“What do you remember about the Earth”
This piece of writing is my own response to one of Bhanu Kapil’s 12 questions from The Vertical Introduction of Strangers. If you ever find this page, thank you for this text Kapil. Thank you for your work.
There is a thrill that comes with climbing a tree. Or rather, trying to climb a tree. The push of the ground as I bend my knees to jump. The strain of my shoulders and back as I catch a branch, a hold. The roughness of the bark. It cuts my skin and digs gently into each soft, un-calloused spot of my body. Strengthening, teaching. The inhale before the next move. A stretch that shows me I am longer that I knew…
As I climb higher and find my footing, I start to see. The golden light on each leaf. On each bump of bark. The crisp fresh feeling of being surrounded by oxygen. Pure. clean. rejuvenating. And as I settle, the movement becomes clear.
The rustling of the trees quiets and the buzzing begins. Little ants marching along the nook my foot is wedged in. A steady net unseeable until the spider twitches to hold on in the wind. The zoom and whoosh of a quick… bee? wasp? hornet?
The thrill of climbing is now a thrill of panic. As the fear sets in, its as though all the length of my spine is lost. The openness of my chest restricts and the broadness of my vision tightens. A deep awareness of the possibility of pain. Of being told I am an unwelcome visitor in this ecosystem of the tree.
I am reminded that I have forgotten how to climb. Rather, climb down. As I fumble and hold the squeak and scream of terror, I slip. And catch myself. And disturb another homebody unappreciative of my presence. The comfort and ease is gone and suddenly there is,
Page 2: Self-Portrait
Page 3: Hyphen
Page 4: “What do you remember about the Earth?”
Page 5: A Language That Opened My Mouth
Page 6: Help Me Get Ready: Monologue
Page 7: A Color I Can’t Escape