the drift and dreaming

I finished reading Tove Jansson's The Summer Book last night. Wonderful book. I have lived on islands at different times of my life, so Tove's book tugged cheerfully at my memories, and I thought about how I could share some here.

And then it began to rain.

And I turned away unthinkingly from islands, found myself dreaming instead of mountains - small dark mountains haunted by an old sea. Because although I have lived on islands ... although islands have belonged to me ... I myself belong to the hills and the ghosts of a forested sea.

Some people don't believe in souls, but I do. And for a long time I have agreed with the idea that our bodies do not contain the soul, but that the soul contains the body. Last night, though, I began questioning that notion.

I thought of the dislocated people, the drifters and the exiles, the people who can not help but climb mountains or sail oceans, despite living always in the grey heart of cities. I wondered, does the soul have a location? Is it even one complete thing? Or does it naturally drift, going different ways, beautiful or strange places, travelling or lingering, dancing and singing, according to its dreaming?

Are our bodies perhaps an anchor from which our spirit roams? Through space, and also through time. I don't believe in reincarnation, but then I don't believe in linear time either. Perhaps the sense some people have of being reincarnated comes not from previous experiences of life, but from the soul's current experience - its wandering "back in time" to moments which resonate in harmony with its own song? Moments from our own lives, and from the lives of other people long ago. Maybe the soul goes visiting kindred spirits.

And leaves an echo of itself there for us to recognise in history books.

You may think I'm crazy, saying such things. But I grew up on a haunted island. I learned from a young age to skip over places in a path where, if you lay down your foot, you would lose a moment, or several minutes, or your watch would stop working. My island (the first of them) was a winter kind of place, compared with Tove's summertime rock. It offered a wisdom not of moss and ocean, but dust and darkness, silence and hidden water, memory inside wood. It required the asking of strange questions.

1 comment:

  1. I read that book many years ago (in Swedish) and absolutely adored it!

    Interesting ponderings on the body/sould connection. I don't have the need for an opinion I think, I'd just be guessing anyway. ;-)