A moment in Munich

Posted Wed 19 Aug

Another story, from both then, and now.

The heat wasn’t as bad as I thought, the thought of me even being in a steam room was not one I would have entertained. But I was enjoying it. Despite everything. There was a menthol tinge to the dense steam, and with every passing moment I was becoming happier, euphoric even. Eyes closed, breathe slowly, nothing but the heat, the damp, the steam and the silence, broken only by the sound of water being poured onto the coals, or the slosh of the hose as someone snaked water down their back.

There is a vale which none hath seen,
Where foot of man has never been,
Such as here lives with toil and strife,
An anxious and a sinful life.

Can you imagine it? The wooden benches, the occasional snort, or wheeze, but mostly the aloneness of yourself with your senses. An atmosphere so tactile someone getting up to leave caused a tidal flow around the circular enclosure. The lights behind my closed eyes swirled, collided and helped me drift to the third stage, my thoughts expanding as my lungs did, my world collapsing as my lungs did, myself here, but nowhere.

There every virtue has its birth,
Ere it descends upon the earth,
And thither every deed returns,
Which in the generous bosom burns.

But overhearing snippets of conversation, and stretching memory in this limited environ, the time came to leave, and douse my body in fresh water, rinsing the sweat and impurities down the plug holes. But there was a choice. Several showerheads rained cooling water in differing patterns, at differeing rates, at differing places. There was one, however, that caught my eye. It was a shelf, set up ten, eleven, twelve foot up the tiled walls. No water fell from this outlet, and no one waited in line for it. It couldn’t be broken, German efficency wouldn’t allow for…and a sheet, a foot wide, of water cascaded down from the height, crashing with force on to the ground, only to finish a few seconds later. But even so, no one was paying any attention to it.

There love is warm, and youth is young,
And poetry is yet unsung.
For Virtue still adventures there,
And freely breathes her native air.

There have been few times when I have reached actual έκ-στασις. As I took my place beneath the unused shower, others below the standard showers were looking at me, some with amusement, some with awe, and some with unbridled horror. The anticipation I felt added to my inner peace, as the heat and dampness from the steam room still clung to me. The air above me changed, only slightly, and I knew, the instant before it hit me, that there was water wending its way down towards me. It hit, and hit hard. But the strength of the downpour was nothing to the temperature. To say it was icecold would be to do it a great disservice. As soon as it hit, the very instant it broke over my head, I lost all breath. I lost the ability to breathe, to think, to do anything other than recoil in shock. A mental recoil, not a physical one, as there were colours breaking inside my head, time meant nothing, and a joy I can still taste the edge of, for it etched a message on my very soul. How I stayed upright, I have no idea. There was chattering without, and when I did open my eyes, the others were looking at me now with something beyond actual horror.

And ever, if you hearken well,
You still may hear its vesper bell,
And tread of high-souled men go by,
Their thoughts conversing with the sky.

As well as the brief perception-altering experience, it physically changed me, for I haven’t had a warm shower since that time. Nothing as cold as that, certainly nothing to cause the shock I can still remember. Until tonight. For some reason, the coldest setting on our shower was colder than normal. Stepping forward under the spray, and finding it colder than I was expecting, caused me to again lose the ability to breathe, to chase the colours under my senses and leave where I was and connect. But this time, there was no break after two seconds, I was in control of the flow and time. But flow and time were too mixed up, too separate, too ephemeral to catch, so I was left to try and regulate my breathing, where there was no breathing. Pure έκ-στασις, pure not-me. (I said a few times, that would be the fifth, I would say, three not induced by myself, and two caused by myself.)

Rumors from an Aeolian Harp — Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

The loss of breathe was frightening and uplifting. An instant of unbridled happiness, nothing like I have had before, and impossible for me to describe properly. I tried, but it could well be subjective. And I attained it twice now, and will wait before I try to savour it again.

Leave the dark corners of the interweb alone. Go to the bright spots shone on by the Beautiful Ones

The BlackStar Diaspora

The wulf insists on text here...and I shall leave it at that.

People I know

I know people who didn't work at BlackStar, and they have weblogs too. These are they.

News, politics and paranoia

The State is not your friend


It is a well-known fact that the Stray Taoist (nee Toaster) isn't as internally consistent as he thinks he is. Welcome to his world.

Feeds: RSS | Atom