Tuesday, 11 September 2007


not long before the swedish excursion T was asking me about the attraction of kite flying. perhaps because for T it's less exciting than felting! true, there is an excitement about getting dragged along on my board and there's always that will i/won't i fear of falling but on this occasion, and i guess partly because i'm supposed to be painting a picture for my sister that deals in some way with air, i spoke about it in terms in having a conversation with the atmosphere, feel the winds, the texture of the air. of course,in recollection, bachelard, as so often these days comes to mind and i realise that in the description i'm immediately in the realm of metaphor and that a kite on a beach in scotland steeps me in coastal poetics (kenneth white'd be proud!), these thin lines connecting me to the experience like language, anchors into that particular moment.

i'm thinking about this on the plane home. out the window we're looking, the sun's going down, the lakes are reflected way below. we see the curvature of the earth. or do we? how do we know it's curved? at an intellectual level at the very least i can 'see'/prove the curvature of the earth but here, thousands of feet up, marked by the linearity of the aircraft's wing this curve is more poetic than mathematic. would, i wonder, a person from the days of flat earth, see the curve if in a similar position, or would it be just the horizon, the end of the world?

which gets me to thinking about the pilots, who must see this sort of thing day in and day out. what do they think these people? do they take time to notice? or, as is probably more likely, are they mired in routine, to timetables, or like the cabin crew obligated only to see to the needs of the passengers crowded into their seats like cattle? from my own limited experience of pilots i fear it's probably so, or even that their language may be so rigid so locked into their behaviour hat they're unable to express what they see outside of their own discourse group. the only fictional account of flying that seemed to avoid this (aside from the odd moment in the seemingly bottomless pit of military books) is daniele del giudice's Take-Off which, while acknowledging the language of the aircraft, at the same time lifts (sic) it into the area of the human

anyway, i still have just over 24 hours before a return to work so i'm off to the beach (and alasdair reid territory) to fly my kite. naturally, given the thrawn nature of the scottish weather and my wind battered cycle of yesterday, it's only to be expected that today there's hardly a breath

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