rarefied air

Page One hundred nine

Wednesday 3 November 2010

I’m going to go on about love here. After a short diversion.

My one and only human friend just recently gave me a quote from Temple Grandin, that very famous person with Asperger’s. It’s a quote of hers I hadn’t encountered before, spoken to describe how she feels among neurotypical people: Like an anthropologist on Mars. This is a time when I have to say a very loud DITTO to the words of Ms. Grandin. That’s exactly how I feel among neurotypicals. Anthropologist on Mars, mermaid on the land, and whatever other metaphors of alienation you want to construct. Absolutely as if I am among creatures who are backward, whose movements and words and behaviors are mostly illogical to me, and coarse, and incomprehensible. Lacking sensitivity and sensibility and reasoned thinking. Thrown in among creatures whose words and actions constantly hurt and offend and exclude me.

All of this being true, human love has been a thing with much darkness in it for me, much insecurity and uncertainty and pain. Love as we’d like it to be, as I need it to be, and as many writers and poets have described it down the centuries… that kind of love I have experienced with humans only in certain moments on certain days. To experience it on a daily basis, over years, I always had to turn to animals. And likewise to give love in the way that it absolutely should be given is only possible for me with animals.

Before I go any further, I’m going to warn my one and only human friend to stop reading right now. She doesn’t like sentimentality, or maudlin feelings, or probably a number of other states I might evoke in this post. And since I don’t want her to reach the gagging state, I’m telling her to leave off right here.

The rarefied air I’m talking about in the title is the air you breathe when you breathe it with someone you love, who loves you in return. The air of which I have so very little since my animals were stolen from me on March 12 of 2008. That air that is like no other, at least for me, at least in the 57 years I’ve been breathing on this planet.

I can’t describe this air to you. If you know it, you do, and if you don’t, I can’t help you. It’s the air produced by sharing time and space and breathing in a state of mutual love. It’s the air that makes you feel and do and say corny things, things you might not want all kinds of peripheral people to hear or see. Because that’s one of the things that real, sincere love does to us. It affects us in a place so fundamental and unsophisticated that we are thrown into the realm of the sentimental and the maudlin and the corny. So what. The two greatest lines Billy Joel ever wrote, to my mind, are these: I don’t care what consequence it brings. I have been a fool for lesser things. A fancier way of saying: I love you. I will be corny and vulnerable for that love. So what. It’s worth it.

The air you breathe sleeping in the presence of someone you love, walking with someone you love, acting silly with someone you love. That air that feels like yours alone, and the rest of the world is shut out of it. Moments that make whatever crap happens in one’s day more bearable.

This is air that materialized in my first 55 years infinitely more often in relationships with animals than with people. I always had multiple animals, and therefore multiple sources of love, multiple places in which to put love. Having now just the one animal is not at all the same, and not nearly enough. I lie down at night waiting to feel it, but there is very little there.

(part of the book Neverending Solitaire)

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(peacock at www.toscano.com)

all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.




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