Tuesday, 24 May 2011
From a photograph by Kris Reichl.
At four years old he doesn't possess the words to tell himself what he is seeing, he is old enough to know that no one he knows can see what he sees.
Sitting alone, away from the fire, he watches the old man playing violin. He can see the essence of the man, the bones and heart of him. The boy's dark eyes can see the internal structure of the violin, how the timber and shape conspire to create beautiful sound, he knows that once he gains the manual dexterity of an adult he will be able to build the perfect violin.
That's not all he sees. As he stares at the fire he can see his own life, to the point of his death.
For two years now, since the first time he touched a woman's belly and said, "baby", women from all over have been brought to him to discern pregnancy. He has learned to create a performance, lay on hands and hum to himself so everyone feels comfortable, but he can see it, feel it the first time he lays eyes on the woman. He knows that in the future he will have to hide this and every other vision he possesses, pretend to grow out of this magic state. People will adore a child with such skills but an adult with such skills would be distrusted to the point of murder.
He already knows that he will live a solitary life, that the only way he will be able to express the essence he sees will be through music. He will travel and play violin, the way he plays will enchant and disturb people, his talent will be welcome, his essential truth less so. He will teach those who come to him, try and try to give his gift to the few who will understand.
Eventually he will retire to a workshop and build violins. His violins will contain everything he has seen, everything he knows. His instruments being played around the world will, for a moment, connect people to something they don't understand.
The boy stares at the fire, then at the old man playing violin. At four years old he already knows that the path of a holy man won't be easy, that it will take millions like him over millions of years to leave behind enough beauty for everyone to begin to understand.