it’s dark on the hill
even though city lights peel away secrets
below where I stand lonely
listening to urban din hammered into songs
remembering to look up
scanning for planes diving across memories
picking out constellations as cop cars provide the horns
I remember that insectalien rising out of the floor
planetarium lights dimming
a sonorous sky guide
and highbacked reclining chairs
modern as open the pod bay doors, Hal
open the pod bay doors
remembering to look down
looking for secrets in polished glass
burnished metal and an artillery of light bulbs
now its dark
now there is no up
now the past is the hunter
on the hill in the dark
remembering the loneliness
there is between each of us
David Trudel © 2015
Last night, my after-dinner walk brought me through the forest up to the hilltop. At this time of year it’s a transition getting used to the earlier darkness and learning to hear the sounds of the night. But it’s also the time when the hilltop view sparkles with lights as the city opens up, becoming a magical tapestry of distant reflections. Overhead ragged clouds play striptease with the universe and the half moon radiates her silvery charms. I stand there drinking it all in, letting my mind settle and letting go of all my small thoughts and distractions until it’s just me and the universe. I sense a presence and turn around. There, in the dusky shadows is a family of deer, pausing for a moment to look at the same lights. Eventually they melt into the dark and I make my way downhill.
gripping rock through shoe and moss
pressing brief bones against a plunge of denseness
my tongue tastes endurance
more feeling than looking
then up, inevitably
up into the great whatever
not into riddles or faded histories of starlight
catching yesterday’s plasma
against the big black fullness
rippling daggers slice the empty
this point a singularity
under it all
holding on to nothing
holding nothing in
until the next point is less than something
nothing is left
but the rock
David Trudel © 2014
her eyes catch the final glimmers of daylight
drawing my attention to the doe
I hold her gaze and say hello dear
with a smile
we look at each other, her shoulders relax
we share this moment
not quite trusting each other
but less than wary
close enough to hear each other breathing
shadows close in
our eyes, different enough
both recognize a moment of peace
David Trudel © 2014
Of all the things I’m privileged with, one of my favourites is being able to go on nighttime Shinrin-yoku walks in the hilltop park behind my house. Armed only with a flashlight I walk the darkened hallways of swaying trees, listening to arpeggios played upon their upper branches.
I walk by myself but I’m not alone, I’m here with each fir and oak, with the forest understory with its many tiny insect and bird kingdoms, and I’m with the morphing clouds that race across the sky, ambered by the city that spills its way towards this hilltop redoubt. I listen to the song the wind is singing and I look at the scimitar pureness of a new moon. I give thanks for a moment of standing on a rocky outcrop at the edge of a city watching its lights and the sky overhead, feeling the wind surge around me and feeling at peace.
Here in Victoria, one of the more curious Christmas traditions has got to be the annual truck parade. The local trucking industry gets together and has a parade of festively decorated trucks crawl along one of the main roads out of town to one of the suburbs where they are part of a charity event. Along the way, the drivers keep up an incessant honking of horns, mostly of the basso profundo variety, punctuated by the odd siren or two.
Tonight, my after dinner walk started with a close encounter with a raccoon, who quickly shimmied up a tree to stare at me eye to eye. Interspecies communication is perplexing sometimes, as it was tonight, so I rambled on. Soon enough the silence was broken by the distant cacophony of the trucks. The noise the horns produce can be described as charmingly obnoxious, kind of annoying but at the same time endearing, in a folksy kind of way.
Like most of the northern hemisphere we are experiencing cold weather but tonight the clear skies more than made up for the frosty temperature. The night sky was absolutely stunning, considering that the hill rests at the edge of a modestly sized provincial capitol. Tonight the stars shone bright against the void, only slightly dimmed by a not quite quarter moon and the carpet of lights that defines the urban environment. Hilltop views at night are awesome wherever you are. Here on the edge of the Pacific Ocean we also have the benefit of having some of the cleanest air on the planet, which adds to the overall experience. I digress.
So I was at one of my favourite vantage points, staring out past the lights of the city, looking over the horizon to people I care about and places I love and places I’ve never seen, looking up at the sky at a swirl of starlight and I pondered the antiquity of each twinkle. All the while the truck drivers pounded their horns, blasting random bursts of sonic energy or leaning on a note like a tightfisted preacher.
It was sort of annoying and distracting but I tried to let it roll through me and over me. I looked into the archive of creation, the distant stars and galaxies and whatever lies beyond and the honking of the horns prompted me to understand that all those distant lights from long ago must have been accompanied by epic noise. Those tiny lights all represent enormous explosions of energy and matter and somewhere those sounds still reverberate. At that moment I was able to transcend my annoyance with the intrusion of honking horns by using them as proxies for the symphony that accompanied the creation of those distant lights. For a moment, a brief moment, I heard the music of the spheres.