A Mind of One’s Own

A road unravels with lashings of dust, trees rise up, fringing the narrow fields of wheat and rapeseed. Cornflowers and poppies pop up in a splash. I appear to fall into place, swoop, unscathed but startled. A light wind ruffles the sun baked grasses but stillness pervades. It is a corner of childhood memory (so a little sentimental) that my mind always reverts to in blank moments, free of focused thoughts.

It seems to be a default setting. A myriad of places flash through; I soar above the everyday landscapes, dream up being in Chile or Siberia, picking the weather accordingly to fit my moods. I run the familiar trails of Ashton Court, the same ones where many a time I stomped out my frustration and anger, and likewise, the ones that carried me effortlessly on good days. Then there are the unknown open spaces, with miscellaneous images peppered around as in Dalí’s paintings. Or I simply trace the uphill path to university, but it is the dusty road that reins me back in. It feels safe and warm.

The forest curves in, encasing the gilt fields with a simple pattern, the single line slicing through it, dust taken for glitter from afar. It would make a fine broach. The more intently I think about the landscape the more it shifts; I slide the sky and reveal a navy curtain lit up with stars emulously streaking the single path below. The parallels effuse, meeting in mid-air, melting into a luminous stream, and the forest background marbles into undefined streaks of greenery. My mind thus morphs the original memory but I invariably find it is intact upon return.

Do other people have a default place, a home of mind, or is everyone on the road or in the dark? Often, the image proves more tangible than generated thoughts. Perhaps this is because it is a real place and not an abstract wisp of consciousness. Is this an idiosyncratic pleasure, to have a place that I can call home even somewhere as unpredictable, vulnerable and vast as one’s mind?

I consulted my mum on the matter. “I do have a place like that. It is always the same one, the room overlooking the road in grandma’s house” (or so it would sound if it was in English). The said road is my trusty road. There is no extraordinary spiritual value to this connection, but it is a sweet link nonetheless. When asked, people seem puzzled and the response is usually a simple ‘no’; they just think. Once someone said “I think in numbers”, and I could not help imagining their brain was like a computer interface, complete with Matrix visuals of green data falling continuously against a black backdrop.

Mapping out places provides a solid plan of the trajectory of thoughts, especially if they teeter (as mine do). No rapeseed captured as it is a narrow snippet, but the photo shows the said place I dwell on/in so often.

Alex

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