Recycling Metaphors, or Arranging the Shards Anew

Language is not a winter blanket. It must stretch for us to make it work. It isn’t large enough or long enough, no matter how I laud it, to bridge the gap. It doesn’t cover nose and toes at once. I’ve said as much before of individual words, tottering under the weight of many meanings. But it hit me again.

Minds are mesas in the desert; we live in canyon lands, apart from one another. We have few tools to leap those gaps– and the leaping itself is a stationary act: only our voices carry, gazelles, pole vaulters, bringing echoes and new voices back. I use metaphors because they are a tool. Like rocks. A stick and a shell can make a hammer; archaeologists find them in shell middens down the coast of Florida, remnants of the Calusa. I use them to hit ideas on the head. I use them like magnifying glasses roasting notions under sunlight until they start smoking.

The distance between mesas can be miles or years. Sometimes the pole is too short. I can’t leap the gap. I keep picking up tools, hoping to find the one to get to that flat topped mountain in the distance, to understand what you mean when you are speaking to me. Maybe we are too far apart, our experiences too foreign to make sense of each other’s tools.

Dear heart, there is no sender, no receiver. Nothing so neat as that. We are throwing every word we have into the void at once hoping something will come across, but we come back only with the feathers of misunderstanding. It’s nights like these that I could become a solipsist, if it weren’t for the cold stone in my palm of one final leap of faith: I believe there are others. I believe there are others. I believe there are others.

2 thoughts on “Recycling Metaphors, or Arranging the Shards Anew”

  1. I really loved the way you described gaps in the communication of two souls who do not understand each other. I especially enjoyed the phrase, “our experiences too foreign to make sense of each other's tools,” because after all metaphor is rooted in experience.


  2. Many thanks to you! 🙂

    Lately I've been very tired of the whole notion of interaction as “text” and have been trying on communication as a whole, not just metaphors, as a set of tools of the doing.

    Mmm, week-late comment replies.


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