The other night I was in open air at Glen Foerd. The beautiful grounds of a historic home on the banks of the Delaware River. I went with my friend Amy and ran into my friend He-myong, among others, attending a music show. We talked about the weather a lot, about the grass, the bugs, the moon, the music, the kind of people who were there. In other words, nature.
I kept remarking how funny it is to listen to ourselves describe nature as if it is the anomaly and not our human shit.
What’s that smell? Something smells like a fire.
The air is moist. Why’s it so moist out.
Look at the light on the river! It looks unreal.
I periodically laughed and said: yes, you have just described nature.
He-myong started complaining it was too cold (it really wasn’t). He wanted it to be much warmer than it was, and I teased that he wanted any excuse to take his clothes off. It is not an insult to describe him as “a hot guy who knows he’s hot.”
You’re right. I do.
We laughed. He just wants to show off his body. And why not? You’re young, you’re alive, you’re a yoga instructor in training.
The fireflies look like a really cool installation.
I laugh again. Now we’re describing beautiful scenes of nature by comparing them to art projects. “It’s like a light installation where you can’t hear any electricity!”
Amy and I joke that He-myong is a person designed to be hugged, cajoling him as a body. As he tells us what he’s been up to these past several months—exotic travel, self-discovery—he starts beaming about how amped he is to learn about sound and anatomy. We talk about our mutual friend Jungwoong, the somatic work and contact improv dancer whom I wrote about in an earlier post. He-myong goes on to say he’ll go wherever Eugene (the one behind our arrival on this night) tells him to go. We nod approvingly like an awkward cult. Where does he tell you to go?
On the way home, Amy and I talk about imagination. Where the imagination leads one in the wake of high sensory experiences, dis-regulated physical manias, repositioned stases. It sounds like dis-regulation caused a jolt of technicolor in your imagination that you want to maintain while regulated, she says.
It is so nice when someone can say things for you that you cannot. Enthusiasm has its consequences. Restraint atrophies the language center of my brain responsible for nature sounds. I don’t know how to describe things without comparing them to the mundane victories of nature. I am reduced to calling the sky dark, the air wet, the trees tall, and tell everybody that I am surprised by my own body’s reaction to its emotional atmospheres.
An accomplice who is a body meant principally to convey the body as a part of nature would understand why I am laughing to leak the explosive breath I keep held for you.