I’ve become better at mixing colors, and at finding new ways to calm myself. Last night I dreamed of deep brown mud, and of skinny white and black birch trees pushing up from the mud with a fierce speed. In the dream, I thought that I was seeing what God saw: the growing process accelerated, what’s slow to us is a blink to the Divine. We must grow fast then old before his eyes; like how it is for a parent to watch their child go from infant to kindergartener to teenager within a span of what feels like weeks.
Also in the dream, I was lying down on a white quilt, and there were unfamiliar fingers roaming over my stomach, which was covered in azalea blossoms. They’ve been falling off the bushes and I’ve been trying to clip them off and put them into vases around the house. I like how shocking pink they are.
There is something that I’m keeping from you. It’s a kind of yellow thing, soft like a canary feather. I’m hoping it glows like the sun, if I keep letting it grow. The verb in German “to hope” is hoffen, which is associated with the color yellow. I’m trying to make the noise die down and center in on that yellow, feathery feeling. It keeps slipping through my fingers, bright like a sunbeam, light as a feather, a metaphorical cliché. I have a hope that I fear, and putting it into words makes it too solid, and therefore too easily kicked away. Vapor is easier: I can breathe it in and make it change form. It doesn’t leave a hole when it dissipates. It can rest in your throat for a bit, wait for your mouth the form the word, “Please.” A simple word, with complicated organizational brain patterns behind it. Neurons fire, misfire, a thrill in the chest, a feather to heaven.
The Neanderthals, with their thick browridges and stocky bodies, were among the first of us to hope. They scattered flowers around the remains of their dead, hid them in caves, held stock in ceremony. What else is ceremony, or belief in life after death or of something other than ourselves but an elaborate form of hope? A pale yellow burned into blinding orange? We’ve grown more cerebral but no less hopeful. We still think that if we murmur prayers just so, scatter flowers at the feet of our dead loved ones, and perform a beaded ritual that our outcomes will be favorable. An uplifted feeling in the stomach, that giddy exhilaration, appears to have survived obvious selective pressures that suggest that there is little to hope for in the end. We will all end up still, and cold, though hopefully with flowers scattered around our bodies. I wonder if it’s also a derived trait of ours for our hearts to hold still when we hope, or think about the object of our desire? Have we always held our breath, and tried to still our heartbeats for the inevitable lift of surprise or sink of disappointment? We fill our lungs with yellow vapor, like pollen, like feathers, and we wait for hope to catch up to us.