Out of the Grey
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B2-bomber , Stealth Bomber. They just sprung up from nowhere. The Greys made the stealth bomber. I got abducted by the greys and they stole my sperm. The Greys are from Atlantis. That nigga , ain't no need for an explanation, simply that nigga.
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Grey is that nigga. A special sweet friend who will find happiness and contentedness with friends he's known forever. Though those around him may push him in different directions to do what they want, he will eventually do what he wants, which is to lead a simple, quiet life. A Grey usually has friends for life and since childhood. He takes no sides and is loyal to himself and his ideas alone. I've known that Grey forever! Grey is a word to describe a man who is kind, romantic, fun to be with, a fierce protector and southern gentleman.
Wow , that Grey is a fine man! Grey's unknown. Short for the TV show Grey's Anatomy'. Milkshake Duck Being a Towel In any case, Arthur's essays reveal a rarefied and rare, if not unique intelligence, and this selection from Blackstaff Press is a cause for congratulation and celebration. He recently returned to Ireland from Canada and is a visiting senior research fellow at Queen's University, Belfast and resident in Portaferry, Co. On her right, the familiar redbrick of the house.
A tall hawthorn hedge, neatly clipped, still standing to her left. Ahead, the same copper beech tree that has grown in that spot for almost a century now. But this would give the first indication of difference, for the copper beech she used to see from her swing was only eight feet high. Now it's close to eighty. If she turned round she'd see the plum trees she ate fruit from every summer of her childhood, always careful to avoid the wasps that burrowed their way into the ripest plums, devouring them from inside, a buzzing, easily provoked core, writhing black and yellow around the stone.
The plum trees are more gnarled, a little bigger, but still recognizably the same. Slow growers anyway and regularly pruned, they don't display the copper beech's dramatic index of time's passing.
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Despite some seeming constants, though, almost everything has changed. The house she knew as home is now inhabited by strangers. Beyond the copper beech, just out of sight of the swing, the five mature chestnut trees she knew so well have all been felled. Almost continuous traffic now roars past on the quiet road they once shaded.
Seventy years have passed since my mother sat on her swing in this secluded Irish garden, her firm, fifteen-year-old muscles pulling on the ropes.
Her then unmet husband is now already dead ten years; her unborn sons have grown children of their own. When I think of that moment now, the image that comes most forcefully to mind is of an empty swing. It's still gently in motion, suggesting that we've just missed someone, that they stepped out of the picture only moments ago. Though strong, this sense of presence is illusory. The swing has long gone. The apple tree it hung from was cut down years ago. Almost a life-time has passed from when my mother sat there as a girl, confidently swinging into womanhood.
Her muscles are now frail and wasted. The energetic arcs as she pulled herself high on the swing are a world away from the old woman who can't pull herself out of a chair unaided. Had the swinging girl been able to see her future self, she would have been shocked and disbelieving. Looking back, my mother laments her loss of youth and raw, animal vitality. She has reached the nadir of life's swing. Movement that was once so fluid, so easy, has become slow, laboured, filled with pain and discomfort.
Now "decrepit" is the word my mother chooses to describe herself. She pronounces it with angry disgust and a ghost of the surprise her earlier self would have felt had she been able to glimpse the future; it's as if she still can't quite believe how age and infirmity have overtaken her.
Despite her decrepitude, though, the seed she sows by telling me about this vanished time has taken vigorous root in my imagination. Looking back, I can see her dappled with light as the sunshine falls upon her through the leaves.
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The weight of her body, and the backwards and forwards motion of the swing, send tremors through the tree that shake loose some apple blossom. The petals fall on her dark hair like prophetic snowflakes, studding it with the white it will one day turn. The sun is always shining in this limbo-land of the imagined past.
A voice has just sounded there, calling my mother inside for tea. The grassy path leading to the house shows soft indentations caused by her light tread. Released from the lithe pressure of her youthful body's running weight, the blades are slowly bending back to their original position. Soon the hypnotic pendulum of the empty swing will stop. The same iron laws that command bent grass blades back to upright rule that its motion must slow and return to stillness. This, for example, is how he defined the essay: 'A loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular or ordered composition.
Don't worry if you haven't heard of Arthur. Now that he's finally published on this side of the Atlantic, however, you have no excuse. I'll give just one example wildly oversimplified, but you can get the gist. Otoliths are milky white stones the size of a small pea in fish, crystalline grains of carbonate of lime in humans: either way they grow apparently out of nothing, accreting density over the course of life, always with the evolutionary aim of providing balance. The 32 million-year gap in time and space between fossil and the hand holding it might seem to hint at the miraculous.
So he thinks about his own death, and how one day he might be buried holding the fossil. It wouldn't be a symbol of hope. Ross Moore, Cuture NI the full review may be read here.
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This current volume is a selected collection, containing some of the same essays which were a joy to re-read and some ones that are new, or new to me. Arthur's is an uncommonly probing mind, one given to meditation. He has an eye for the emotional depth-charges that take one deeply into experiences of family, place and event What Arthur Arthur's is a well-stocked mind and his journeyings are full of electrical frissons, and gifts garnered along the winding paths. He may take his bearings from Ulster, and derive his sense of self and family from there, but he also moves confidently among the great religions of the world, and the minor ones too, and treats them with reverence if they enrich his understandings.
We move in heady arcs from Leakey's discovery of hominid footsteps in Tanzania, to the Buddha, to Norse Eddas, and Sir James Frazer, Virgil and back to a garden swing in Ulster in , when in Arthur's company we hear about mistletoe For literary readers, Arthur's love affair with language is infectious Hopefully the release of this new book may lead critics and readers to the discovery of Arthur's exceptional talent as an essayist Chris Arthur is a consummate philosopher His mastery regarding the literary complexities of the essay form surfaces in his intelligent and perceptive use of sources that are, at the same time, varied and deep; Arthur knows how to balance depth and fluidity in the text, and this makes the quality of his essays.
Family recollections frequently provide the 'pinhole of the familiar' from which Arthur begins to reflect There is wondering but no insistence here. His work may be trained on the personal and the past, but its messages are never confined to these coordinates.
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In his 'Foreword' to Words of the Grey Wind , John Wilson Foster succinctly conveys the orientation of Arthur's work: 'At the heart of the essays is a paradox: transcending the self is sought through a relentless examination of the life' xiv. Arthur's essays, then, aggregate the numinous and the everyday in explorations of the sources of the 'self'.
His vision may often be held by that which has been and gone, but which may have left barely perceptible watermarks on the minds of those who experienced its energies. If our versions of the past are contingent and skewed, then our present is founded on uncertainty and chance. But none of this depresses the value of life in Arthur's essayistic meditations, it merely reinforces his ecological inclination to view life, all life on earth, with humility and awe.
Reading his essays, we afford ourselves the time for sustained engagement with a subject. The convex mirror referred to in "Room, Empty," one of the new essays included in Words of the Grey Wind.