Tuesday, May 15, 2012 17:10 PST, Willits, California
While I sat outside in my patched up pavilion and played a rough version of “Ben m’an perdut…” by Bernart de Ventadorn (PC 70,12 G fol. 14) on the guitar and tried to remember all of the words (my Old Occitan isn’t what it used to be, and it never was), I felt him there. So I said, in a friendly offhand way, as thought it happens all the time, “Ventadorn! This is your kind of day, isn’t it? I mean aside from the trucks.”
Did a breeze kick up or did he say something? It sounded like a wind from a long time ago. Since he arrived during the melody, well, that is, I perceived his presence during the melody, just the guitar by itself, I started playing again. A White Freightliner pulling two trailer loads of 90 pound concrete bags went by and drowned me out. I fumbled and felt him recede and he was gone.
There are several possible explanations for what could have been going on. In fact, there are so many that I don’t even know about all of them. There are probably explanations that have’t even been thought of yet by anybody at all, or that don’t even exist yet (or at all or ever will). I’m not saying any of them needs to be true or correct, but they do need to be explanations. My first thought was that he left because he didn’t like my playing. But it seems he came because of my playing. A young woman walked out of her house and sat on a chair on her front porch and lit a cigarette. She’s wearing sunglasses and very short shorts and skimpy top. It seems as though she is looking directly at me, but I doubt it.
Or maybe Ventadorn wasn’t really there at all. I know that’s what you think. It’s ok, I’ve known Tibetans who said that the first time someone told them about a wrist watch they thought they were being told that which is not true, as the Houyhnhnms put it. But it is possible that he was’t there. She’s walking up and down now. I mean, the entire thing could just have been my imagination. She sat back down and seems to be staring at me. But even if he was imaginary, does that mean he wasn’t real? Let’s face it, it’s been pretty well demonstrated in several cultures now that there is no actual referent for the words we use. Now she went back into the house. Not to mention the differences among languages. That no matter how precise you are, it’s still very low resolution, like Galilleo’s telescope looking at GN-108036. But we take it to be exclusive, “Nope. Can’t see it in my telescope. It doesn’t exist.”
How do I know whether or not the Ventadorn I sensed would feel pain if you cut him? What a question. I don’t even know whether you would feel pain if you cut you. For that matter, it’s possible that I just tell myself a funny story about how much it hurts me to be cut and that there isn’t actually anyone there to be hurt anyway. Oh, I see, you’re playing the odds. Ok. Pascal and all that. But wait. You’re saying that only empirically demonstrable things exist and that’s going with the odds? Hmmmm….
In any case, I was playing his song and singing his poem and I felt him. Yes. He was definitely there. No doubt about it. I felt him. He was there. But there are other explanations, of course.