I’ve never been there before but I know what it looks like.
Conceptual text in support of and response to Will Kendrick’s iPhone Residency, delivered via The iPhone Residency Twitter account.
How do you choose a keepsake?
How do you make that decision?
To say ‘This is it. This is the one. Nothing better sums up how I feel about it than this one thing.’
They’re landfill at best.
That’s a joke. There’s always more fill and there’s always more land. Some joke.
It stopped raining. And I lost my footing in reality.
The thing about water is it doesn’t look real, even when you’re firmly in reality. It doesn’t look real.
You sit by the river or the stream, or the ocean, and you wait for the repeat.
Looking for seams.
Waiting for the repeat.
The thing about keepsakes is the object is never the thing.
So you sit by the river.
Still waiting for the repeat.
Looking for seams.
Ready to start picking.
I hadn’t been able to tell whether it had been raining, but I knew it had stopped.
The Vikings called it The Blue Hour.
This is when I walk. Dawn and dusk. The blistering sun is my timepiece; the constant humidity its burn’s only balm.
History isn’t linear, like they tell you. It’s never been ‘one thing after another.’
History is layered. It’s laid down, and peeled back, and re-laid, and scraped, and paved over and lost and found and rewritten and re-enacted.
I know where I need to get to. I’ve never been there but I know what it looks like. I’ve been told by people that have read about it.
Morning, and the cool air feels ever so slightly moist. It catches in the throat.
Another shallow river. In pre-dawn’s half-light I saw something. And down there it’s green.
Walking again. The sun dips below the valley’s crest. I am alone.
Am I alone?
We put ideas between ourselves and nature. We distanced ourselves by naming everything.
Why name anything now? Why describe when doing is of the essence? Everything is shared, fought over, not so much debated as contested.
Yesterday, just as I was setting out at sunset, I thought I saw a figure moving high up on the ridge. And I wondered what might be up there.
Dark now. And I wait for something, anything to trigger my snare.
Certain things, actions, behaviours, call them what you want, they used to be off-limits, but now anything goes.
This place is beautiful. I’ve seen colours I didn’t know existed; waterfalls so high they’re filtered through clouds
Silence. It’s a silence like no human has heard for a hundred thousand years.
As I bottomed out at the head of the valley I knew that this would be where I’d find what I’d been searching for.
Until now the landscape had been static as I moved across its surface. Today I noticed it shifting. An arrhythmic madrigal singing my name.
From a far enough distance everything looks blue.
It’s all memory now. The ocean, brimming with life, plunderers crowding on whiteout cliff tops, the river, the waterfall. Still there.
I had never seen the mouth of a river that wasn’t industrialised. I had never heard of a river that hadn’t been dammed.
Where had I been? Somewhere beyond the physical? Was I dreaming myself into reality?
As night fell I pushed on. The sound of the waterfall had become a constant, but where it was coming from seemed to change daily.
I’d managed to gather enough materials to fashion the equipment I knew I’d need over the winter.
The blue dipped into inky black. And the sky danced above me. I set down around midnight, and brewed up.
And before dawn I could hear birds. Birds meant food, but not necessarily here. Birds meant predators, but not necessarily mine.
The sun appeared to be swimming to shore, riding the crest of the gentlest of waves as they lapped at my catch.
I had filled my belly for the first time in weeks, maybe months.
I’ve been thinking for a while about building a sailing vessel. Now I’m not sure I need one.
I left the ruins behind. People wanted to start again, not rebuild but build a civilisation from scratch. We all know how that ends.
When I left them at the city walls I looked back once and they’d already closed the gates and gone. Up in the lookout I was being watched.
That was a year ago, and I’ve seen no-one. If there is life inside the old cities it never leaves.
Wait for sunset now. Building a shelter tomorrow. Temporary as always. No walking tonight. No walking tomorrow night. This is it. I’m here.