Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Yesterday, one month downstream from cheerful madman #1 removing and replacing a chunk of my skull in service of hoovering up a messy subdural coagulum that had sneakily collected after my Green Street nose dive, I ventured out for my first solo neighborhood walk. I have been, I realized, slowly metamorphosing into something like a stone -- immobile, insentient, unwilling -- and it seemed like time to begin to try to reverse the process.
A few houses south, I passed the rotting-at-the-core hollow stump of a formerly glorious tree that had long presided over our declassé street. It was shin high, and a bent traffic cone was jammed into its center. Compared to its Methuselan lifespan, the tree had not suffered a long illness. Over the past 2-3 years the leaves had dwindled, some outer branches had been amputated and, last week, an arborist was grimly reaping the rest. I wish I had taken a less lurid photo of the tree, and one in which it was in full leaf, but this gives an idea of its comely shape and massive dignity -- may it rest in peace.
A good bonk on the head does turn one's thoughts to one's own eventual personal reaping and peaceful rest and, at the same time, jams the binocular retrospectoscope into one's eye sockets. The battered brain is repository/generator of memory, regret, fear, the constructed self-and-world. So what is this being-thrown-into-consciousness ? Original sin ? Original blessing ? I confess that the second notion makes me squeamish. It's too cute of a turn of phrase. More aptly, every newborn pops into its absurd and contingent existence with its rat brain primed, anger and desire ready to churn into overdrive at the least provocation. Nonetheless the situation does call for some mercy: the old that there is something rather than nothing and its partner in crime the that I am (and someday will no longer be) will eventually strike our newborn sentient with the appropriate horror. And then what, poor thing ?