Saturday, June 25, 2011


The atmospherics were perfect, cool, still, cloudy. I'd just found my blue slicker so I was ready for rain should it arrive. It has been raining for days, chill damp rain that makes me grateful for a reprieve before the bright, hot summer sets in. Today I woke to thunder and downpours, but they had stopped and the weeds were calling me.

I drove up Prospect Hill, an old ski and woodland oasis in the middle of the city. I parked my car between the two massive, concrete water cisterns and set out down my favorite path, the one between two old, dilapidating and graffitoed cinder-block ski huts that would serve nicely as hermitages. The crown vetch and tower mustards had gone crazy, and a reliable patch of spiderwort was blooming, but drooping with the morning's rain.

White moths fluttered around a surprising proliferation of Viper's Bugloss, mustards were busy going to seed and all sorts of clovers were blooming. I was happy to be alone -- but was I ? Bees and moths, ants and wasps, beetles and flies were everywhere. I felt a shiver of companionability. Weeds, bugs, humans -- swarms of us, here for our allotted time, then not.

Earlier in the day I had scanned a blog entry by a priest. He was going on, as they they tend to do, about fellowship, congregating, the virtues of "small groups," and, as usual, I had winced. Church is no place for the unsocial. It is like a planet with an atmosphere alien to our lungs. We breathe, yes, and we probably don't die, but our metabolism shoots into the red zone and our hair stands on end. Horrere.

We flee to the woods and dream of becoming Taoist hermits, of embracing a metaphysical Ground that doesn't have two eyes and four limbs and a thumping, circumcised heart.

I have been trying, with little success, to clear myself some space. The several workplace proposals I raised were shot down like the clay pigeons of an Olympic skeet shooting match. Blam, blam, blam !

So I take what solitude I can get. My car. My office. The woods. Under the bedclothes at night. In the dim laundry corner in the basement. I dream of smashing the pager with a hammer, crying Noli Me Tangere ! I dream of winter, a hut, a lamp, snow.

This is my intrinsic disorder. I may be loved in spite of it, but I must not act on it.

For that, brethren, would be a mortal sin.

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