I wish that I had known Virginia Woolf. The way she drifts beneath the waters of the Ouse River. Near Sussex, her pockets full of stones. I would have liked to hold her hand and smell her hair. That glorious mane of woman hair, strong and maternal. Safe. I would have liked to wrap my fingers in it, to tangle my body inside and around her own. In the waters, I get lost and wonder if I really want discovery. It would be lovely for the all of me to float away.
I am wind, but I should have been born water. Wind almost never makes a sound, except for when she’s angry. Water, though, she’s always carrying on with babbles. Little exclamations. Perhaps I would have had a stronger voice. Can things like this become transmitted through the womb? I want to blame my mother, as daughters do. I want some of it to be her fault. She should have spoken more fire into the womb-kiln; rubbed more vigor on my translucent baby skin.
It isn’t her fault though. Mother, can you hear me? It isn’t your fault.
When they pulled out Virginia Woolf, she must have been so beautiful. Translucent skin and river weeds. A long white dressing gown, gossamer against her legs. Have you ever seen a thing so lovely in all your life?
We women, how we carry all the burdens of our men. How a curse becomes a family secret, and how we stoke the fires. How we pretend and we protect. There is a mother out there, who loves a darling boy as mothers do. Who love their secrets, despite the cruel things that they’ve done. Poor little girl, and how she swirled away inside a bathtub.
Poor man, with his gun. Poor boy, with a rope. Poor uncle, with his grief. What am I to do with all this legacy of anger?
Virginia Woolf, in her suicide note, said that she was so afraid of being overcome by all her madness. Hearing voices yet again, she could not live through what she knew would come. Poor gentle little dove. I have never known a single thing as hard as being human.
There is a hike I often take, when I am feeling all the heaviness of life pour in. It leads down the back of a mountain, to a steady rush of quiet nature. If you can make it so far, and at the right time, it is often peaceful and uninhabited by others. The waters layer themselves across the face of earth. You can watch the pattern that they carve, and how they move across the landscape. Someone tells me that they cannot do this without the wind, but I am not so sure. I’ve never known the wind to be so strong.
But I’ve been wrong before, and so I’ll wait to see it out.
Wind by Christo Wolmarans