Entering The Web

Entry by: charlie

28th November 2014
There is book we have at home, my parents home, that I always love to look at. The frayed cotton cover has lost its title, but inside it is an art book with lavish colours. There is a painting by an Austrian artist of a spiral that I always spend time with. Lines of vivid blue and red revolve clockwise around a central square. I remember reading once that the painting was 'painted in the moment, or like a waking dream'. The artist would start by painting the blue square in the centre and slowly and methodically he would paint his spiral with two brushes. Imperfections would cause the line to wobble here and there, and the next adjacent line would adjust course to continue, and again and again until the finished paint was not a perfect spiral, but a series of 'lines of humanity'.

For planning Christmas in our household the various pressures and lobbies do change from year to year, work, children, illness, money; but the answer is always the same. A long drive followed by domesticity, tinsel and food, more driving, more of the same, and home to a cold house after a week. We grow older each time but we never stop, and quiet words with mothers and siblings glue it together. Quiet words and times in old rooms, with old books.

In the car, family asleep, in the dark my mind wanders reaching for meaning and patterns in the white lines and passing yellow street lamps. Spiders will first release a thread to the wind, and when it catches the game is afoot. Why did he leave us all those years ago? I am driving on the scaffolding of others, the silken star my mother worked so hard for. Starting in the center and like a good boy I go round and round.

When we arrive it is all quiet and the key is on the hook where it has hung for twenty years. Sleeping children are hurried across crisp gravel, and it is quiet outside this old house. Inside my book is still there. It falls open and I trace the lines. If I count the revolutions will I find out how many years I have left? What will happen at the end, when the web is complete? Every year we lay down new evidence, to be encountered on the next time round, birthday, Easter, birthday, birthday, Christmas again.

The winter morning is glistening and silver, coffee, eggs, toast. Relaxed and happy right now, my mother is cooking. There are smiles. The lines of humanity.