
As I write these words the light rail station we come into looks like any other light rail station, in Portland, in Oceanside, in Boston, in Washington, D.C. Tiny raindrops speckle the glass through a cloudy gray sky. As I write these words I live in the clouds, I rain on the city, I thrive in the gray dampness of the Pacific Northwest. Gray dampness that has suddenly become four, or five, eighty-degree days in April. In April. In April.
Thank you to Bhanu Kapil for “As I write these words”: An Experiment in Recursion (link below).
Photo caption: “Walking Fingers, by Ellen Forney, art at Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station, Seattle, Washington,” photo by Theresa Barker.
Written on April 22, 2016, in response to a blog post by Bhanu Kapil
Theresa Barker longs to live in other worlds, and she does so through her fiction. She graduated in July 2015 from the Goddard College M.F.A. in Creative Writing program in Washington. In her “other life,” Theresa has a Ph.D. in Engineering and she solves mathematical puzzles for fun. She has three children and two cats, all of which live independent and imaginative lives, much to her delight. Theresa writes science fiction.