Pays au dela

"As to the natural parts I have, of which this is the essay, I find them to bow under the burden; my fancy and judgment do but grope in the dark, tripping and stumbling [wobbling] in the way, and when I have gone as far as I can, I am in no degree satisfied; I discover still a new and greater extent of land before me, with a troubled and imperfect sight and wrapped up in clouds, that I am not able to penetrate." Montaigne-"On the Education of Children"

My domain name, "Pais au dela," is the original French translated here as "extent of land before me." My goal for this page will be to explore, in an ambling way at times, the great land before me hoping to find clarity as I advance. I will focus centrally though not exclusively on mental health issues in my stumbling march forward.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Seeping lava oozing and solidity of the surface beginning to dry and harden into place. Several billion years of earth always shifting. A life. An eye blink.  A single instant of stillness. A snap shot a mere 80 years wide. Permanent light written onto silver bromide plates objectively captures the whole picture. Ca a été. Motionless and complete. Save the blurry splotch down at the bottom. And the unnamed forms halfway jutting into the upper left corner. A half road towards virgin forests unexplored? What lies just beyond the frame? A life that could have been? A cosmic finger slipped accidentally in front of the lens? The angle of the shot, some say, makes all the difference.

A river centuries deep cuts the banks steadily migrating several feet to the left over 20 years, steady drift that never arrives. Unnoticeable change finite and constant where billions of years ago a dry colossal mass of rock and dust hover in space and time. A hot loud bang diced the rock. Jagged, two parts slipped to either side of a miniscule fissure, at first imperceptible, separating what heavens vault had originally cracked.  

Time passes. With cartoon like fluidity, the fissure yawns apart. Two sublime and daunting stones repel each other and float divided by emptiness out further and further towards opposite ends of existence. Slowly the momentum dwindles and eventually comes to a full stop. The rocks spin wildly in place, out of synch, unguided, heads flipping and rotating, pointing sometimes up or down or backwards, momentarily towards and then back away from each other. A blade of grass dwarfed by light years sprouts from nothing. Faint sounds of water trickle intermittently.

The rocks are still and nearly aligned, several inches closer to each other maybe, but on this scale, it’s hard to tell. The blade of grass lengthens and several others appear. Sounds grow louder, some indistinguishable, potential signs of animated life or simply expanded notes of the mineral stream passing. The rocks are closer—it is clear—and moving again, slowly accelerating back towards their starting place. Several drops develop scattered with large empty gaps between them. Elements on mismatched scales are converging, negotiating the steps of coherence. Drops expand into puddles their blurry edges filling up the blanks between them, and pushed by the force of approaching stone, puddles find each other and flow together. Things are moving fast now. Lush vegetation bursting open. Rocks lengthening and flattening. Distinct rustlings in the brush. A steady rush of water audible as the stream shades in a final remaining hole at its center.   

The edges of land and river are close. Water spills outward in all directions, an uneven ameba-like advance searching for a barrier. A first foot splashes aground and fills up the stone's outer contours. Then another upstream, and another and another. All along the shore where water touches rock, the flow recedes back towards the river’s center, spinning as it retreats coloring in the last remaining gaps to form unbroken contiguous banks fixed and reestablished back where we know them.