Lost & Found – Everyday Strange

It’s four o’clock in the morning, and your half-awake/half-asleep brain is doing graceful dolphin leaps into uncharted waters. There are crazy unthought-of worlds unfolding all around you. There are mermaids singing somewhere beneath the eiderdown and luminous fish fin their way through the early morning aquarium light.

Unable to remain beneath the surface of your dreams, you step out onto the shore of bedroom shag. You stumble and creak your way downstairs to make yourself a pot of coffee, black as an assassin’s robes, black as hundred year old hashish, and black as the cat that rode as a stow away in the boiler room of the Titanic. You look out your kitchen window, and you are a newly minted child born into a strange and beautiful land. The rain slides down over the steamed-up glass, and the world outside is a ghost world of undecided shapes of everyday strange. It’s a primordial world, where everything is just coming into being. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like maybe a coyote is sitting at the bottom of your garden, eating roses one by one. Or maybe it’s just a black garbage bag caught on a bush. Is that a mini-van driving through the back lane? Or is it a procession of black-robed mummers carrying torches?

Some of the things that make life worth living are utterly strange. The ghost of Mrs. Urquhart who used to live in this house appears for a moment on the upstairs landing. The record player turns itself on, and candles self-ignite. The telephone rings, and a voice you half-recognize starts reciting Under Milkwood. A family of stilt-walkers arrives at your doorstep, asking if they can harvest cherries from your trees. An unidentified flying object (UFO) or an angel hangs bright as quicksilver over the neighbour’s garage.

Some of the things that make life worth living are the ordinary, the everyday. The bright yellow transistor radio offers up Ella Fitzgerald and the day’s weather. There is the smell of buttered toast and a wet dog. There is the taste of orange juice and vanilla yogurt with fat blackberries. The morning paper arrives at six fifteen. Standing on your doorstep and looking up, the clouds in the sky are croissants buttered by the golden sun. Going back to the bedroom to retrieve your eyeglasses, you kiss your sleeping wife on the nape of the neck, and breathe in slowly, slowly.

Outside your window, a beautiful silver shape rises noiselessly into the sky.