July 14th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

Reading

Rather than spend the entire night struggling with a recalcitrant machine, or dull my senses before a flickering tube, I have turned the hushed pages which emit no literal light, but merely reflect what is cast upon them. Metaphorically, too, they reveal no more than has been brought to them, in potentia. For some, I know, all books might as well be in some unknown language. For me, it is only some. I find that I read as much to find out what is in me, as I do to find what is in the book. When I discover an understanding of something new, I'm as happy as a dog who has been rewarded for mastering a new trick. If I had a tail, it would wag.

Equally enjoyable is to stumble across something that I knew I knew, but hadn't thought of for a long time. But, whatever its outcome, the ritual itself is pleasurable. I enjoy the deeper quiet which ensues while I'm reading something from a printed page in the quiet hours of the night. Outside, the full moon glides by, illuminating the television aerials up and down the dead block. Their glowing shapes are like meaningless hieroglyphs, or like talismans of some sort -- hex signs to ward off the unpleasant truth that all cannot be known, perhaps. The air must be abuzz with the invisible signals, while the dark screens in the dark rooms below wait to be activated and receive the babble which now envelopes the world in a shroud of signals. In my room, the pages turn with that urgent, familiar whisper so reminiscent of fluttering leaves. All through the night, I have turned them one by one, finding bits of myself revealed on each new leaf.

Here is something I have long enjoyed, but had forgotten, and which seems appropriate to the times:

Matthew VIII, 28 ff.

by Richard Wilbur


Rabbi, we Gadarenes
Are not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.
Love, as you call it, we obviate by means
Of the planned release of aggressions.

We have deep faith in prosperity.
Soon, it is hoped, we will reach out full potential.
In the light of our gross product, the practice of charity
Is palpably inessential.

It is true that we go insane;
That for no good reason we are possessed by devils;
That we suffer, despite the amenities which obtain
At all but the lowest levels.

We shall not, however, resign
Our trust in the high-heaped table and the full trough.
If you cannot cure us without destroying our swine,
We had rather you shoved off.



caillebotte_man at his window

Brain Damage

Earlier, I felt the beginnings of a headache around my right eye. I haven't had one of those in a long time. They used to last three or four days, and were excruciating. So, this afternoon I had to to make the room dark and lie very still for a while, as that is the only thing I know of that has any chance of staving off such a headache. I was afraid I'd be unable to use the air conditioning, (as it aggravates these headaches), thus rendering Sluggo non compos mentis for the day.( It has gone above 90o again today.) Fortunately, the darkness and quiet worked, though I do still feel a bit queasy. So, I'm cooling. Oh, the electric bill is going to be so high! Something really ought to be done about summer. I'm thinking of a big fog machine!
caillebotte_the balcony

Oh, Deer.

I forgot to mention that deer visited last night. I went out just after midnight, and heard their hooves on the pavement across the street, where the shadows of the pines were falling. The deer were headed back down the street toward the orchard. This afternoon, I saw that the pansy bed along the driveway had been stripped of most of its flowers, and the soft earth was marked with hoofprints. Had I gone out a bit earlier, I might have gotten a good look at them, as the moon was full. I'm sure they'll be showing up more frequently, now that the summer is beginning to dry the plants in the forest. This is the time the deer begin venturing into town in search of irrigated delicacies. But it is seldom that I get the chance to see them when the moon if bright. Maybe next month.