here and there


curiosity-mastcam-mosaic-yellowknife-bay-mars

POSTCARD #32 Delhi: 05.00 hrs. Power cut, lights out and the laptop screen darkens a little as it goes on battery. I can hear the generator outside starting up with a polite cough hmm-hmm, clearing its throat like a car engine throttle, then into the familiar, thud-thud-thud-thud…. This happens nearly every day, same old thing. Other generators in the neighbourhood start up too and in a short while it’s like a fleet of helicopters have landed. I can go on at the desk for a while, the internet is still connected because the router is on the backup line – but it is noisy. Go lie down on the sofa, try to absorb the sound rather than feel it’s disturbing… the acoustics of the room, the darkness is pleasing, watch the breath, and listen to the quality of this particular noise.

Thinking of Kiki, now on the ANA, Delhi/Japan flight. Kiki is the little black dog, a cocker spaniel, who stayed with us for a few days in June [Link]. She was here last night with her owners to say goodbye, then to the airport. It’s a 10 hour flight, so Kiki is still flying. She is out ‘there’ somewhere in the high-altitude darkness. I can ‘see’ Kiki in her doggie crate in the cargo hold, and the plane zooming along like a streak of light at 600 mph. I like to think of her facing the direction of travel; long spaniel ears flapping in the wind, hair ruffled and tail blowing around behind.

It’s as if it were a Skype call, the location is seen, hard to believe, but there’s a picture of it in the window. The environment of the aircraft is the same there as it is here; the air there is not much different from the air here. Okay, it may not be exactly as I’m seeing it in the mind’s eye, but how different could it be? The image seems so clear, maybe because it’s a bit unusual to think of a cute dog flying to Japan… it’s like she’s not far away at all. There’s the mmmmmm of engine sound, the ssssssss of cabin air pressure, and I’m in a house in New Delhi surrounded by the noise of thudding generators. Conscious experience is pretty much the same for me and Kiki at this moment, distance is the only difference. I can ‘see’ her small black shape, lying there quietly or maybe she gets up and turns around and lies down again, gets comfortable at 28,000 feet above the surface of the planet. I can picture it, she’s ‘there’… and she’s also here.

Reminds me of the Curiosity Rover landing on Mars in August, last year. And the world paused for a moment… where is this place that wasn’t there before, but I seem to have a consciousness of it now? Mars? Awareness goes off in search of this new location, natural human reaction, there’s an idea of something very distant; yes but also quite near. It is ‘here’ – in the same space of consciousness where we all ‘exist’. It’s somewhere in the known universe; in the sky obviously, and the mind looks for a way to incline towards that place, move in that direction. I can see a part of the sky through my window, in the early morning light, go over and have a look: Mars is out there somewhere. And I know Kiki is in the sky too – a very clear feeling, a kind of ‘seeing’.

Shortly after that all the lights come on at the same time; generators shut down, one by one. Power cut is over, back to normal. The silence seems close, as near as my face and a sense of great distance. Over ‘there’ is the same as right ‘here’, it’s all a oneness leading down from my door and out into the world as far as the eye can see.

kikiphoto2

Upper photo: Ancient freshwater lake on the surface of Mars – lettering removed with Photoshop clone tool [Source]
Lower photo: Kiki in Japan
Note: Excerpts included here from an earlier post: Landing on Mars

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