The Stain Fades
It seems to promise more: The Stain Fades. Perhaps the vindication of a long accepted injustice; the regeneration of an intellectual effort denigrated in the past; the justification of a personal attitude castigated by society; the discovery of a really good detergent - anything, other than the whitening reality of the sanguine remains of a cheap bottle of red wine fallen from an inadequately fastened back pack.
Today, The Stain is only readily appreciated in its concentrated, foreshortened form when glimpsed from the top of the road bridge over the motorway. As I swoop down on my bike, the proximity of my artwork is also its virtual disappearance: the more you look the more it isn’t there. Which certainly adds another dimension to the already dimension-rich meanings that I have tried to drag from my store of pretentious artistic justifications for causal accidents.
We have had a few sun showers and this has added to the spectral appearance of a once assertive stain. Now, as we pass in the car, I can only point to where the stain was rather than its actual reality.
The last time that I passed over it on my bike, it was more of a suggestion of what it used to be. I don’t know if even the last tiny shards of broken bottle are still somewhere on its putative expanse, or have they been wind swept into the gutter - or found their way into the tread of passing cycle tyres or the soles of passing shoes? I was, however, gratified to find that my stain had acquired a sort of decayed wreath - which was still there today! I have not investigated this new accretion, as I do not wish to make it more prosaic by accepting mere reality to define my description.
The Stain is not the only ‘land work’ to which I lay claim. Every time I return from the swimming pool I have to cross the main road to the cycle path. To do this I have to mount the pavement and then use the zebra crossing to gain my way home. At the point where the pavement has been smoothed down to allow access by wheelchairs a small blob of concrete has hardened on the curved surface.
Every time I pass it I think of a description of time in relation to god. I think it is an Islamic writer who tries to give a sense of the timelessness of god by explaining how little our concept of time means to him/her/it/them.
The picture of the top of a rocky mountain being swept by the wing of a passing bird once every thousand years is created. When that mountain has been worn away, the age that will have to have passed for that to happen will be but less than a moment to god. Since I have been cycling past the concrete knob has not diminished appreciably, in spite of human activity, weather conditions and my kicking it once to see how firmly fixed it was!
My attention has made it my own, I maintain. I did attempt to write a poem about it, but the more I wrote the more it seemed to suggest the worst excesses of a certain Vogon space captain, and so I have given the writing a rest, but my attention never fails to look for degradation. And to try and make something of the fact that it seems impermeable!
As you may well be able to tell, this writing is little more than the usual displacement activity which stops me doing a few more of the 100 ejercicios para repasar ortografía y gramática that should be helping me improve my Spanish, but the exercises are getting more difficult and are asking me to use verbs - and not in the present tense!
And the sun is shining and the terrace is waiting to accept my prone body on a sun bed.
Life always gets in the way of good intentions!