Just Passing Through

Image: 'Closing Time, Office, Coat Rack, Timeless B&W,' by Lynn Friedman on Flickr

[Image: “Closing Time, Office, Coat Rack, Timeless B&W,” by Lynn Friedman on Flickr. (Used here under a Creative Commons license; thank you!) The only “information” provided by the photographer is the lyrics to the song “Closing Time,” by Semisonic. You can see the video for the song here on YouTube.]

From whiskey river:

We are all bound together in a tapestry that like the sea gives the impression of movement towards something but is actually just a maternal body of material…

The flowers buzz when the vibration of the bees stimulates their pistons and their molecules swell and their petals hum like cellos. Rocks are alive, the firstborn of the natural world, somber without will.

There is no freedom from this universe we were born into, because it is our vague source of sensation, our soul, the container of our guilt.

Skins liquefy in heat. And when a bald baby swallow dies on your palm, you feel warmth pouring over your skin, a kind of burning fountain that scalds you like pepper spray.

Do you think this is a sign of the spirit ripping its energy into you to carry to the other side? I do. There are no actual objects over there, no materials but unformed steaming clouds, colors that harmonize musically, no gravity exists but elasticity composed of invisible mesh images.

Who will meet me on the other side, I ask you, to prove the error of what I say? Will it be someone who never loved me?

(Fanny Howe [source])

Not from whiskey river:

Landscape, Dense with Trees

When you move away, you see how much depends
on the pace of the days—how much
depended on the haze we waded through
each summer, visible heat, wavy and discursive
as the lazy track of the snake in the dusty road;
and on the habit in town of porches thatched in vines,
and in the country long dense promenades, the way
we sacrificed the yards to shade.
It was partly the heat that made my father
plant so many trees—two maples marking the site
for the house, two elms on either side when it was done;
mimosa by the fence, and as it failed, fast-growing chestnuts,
loblolly pines; and dogwood, redbud, ornamental crab.
On the farm, everything else he grew
something could eat, but this
would be a permanent mark of his industry,
a glade established in the open field. Or so it seemed.
Looking back at the empty house from across the hill,
I see how well the house is camouflaged, see how
that porous fence of saplings, their later
scrim of foliage, thickened around it,
and still he chinked and mortared, planting more.
Last summer, although he’d lost all tolerance for heat,
he backed the truck in at the family grave
and stood in the truckbed all afternoon, pruning
the landmark oak, repairing recent damage by a wind;
then he came home and hung a swing
in one of the horse-chestnuts for my visit.
The heat was a hand at his throat,
a fist to his weak heart. But it made a triumph
of the cooler air inside, in the bedroom,
in the maple bedstead where he slept,
in the brick house nearly swamped by leaves.

(Ellen Bryant Voigt [source])


#20: I never imagined I could, let alone would, someday become an adult. A veil separated the me of childhood from any conceivable future as an actor in grown-up dramas, anxious about the accumulated freight (luggage, undelivered mail, and random unlabeled nailed-shut wooden boxes) of a decades-long railway trip. Then one day I looked up and saw that the veil had dissipated — or, as I realized when I looked more carefully, it had somehow passed behind me, separated me now from what I had once been. When had that happened — the moment when I’d stood straddling the veil, one foot on either side? I had likely been distracted by some feature of the landscape, oblivious to what was happening right there and then. And now the time gone by, like the one-time future, was gray and indistinct; shadows (of people, of animals, of events personal and historic) moved about behind the scrim without revealing their faces. I’d observed many of them long enough, intently enough, to recognize their identities; but I’d never really see them again. For this veil, unlike the old one, was not approaching. It receded. (As for the future, it’s no longer veiled — but I don’t so much as glance at it anymore.) All I could really see now were those parcels and unopened envelopes stacked around me, stacked to the ceiling in loose, shifting heaps of the present. And still the train jostled on.

(JES, Maxims for Nostalgists)

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