I’m so back that I can’t beleive it. I went for a walk along the beautiful Croton Landing Trail with all the Half Moon Bay of the Hudson River spread out before me at high tide a couple days ago and even though it was visually beautiful it made me feel sick. There was such GREY NOISE from highway 9-A , with its whirling radial tires and no protection from this onslaught for human sensitivities. I could not imagine someone had the audacity to build a park here. Don’t the planners and designers know about the human senses? That our senses are in a blurr of disconnect with the ears struck by hurtling metal at sixty shouting “DANGER!” and the eyes all serene Hudson valley transcendental “god in nature”. I had to make some sort of short circuit in my brain to enjoy the scenery without hearing it’s horrifying soundscape and I just couldn’t do it. It made me feel sick to try to cut off my sense of hearing to enjoy the sights. Nausea. Is that the existential condition we find our selves in, the nausea of sacrifice that we have to make to appear civilized. Civilized enough to enjoy the sights while cutting off the sounds, bifurcated humans…….
But now I’m on the train to the city to rehearse with Wooster group where yesterday I played the “tree of life” on stage, Yggdrasil, the small perfect desert tree I found last year on the banks of the Yampa River in Colorado. I’m playing total gift of nature, intuitively releasing it’s own wonderful sounds trapped in its branches, plucked like Mingus’ deep bass tones. I’m playing and singing the song I learned from the wind on the Yampa that last day with Mho Salim. It’s a deep song. A brave song. I’m bringing the nature spirits intact into the city. Then Liz asks me to listen one ear to the audio of an Indian cheif named Yellow Hand giving a speech about the coming of the white people in his high voice. I take in that sound with one ear while I play the tree of life with both hands and listen to the room with one ear. I can do it, I’m a modern person who needs the support of technology to even survive.
But on the train to New York City now I’m so immersed in my iPad and my self-generated narcissistic-electronic-mental-environment that I forget to look up and see the Hudson River slide past on the rails. I dont really recognize that I’m even on a train. I’m in my head supported by the iPad – that is where I live now, in a fabricated mental construct with a soundtrack of horrible screeching metal sounds, a cloud of grey white noise sitting in the fan above my head, a constant blur, a shakedown of rumbling box, a mild annoyance that space does not disappear around me but that a lurch in the level of the tracks reminds me that I even have a body. I’m annoyed at the intrusions of space and living in my head. I look up. 125th street slides away. Soon I will be in the tunnel with no distractions. A modern person once again.
Not two weeks ago I woke to hear the bird song before dawn and knew whether it would rain. I felt a steady connection to the world around me. I knew where I was. Now after the nausea of sense separation I’m once again a modern man. Self contained. Self deluded. Self important. Top of the food chain. Master of my tiny universe. But where am I?