The man who walks through music

In a section of Mike Oldfield’s instrumental and voice album Amarok there is a man who walks through music, you can hear his footsteps as he walks down imagined shadowy vaulted halls. This music is the kind you paint with, woods, wars, adventures, mountains, sun rise, danger, triumph, exhilaration.

But there is other music too, music we close our eyes to, where the notes resonate against the frequency of our sorrow, love, joy, where the voice is a guide rope through a welcome black stillness. If there are those stereo speakers we stare at them and experience all voice, the man, or woman is encapsulated inside the speakers, disembodied but intact, the quality of sound, sentiment, melody being everything necessary.

The texture of silence

Silence has a texture, a soft gauze landing on the surface of things like a dust sheet. In its fabric is the interweave of the invisible waves, light, heat, radio that are travelling through and there are pinpricks of the barely audible, the leap of a solar flare, the fizzle of a star, the gurgle of core bound lava. Silence seems to travel, to move faster than the speed of light over some eternal meadow where we lie, unruffled, sinking into the evidence of everything.

Untrammeled joy

My 3yo and his baby cousin playing happily alongside each other with alphabet blocks. My son crawls alongside the baby to keep him company. They do the kitchen, hallway, living room circuit. They look at each other directly and with untrammeled joy, laugh out loud, delighting in each other and their game.

Zen and the head of General Grievous

In college years ago my Cognition lecturer told a story where he and his son walking on the mountain and his young son lost a chocolate bar while climbing. To illustrate the Zen Buddhist way of being, he said that he suggested that rather than search intensively for it, they ‘keep an eye open’ on the way down. The openness of their view was beneficial, they caught sight of the coloured wrapper among the grass and found the bar despite the wide area. I was thinking of this story as I walked up the path where my son lost a tiny head of his favourite Lego Star Wars figure on the way to school yesterday. My sons and daughter and I had made a rigourous search of the area a couple of times and a kind cyclist tried his hardest to help.

But it was this morning as walked up the road in the sunlight thinking of my teacher and his son’s lost bar, I caught sight of something on the road and bent to pick it up. Several metres from where it had been lost and on a busy road, I found the tiny head of General Grievous. It was a little miracle.

Tracking my agitation

On the school run, when my son falls and loses a part of a beloved toy, on the way to a meeting, in the queue in the post office I can feel a restlessness, a tap tapping that doesn’t manifest in outward signs but seems to propel and spin me anyway. The man in front of me at the post office queue is wired, sprung, defensive when the queue moves forward. I feel a hidden electric, dangerous, volatile. I sense my own agitation, witness it, let it be.


Pure honey on my breakfast table, the honeycomb still visible, the dark triumphant golden of the hexagonal walls, the structure that seems to breathe, to concertina, something that you could walk through. But I don’t walk through, I take the castle on my spoon it passes across my lips and tongue, down my throat, coating it with its rich benediction. I get the taste of luscious, luxuriant gold and its brown undertow, a hint of delicious sin.