Friday, January 27, 2012

Canning Peaches in the World Inside My Head

In my head is another world. This world is a magnet for thoughts. It's a world that draws people who think so much that they forget to shower, who think so much that they look like they're floating somewhere else, who think so much they don't notice they've been standing in the middle of the sidewalk for fifteen minutes. Here people keep swarms of stinging insects in boxes and use shopping carts like summertime sleds and find ways to rappel from the clouds. Instead of metal and paper, currency is made of ideas.

In my world you can see the stars and no one is afraid of the dark. When the sun comes up, the sky changes into a thousand colours before it balances out into just one, and when it goes down in shatters into a different million coloured pieces that fly out into the vast expanse of everywhere and light up the dark with shining pricks of white light, a hundred billion miles away.

The trees are triangular. There is grass too, almost the same wavering green and winking lavender as the trees, and it spreads out from your feet in every direction, as if you are its source. It pours down the hill, spiky and filled with life and pizzazz. There are little flowers, blue ones. They look like your eyes, sparks of colour, sparks of life in the endless green. I can hear a river. It swishes an hiccups and bellows. It spins and tangles with the earth; it ducks under bushes and careens around trees. And then it takes a mad leap into a different large bit of water that's just biding its time until the dam breaks.

The sun is a square, if you look at it for too long. The clouds float around masquerading as rabbits and flying horses and Jesus' face. The people that live here have black skin, as black as the night sky and more beautiful than the earth itself, and white skin too, and all different shades of brown.

My mother and father live here, and sometimes I help Mom can peaches. It is very satisfying to have the peach juice running down your arms and the slices of peach splop-ing into the bowl of lemon juice. I like the way the boiling hot peaches almost scald your hands when you hold them tightly, and how the skins just slide off into a sticky, sweet blog of peach. The smell is there too, potent and alluring and delicious; and every so often some of the peach doesn't come off the pit and I can BITE it and the sweet juice runs down my throat and chin. Then, when all the peaches are peeled and sliced, Mom comes along and puts them in jars and heats the jars until the're really, really hot and the lids seal themselves. Then we put them in the basement and can eat them all winter long. The bits of peach stick to my skin and dry, and the smell lingers on my hands and arms for hours an hours, no matter how hard I scrub them--except I don't scrub them because no smelly lotion in the world is better than the scent of fresh peaches.

And in my world, while I'm helping my mother, sometimes the wind howls and roars, and the rain attacks with the fury of the gods. Pools form and water tries to race uphill, and the street lights sparkele and dim in the wild torrent of air that billows and gusts and bellows. Occasionally it simmers down to a whisper, but only to gather strength before launching another massive attack on the trees and the houses and the people who were standing on the sidewalk and thinking so hard they forgot to go inside.

Then I realize that the world inside my head looks and awfully lot like the world outside me head, so I move from my spot on the sidewalk to go explore this world instead.

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