17 November, 2009

Enigma of the Hour

Never underestimate London's ability to surprise you. It only takes a little trick of the autumn light to transform, say, Stroudley Walk, E3, into, say, pre-War Turin, on a Sunday evening, or perhaps a Monday morning.


Oh, my dear readers, the light of London will astonish you: subfusc overhead, golden on the ground, with the raking beam of the sun askance. There are a million such metamorphoses on offer in the city. Presently it is almost five in the morning; there is no light outside, only the heavy winds, making the casements chatter. Still, a long shadow is cast before me on the piazza: a metaphysical entity. On the third of December, that is, in a little over two weeks, my son is going to be hacked out of my wife, and into my life. This sort of fact tends to stick in the mind when you'd rather be writing, or sleeping.

My sister brought over her son's cot, no longer needed. It has been put together, and sits at the end of the bed, with garish toys, a cage, waiting. I am reminded of my childhood, when we were to embark on a holiday, en famille, perhaps to Italy, say, to Turin: the plane would be leaving at nine in the morning, and I would have packed the night before, leaving only the toothbrush out for my early ablution. I would sleep unsoundly, or not at all, for I'd be imagining the trip to come, and the bedroom would be in a state of disarray, all undone in anticipation: reordered and unfinished, suspended. To leave my bed, my house, my street, where I'd grown up, even for a week in the sun, seemed an enormous displacement, and already in the dawn taxi to Heathrow, shooting west through the strange wastes of Hounslow on the M4, long shadows before us, I would be seized with the desire to be home again. Do you remember these emotions? This melancholy of limbo, this bating of the breath?

12 comments:

peony said...

It's funny how those times "in limbo"-- especially times of abated breath-- remain stuck in our memories...Anyway, cannot wait to hear of Owen's triumphant arrival! Take care-- and for god's sake, get some sleep while you can!!! xoxox

M.W. Nolden said...

While normally, at least in my case, it's all about spatial relationships, I have recently found myself captivated by the transformative power of low-slanted, golden autumnal light. More late afternoon rather than early morning…

Nice to have you back.
Peony is right, try to get some sleep.

Language said...

I remember those feelings well. Welcome back, and yes, start building up your sleep reserves!

A.J.P. Megkoronáz said...

Oddly enough, my search - "Bromley High St" "De Chirico" - did not match any documents. So who did that picture, Conrad?

Pedro Páramo said...

Thank you.

Conrad H. Roth said...

AJP: I did, of course!

A.J.P. Megkoronáz said...

Yes, i thought so. Well done. That sky makes all the difference.

Conrad H. Roth said...

Thanks. It was pasted in from Il Grande Metafisico.

nnyhav said...

Yes, nicely done; and so on to 3 Dec: would that be the enigma of a rival? or of the minute? Best wishes.

Eddie J said...

This post, with its pithy rendering of nostalgia and uncertainty, was most welcome. I find myself wondering whether you'll one day direct your perspicacious pen to something like the Novel. Would you e'er deign to do something so trivial?

I can't wait to hear about the adventures of young Owen. I bate my breath vicariously.

Steven Augustine said...

The Grand Adventure grows that much grander!

bedlamist said...

To leave my bed, my house, my street, where I'd grown up, even for a week in the sun, seemed an enormous displacement, and already in the dawn taxi to Heathrow, shooting west through the strange wastes of Hounslow on the M4, long shadows before us, I would be seized with the desire to be home again."

You must have had a very happy childhood.