Pish

2019-01-03 09.29.23.jpgMax is gazing through the eye of a squid. It is bright and soft with sea and also, now dead.  Max breathes in and treads through the smell and says: smell.  Then he says Pish. On the warm, white track through the sand dunes, he says: smell.  There is no breeze there, he holds both hands out in front of him as though touching a delicate curtain of salt, seaweed and heat.

Noah and Max stand at knee height and note details from complex hectares of information. There is nothing that does not add value to the hour and a caravan park yields an astonishing harvest. Once, a boat engine, unseen, coughed seawater from its throat. Once, a small girl rinsed a set of textas at the rain water tank, the cement turned briefly purple. There is a strange bird that bites the air sharply, causing a brief pause in life everywhere.  Once a monarch butterfly came into the tent and provoked anxiety. The air is full of taps and sunlight, hoses, glass bottles rattling empty melody in crates, tent pegs, buckets, low voices humming and humming, on the grass a lost child’s sandal with green tinsel tied to it. Max wanted the tinsel.

Each infant begins on a startled intake of breath, a raised hand pointing to eternity and an eye contact with anyone to ensure collaboration. It is possible sometimes to pull out a word. Once, a baby cried somewhere and Max said: cup. When their own baby (Finn) cried, Noah said: no.

But when sea water churns coldly through sand barriers and chokes up small legs and moves the entire surface of the earth sideways without stopping there are no words yet to fit over the blend of terror and radiance and hold it still.  They can only look at each other’s faces and read its diabolical intensity there.

Noah and Max unpack the entire tent

2018-01-12 12.34.59.jpgNoah and Max have so much to do. There is an entire landscape of camping supplies to process and record.

They are each making new maps, superior charts that include sound, shape,  heat and hunger.

Babies are master cartographers. No corner that is valuable will be missed. Nothing that is useless today need be included. The maps of babies are not cluttered with regret or objectives.

Instead they are inked with the tiny details of small details such as the pull of muscle against saucepan, the tight clang of enamel bowls and the wind under canvas. They both want the broom. They record the hands of each other,  sticky on the broom handle.  They blink at light through mesh.

Abruptly there is a new sound,  it is footsteps on gravel and the pace and weight of this noise has been recorded before.  This information has a high yield. It is Pa, passing by with fishing rods and both infants become still,  noting the intrusion,  mouths remain open and then he is gone.  They taste the retreat, process the loss and Max allows a short scream of rage.  Noah maps Max’s scream of rage.

Then they press faces against the mesh windows again,  snuffle at sunlight and heat, sand and dry grass, three seagulls and the sea in the distance and somebody filling a bucket with water. A plastic cup is breezed off the table.  They stare at the cup rolling on the ground.

Suddenly there is no more information they can contain, the maps are full. They reject every new voice and ward off every new idea. They hurl strawberries to the ground and tie their distress to their parents with loud and elaborate knots. For the next few hours they can only be towed.