“What is writing” asks Pippin, and Alcuin answers: “The keeper of knowledge”. “What is the word?” – “The betrayer of thought”. “Who begot the word?” – “The tongue”. “What is the tongue?” – “The scourge of the air”. “What is the air?” – “The preserver of life”. “What is life?” – “The delight of the happy, the bane of the sorrowful, the expectation of death”. “What is man?” – “The slave of death, the guest of one place, a traveller passing”. ~ from J. Huizinga, Homo Ludens
And there's Regard and Attend. They're sneaky, they cheat and move their stones off the hopscotch lines. They don't want to lose their turn, even when they clearly, by way of the rules, should. Sometimes they drop the other foot in a square and say nothing. I become irritable with them. I have to leap to catch up. Dismayed by their duplicity, I'm breathless, I fall to the side.
Sometimes, I fall asleep at the swing-n-slide wheel.
(Sometimes, I fall to pieces. But rarely.)
The space between Thought and Papyrus is gooey. Invisible-gooey. There's an inky force incarnate by the jungle gym, he takes my hand, leads me to Aedos, to whom I demurely bow. Impatience is the bane of the writer, she says.
As is goo, I reply. But look what the bright and modest star, Antares, gave me. I dangle the award before her:
|Thank you, Antares!|
It can't be all bad, right?
Everything is subject to change, she reminds me (as does Antares).
I won't let them trick me, or get ahead of me again, I assert.
It's alright, she smiles, there is a margin of error. Then there's a margin, and what happens there is anyone's guess. Your friend here can help you to the bubbler. Drink. It fills.
I tuck the award under my arm, and the inky force leads me to the fountain. Somehow, I trust him more than my other friends. He stays by my side. He says, Forget about what happened at the playground—well, maybe not entirely. But you know, you need to get back on the swing.
Swings make me dizzy.
Get back on it anyway. Grab the chains, pull, kick forward and back. Eventually, you'll find the rhythm, the arc of the swing, and you're off. Trust me.
I'm still thinking about my friends, about Thought and Papyrus, whom I'd always likened to conjoined twins with a shared brain. But what happens between them, in that invisible-gooey area, is mysterious and not always—I'm learning—easily translatable. Despite the common cranium, they each have their own lexicon and tropology, distinct yet familiar. So much for mind reading.
At the bubbler, I take a sip of water and obediently hop on the adjacent swing, tucking the inky force in my pocket. Kick forward and back. Suddenly, I'm rising and falling. Rise and fall. Higher and higher. There, an arc leaves an imprint in the air. Margins float in the periphery. I close my eyes and see Regard. And Attend. I let go the hurt. So they trick me at times and often try to get in the middle of Thought and Papyrus. They're still fun to play with!
From the high arc of the swing the playground is still, and I observe the quiet beauty of its architecture.