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Thursday, March 17, 2011

pipes

Last week CNN were showing video of the tsunami/earthquake in japan. And I was blown away. There is no getting around the loss of life, opportunity and money this tsunami will bring. This is undoubtedly one of the worst natural disasters we have been faced with in a long time. However there is also no denying the beauty of the thing as it wrecked. It put me in mind of that Tolkien line from the lord of the rings "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!" the water was so powerful nearly a nuclear blast. It cut through and carried endless mounds earth effortlessly. Further inland the water had mixed with the debris forming this sludge that looked less like water mixed with solid as it did the earth was melting. And not going easily. It was fluid and in motion, at war with itself and it's environments, swirling and swerving and at the centre of it you could almost see its soul, its black death ready to tear away from the earth its foundations, from the people their loved ones and from humanity a little more of its faith in nature. Perhaps the worst part was the amorality of it all. There was no grander design or purpose to the thing, no sense of malevolence driving it forward just the confluence of movements of tectonic plates shaped billions of years ago coming home to crow. Gods own hosepipe.

Closer home, I went for a walk the other day. The kind of walk you take as a child or when you are away from the hassle of city life and it's never ending emphasis on things never ending. am talking about the kind of walk that leaves you dirty. It was through a really dusty place so when I was done I looked half brown . I was in shorts and sandals and the dust clung to me. i got home and I couldn't even enter the house for fear of dragging the memories of my adventures into a place they did not belong. So I had to hose down. There was a pipe so I could get water out of the tap but I had this irrational fear that the water would be too cold but I sucked it in and sprayed. the water was warm for awhile but quickly turned cold. Apparently it had been in the sun for quite some time and been warmed up. I love when that happens, It reminds me of that beautiful romantic notion about light being a memory, a picture of a time past. It takes the sun's rays 8 minutes to get to us, so that by the time they are here the world they illuminate is a little older than the one whose universe they shared. So this warm water was a gift a present from the past


Last year I finally got the chance to purchase a pipe,, my very own tobacco pipe. A symbol of status only outmatched by a waist coat clock, the process of lighting a pipe is in itself an affirmation of class. You pinch carefully remnants of whatever it is you want to destroy your lungs on that day. Even more carefully you tip it over onto the pipe and then set it all on fire. Then you take a deep satisfying breath which is immediately followed by a rasping, wheezing cough that starts from that point in the middle of your throat where all the really painful ones do. This is for men with time, men with space and most especially men with their very own leaves. I have heard tale that vegetarianism has never been so sexy. And this pipe I had was beautiful. it had a black marble head. Perfectly curved and polished with a finishing so fine it had to have been handcrafted.A perfect round crucible in which to deposit the fuel, inside of that it was white and I have always been a sucker for juxtaposition. The marble head tapered to wooden tunnel. It was this tunnel that would finally give me the chance to describe something as having a “woody” texture. But my pipe broke.


I kept thinking that a post about pipes could not be complete without some sly reference to that one pipe that speaks the truth But I have been falling in the habit of proving myself wrong so instead I will end this with a story of a bird. A bitch of a bird. On the day I had all these thoughts relating to pipes, I was standing somewhere in the open. Taking a break from my walk and just looking off into nothing in particular when out of nowhere this bird of prey came and scratched my head. It swooped down on me like I was a dead mouse it would have the opportunity to carry off. Its talons just grazed me and I cold feel how lucky I had been. Then i began to wonder why that bird would attack me. Did I look dead or close to it? Do I have a particularly mousy head shape when taken aerially, did it simply miscalculate or was it just angry that it no longer had the biggest pipes in the animal kingdom?