Let’s imagine an elongated fleshy appendage. It should be greyish in colour and hence elude immediate association with a human body. Add to this the words soft and flexible, and a hair-like coverage. Now imagine it not in isolation but in connection with ground, it extends upward from a hole in sandy soil, curving slightly until it meets a much larger portion of a body covered in swathes of large feathers, from which two long avian legs protrude and reach back toward ground.
If this image is formed well enough in our minds by now, then it’s possible we can easily imagine what is missing from the picture, a head, seemingly obscured by the sand.
From all these parts we could then extrapolate a well worn turn of phrase attached to our established image: to bury one’s head in the sand. If we can then agree that this figure of speech is used to describe a wilful attempt by an apparently sentient being to deny specific dynamics in its immediate surrounds—especially those that signal danger—then I must say this would be an impulse I’ve given in to, on-n-off, for quite some time now.
Often though, I’ve found the impulse characteristically divergent from the phrase’s tired old insinuation—it’s apparently been around since Roman times. Instead of subservient silence, the posture has serviced in me another inclination altogether. The hole into which my proverbial head is plunged, has become an echo chamber reverberating frustrated screams!
It’s perhaps not very affirmative, this action, even if it does exorcise some frustrations that have been provoked by a feeling that I’m constantly persuaded, from whichever direction & / or whatever source, to react to forces I’ve struggled so often to deny!
But stay with me a little longer… If we’re to follow the head-in-sand thing, the sound would of course be muffled, and this is crucial.
I’ve not always evaded sharing my discontents, and they can boil to fever pitch. Don’t get me wrong // Anger is an Energy // and language is power, and hence it should be dismayed… by any means possible, or so I’ve often thought.
Thing is though, all this here relies on a few of things:
1) you’re willing to spend the time
piecing these words together
2) that my writing out the image functions well enough
3) we even share said phrase through the “common speeches” we’ve assumed.
Let’s continue regardless, with the word share in the back of our minds.
I’ve oft had the impression that my very personal impulses written—anybody’s ability to rant & rave openly
really—become atomized and navel-gazey, like grain ground too small between the giant millstones of History & Politics, lost to anecdote. “Share” has, for instance, been snatched up by the financializing cogs of those moving parts, even if it is that economy is written in its constitution.
In between screams, I’ve been turning a wary eye back to structure… back to the mill. As with any “myth-busting” enterprise, there is much conjecture concerning the origin of the allegory under observation here, but one thing remains, a proportion of violence resides in the motivation to project a linguistic supposition onto an unsuspecting, even oblivious, entity.
Let’s focus instead on the proportions that evade such violences, if indeed such a fraction exists: it could be argued that an attempt to identify with something that doesn’t immediately resemble oneself, is an effort to bridge the obvious gap. My somewhat split preoccupation—rather than split, let’s call it twin—with analogy and myth-busting here, could read as chained to the grist, but I want to acknowledge the fun I’m having in attempting to even bend this structure into words and images that undermine language’s service to forces I’ve so often tried to replace with inventions I’m more willing to subscribe to, all-the-while attempting practices that do them “justice.”
In lieu then, of battling at those old ramparts here & now, alone and on those terms, and aside from the fear that tackling this might still prompt another chilling ((((((O)))))), let’s return to our analogy… together.
Let’s go bury our heads in another desert.
Let’s go CAMPing!
One myth-busting effort, we’ll assume it’s well meaning, lends our original image to an observed practice, that ostriches swallow grit in aid of their
digestion—you’ll notice it’s the first time the bird’s name, in any language, has appeared—while another suggests ostriches have been gifted this reputation because their nests are effectively holes in the ground, & gestating eggs must be turned constantly under hot sun, a task done both by male and female versions of the bird. Each of these activities take up a lot of the birds’ time it seems.
Still another images the bird in question lying close to ground, with grey hairy neck and head also collapsed close to ground. This last observation comes closest to the figure-of-speech we’re looking at, the playing-dead posture that tricks a predator, but this one doesn’t at all suit the image we’ve inherited.
These practices of an ostrich can be translated in a few ways:
All of which can be easily anthropomorphised. But if we were to admit the broken-ness of our original linguistic supposition whilst maintaining the promise of “recognition,” let’s commit again to the CAMPing objective. Then, we could at least attempt a recognition of the broken-ness that brings our heads into contact with ground, one that gets them dirty.
What holes could we possibly dig and scream or sing into before another turn of phrase consumes our digging…?