Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus who, because he could not grasp the tormenting mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life and this is the key to it all.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Loomings (Chapter I)
I’m staring at a plastic jug, firmly capped, but resting itself on my couch. It is filled with some unfathomable liquid, primordial ooze or sewage back up, something along these lines. My mind races. How did this appear, so dry and neatly capped with a lid that reads “Organic!”? And how did it appear here, on my couch, of all places? The three are summoned. The faces of these three, not my reflection as in a pool, though there may be some narcissism which, no doubt, drowns some part of me at times. I scrutinize them wondering are they my own tabula rosa, or in Grotowski’s terms, my “via negativa”–not a collection of skills, but an eradication of blocks. There is, after all, something in me which blocks my giving a jug of sewage kindly repose upon my couch.
“What is that?” My voice fall on a pause of exchanged glances, and it is she who confesses. “It’s water from the plastic pool. . .in the backyard” (she adds this last part–over pronunciated– the implicated “duh”.) The statement is dismissive and illustrated as such by the way she turns her small back and skips off as if this has answered all questions, but still I stand and wonder, because really, the questions are all still there.