The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.
During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me.
If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood."
Nicole Krauss, The History of Love (via commovente)
"We read, we travel, we become."
Derek Walcott, from “The Prodigal” (via may-hew)
"When you’re young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time in your hands, tossing it away. You’re your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too — leave them behind. You don’t yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.
Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you’ve been."
Margaret Atwood (via lesfantomes)
"But I think it’s intoxicating when somebody is so unapologetically who they are."
Don Cheadle (via freshgypsy)
"Let us toast to to escapism - to rain on the roof, and instant coffee. To unemployment insurance and library cards. To absinthe and good-hearted landlords. To music and warm bodies and contraceptives; and to the “good life”, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be."
Hunter S. Thompson (via mrsbukowski)
"It’s not that I can’t fall in love. It’s really that I can’t help falling in love with too many things all at once So, you must understand why I can’t distinguish between what’s platonic and what isn’t, because it’s all too much and not enough at the same time."
Jack Kerouac (via skeletales)
"do you ever think about all the people who you might have fallen in love with if only you’d taken a different way home or stood a little longer in the bread aisle at the supermarket? all the people who might have been an integral part of your life but instead you’ll never know them. the unimaginable impact that our mundane choices have on our lives really gets to me. think of how many times i might have died if i’d made different choices. maybe i’d be homeless. maybe i’d be famous. maybe i’d be rich. sometimes i’m so overwhelmed by the impact of my choices that i can’t choose anything at all because i’m afraid today will be the day that i make the choice that changes everything."
"It was a marvelous night, the sort of night one only experiences when one is young. The sky was so bright, and there were so many stars that, gazing upward, one couldn’t help wondering how so many whimsical, wicked people could live under such a sky."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights (via lavenderbones)
"I loved you at your darkest."