Love is a wildness that has been falsely domesticated.
I thought of the bypass patient’s chest being closed, the message being: You can’t see this wild place again, you can’t witness this beauty. But the moon was hidden in there, and the sun, and neither of these would rise or set, and the birds that flew up out of it were planets and constellations because the chest was really an aviary, too full of fluttering, and when it was closed no avian life would be seen again.
The thoracic cavity must have been the place where human music began, the first rhythm was the beat of the heart, and after that initial thump, waltzes and nocturnes, preludes and tangos rang out, straight through flesh and capillary, nerve ganglion and epidermal layer, resonating in sternum bone: it wasn’t light that created the world but sound. And the sewing up of the man’s chest was like the closing in of a house with a roof and walls: where would passion erupt? How could the spirit fly free?
Extract from Gretel Ehrlich’s ‘A Match to the Heart’ (Penguin 1994)
Photos from Cragside, Northumberland