Arles / 2018

From A Plea for Eros

My father once asked me where ‘Yonder’ was. I said I thought yonder was another word for there. He smiled and said, “No, yonder is between here and there.” This little story has stayed with me for years as an example for linguistic magic: It identified a new space - a middle region that was neither here nor there - a place that simply did not exist for me until it was given a name. During my father’s brief explanation of the word yonder, and every time I’ve thought of it since, a landscape appears in my mind: I am standing at the crest of a small hill looking down into an open valley where there is a single tree, and beyond it lies the horizon defined by a series of low mountains or hills. This dull but serviceable image returns when I think of yonder. In linguistic terms you can never really find yourself in yonder. Once you arrive at the yonder tree it becomes here and recedes forever into the imaginary horizon.