Monday, August 30, 2010

Vin Aigre

August is making one of its signature last stands: bright, hot, in-your-face summertime. It's picked the Clairol shelves clean of Midsummer Green and is thinking of buying a motorcycle, or at least a leather motorcycle jacket. But it hasn't convinced me. Evening comes early, and the cricket song's at the andante that precedes largo. The DCR landscape crews have once again rampaged through and reduced the riverside meadow to playing-field lawn, and ravaged most of the cultivars by the bike path, leaving knotweed and discarded drinks cups and bottles to have their way with everything.

The end is near, folks. And you know what that means.

There is a point where existential emergency becomes chronic disease. Summon the surgeon !

Just as there is no island midriver, there is no Via Media between form and emptiness. Sink or swim.

The Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans of yesteryear has gone into hiding

and the cantor is singing showtunes with a fetching, light vibrato.

At the passing of the peace she recoiled from my hand as from a devil's hoof. (Nothing can mask the stench of sulfur.)

It's the noonday demon, sun snaking straight through the roof. Sweat, somnolence, siesta, sleeping sickness -- no quantity of diet coke and ice cubes can ward it off.

And yet. And yet.

Let's reprise our perpetual vacation book, Moby Dick, and turn to Chapter 87, "The Grand Armada," in which our young hero, Ishmael,

his whaling skiff trapped at the placid center of a circle of tumultuously rioting Leviathans, peers down into the water and sees a paradise of cows and calves.

And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yes, serenely revelled in dalliance and delight. But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve round me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy.

The end is near ?

Centrally disport in mute calm.


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