March 2010

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Cold! Deep cold, satisfying somehow the knowledge that today was colder than ever. A kind of toughness, death-defying we reside here in the North, colder than the freezers which preserve fleshes, that are frozen hard. In it, we wander, dressed in the coats of ducks and geese whose feathers insulate us and reflect the heat of our souls and spirits.

Cold! Cars stuck in the depth of their own oil turned to gunk, impossible to turn through. Some, starting, spew out mountains of smoke and steam and grotesqueries rising to meet the brilliant morning sun whose light has no heat. That light, low-angled, reflecting off the glass of buildings reflecting other buildings which have shells of stone, absorbing light and the life of the city.

The sounds…all is muffled-seeming. The crunch of snow upon walking almost crackling. The tik-clack, tik-clack of a truck carrying a motor to turn-over stalled cars, penetrating both silence and the sense that all should be hushed, turns on high, machine-gun-like to send the burst of voltage to a cold tired battery, unable, unwilling to turn starter motors through oil turned to gunk.

No go!

She wondered about me, about the side of my personality which seemed sensitive; rare, she said, in persons who had “so much going for them.”

“Hum-m-m?” Are there really two sides of my being? Is one the more…real, the other some reflex or reflection?

Am I truly scared, fragile, but cover this up with the spit and polish of old shoes made to look good? Am I truly two, my being a wavering marriage between the one who is strong and the one who appears?

I told her that my life had many humbling aspects, earlier and still, wondering at the same time how things would go in the future, like the possibility of sickness in myself or family or friends; that I would be captivated by my own desires trailing me into some land of never-ever; that I would lose grounding, or be ground-down by the flailing forces of power within which I was another mere cipher.

Maybe, I thought, I love action, and suffering in a firm and graspable present, a way of being which is gripping. Maybe, I thought, I love suffering, and will go to any lengths to pursue its possibilities.

More, I guess, I too have difficulty finding and retaining meaning in my life, and have learnt to search in all the directions which experience and imagination show me, hoping to do well, fearing that it may all go badly.

Sitting here, casting far and wide, searching my innermost mind’s word-generation centers, translated into scratches upon paper – it seems difficult to believe that I often lack words.

Not usually in mornings, but often after a long day’s interactions in intensity, trying to relate the day to spouse or friends or even to myself…I seem to have no words.

Now trying to recall the sense of being word-bereft, I sit here fairly confident, a large orange pen in hand, dictionaries and thesauruses in the next room waiting just in case I need a word.

I am full to brimming with the ordinary, the range of words searching not for words, but for just the right word, the perfect word, that word which says it all.

At other times, though, too intense, too many scenes and persons and interpretations, understandings – feelings flash in and out of mind’s eyes and ears, not stopping to say more than a brief, “Hello,” I cannot seem to find hardly any words at all.

Lacking words, I could not write…and do not try at those times when, lacking words, I have not much to say, nor any way to try.

A set of other characters emerge in hard times, in down times. Some adjust, and do, and wait. Some fight: old battles in new wars. Others over-see; and some reform.

Reform! Re-form? To truly re-form: my mind’s pre-occupation, requires a sense and knowledge and good will and strength and timing… and… and…What is to re-form: to take some image of what there is and how it worked – once – and alter the structure in order to preserve the image? And, to hope that it will work, once more. Will it work – to re-form?  Is that image of the structure which once worked, does that image really depict the form which is to be altered, or was it some story which was good enough to account… as long as it was working?

To re-form is to avoid re-thinking, to place faith in that past when things went right. To re-form is to take the same knights and centurions – now grown old – to grant them some discipleship, some belief still in their own powers, and to send them out on new day’s dawning to assert that it is a new day. Are they convinced? And, we?