Sunday, 15 June 2008

Desert Plains

Remote weather: weather masts stand guard in the mountains. I am cloistered beneath black clouds, a villa stationed between borders. We hear Russians have set up a colony in the Spanish wilderness, but none of us venture toward the gate. The road is broken and all the signs have been misdirected, perhaps on purpose.

Instead, we wait for the clouds to clear: the smell of burning flesh marks a respite in the mood. These are the best of times. As the sand dunes become visible, my memory becomes renewed. I remember. Mountains, the memory of heat. The body memory of conflict. And then it happens. Over the embankment, the gated community has been overrun by a hailstorm. In the deserted swimming pool, the steam discharges wayward planks of wood and plastic, exposed by the red glow of the moon.

The following day, in an effort to exercise the night before, we decide to travel to the hills. Large mansions in the distance keep a watchful eye over our movements. The ascent is gradual, but the distance is absolute. I have not been here before, and none of my memories of Mount Carmel or the Redwood Forests provide any sense of bearing for this clustered scenery.

But something unfolds in this terrain: the emergence of an anonymous intimacy. Between the hills and the sea, we locate a faceless hotel in the mountains. Flanked on all sides by an arid landscape, the hotel is vacated, save for the fourth floor, where they bar remains open and a few stranded tourists occupy the glistening swimming pool. But there we remain: watching this scene in the midst of nowhere. Nothing is shared, and yet everything is opened with that absence.

Remote weather, remote memories: the discovery of intimacy becomes the discovery of something already present in the world, far removed from the solitude of experience and instead located in a terrain marked by its refusal to submit to absolute ownership. Before intimacy, before understanding, the world in its amorphous inertia generates encoded signals to be chosen.