November 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Oh dear. I meant to blog at least every other day, but Thanksgiving and Florida have undone that resolution. That edge of loneliness and despair impelling me to reach out to faceless dozens has been soothed by Charles’ loving presence, and finally a decent set-up in the kitchen. I made cranberry muffins this morning from a recipe in a falling-apart 50 yr old Fannie Farmer cookbook, and we ate them while watching Al Gore on Oprah talk about the end of the world. On the map Al made the piece of Florida where we were sitting disappear underwater and as my eyes strayed back to Oprah’s perfect bronze-black curls I felt already underwater: hearing the ex-veep dimly, sensing the storm overhead, entranced by the hum of deep water. As a child and teenager I was so interior I barely noticed how the world worked, even when it directly impinged on me. Necessity and loneliness have taken care of that, but I wonder what I have gained. I know more, see more, but not enough to succeed in my enterprises, and I have lost the joy and space inside my head. I remember moving around in my consciousness as if in a landscape bounded at the back by a forest—which I am now reminded of by the dense foliage of Oprah’s hair— getting close to the forest and thinking it went on forever. I worried that if I went too far, I’d never come back to our house, dinner, my mother.

I thought I could explore that part of myself later. And in my 20’s and 30’s it was still there, but felt more alien, clearly dangerous, hinting of mystic wisdom and psychotic drift, and what the difference was, and whether I make choices after taking the first step wasn’t clear. It should be noted that I also didn’t want to experience anything close to ‘God’ or ‘The Good’ as that would entail responsibilities I didn’t want. And now? My brain feels corroded, as rust-eaten as our old ’68 Ford Torino when we abandoned it in Charlottesville in 1979. If I desired to go anywhere beyond this ordinary consciousness, I’d have to practice, focus and sweat—and still let go of what I don’t want to let go of, my precious selfishness.

So I live dimly in the world, which is being changed, changed utterly, as I write. I can’t honestly say I want to be more engaged. As to what I owe human society that has given me so much: I’m afraid it wasn’t a wise investment. I’m like a house cat that catches the occasional mouse (which in fact I do; I’m good at catching mice), but generally prefers sleep.

No. It’s Florida doing this to me. I’ll wake up again. I hope.


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