Monday, November 8, 2010

you had me at 'good-bye'

"There is a pessimism about land," wrote John Graves, that "after it has been with you a while it becomes merely factual."

So we become addicted to that which cannot be with us for a long time. We tend to imagine ourselves as perpetual, as continuing through time, although we clearly are not. Yet the beauty of the ephemeral is daily masked in the facade of the perpetual.

Other things bear the weight forever of things lost, and thus are elevated to exceeding beauty. John Graves' traveling down the Brazos (those arms of God) lamenting the dam that would forever arrest a thing of ever-changing life and beauty, and those arrested moments of my life spun out like fine lacemaking on the dammed river that was my Possum Kingdom Lake. The haunting interruption of mortality--of life, always abbreviated.

I drove back through the lake area years ago in mid-summer. A freakish front rolled in and we could not stand outside a minute or two before shivering uncontrollably. It was like a veil of icy air kept me from accessing the past. So it will always be, some imagined moments in time that set the pace for happiness, and happiness will always be compared with a sunfish in a bucket awaiting release, and fueling up the Chriscraft at a gas station/hamburger joint on the water, and later the big band sound of Glen Miller will sweep across a linoleum floor where hours later it will be dark, and everyone will be sleeping the deep sleep of belonging, to one another, to the house precipitously cantilevered off a steep cliff, and to one another. My great-grand mother will be there with her wild red hair and we will all sleep the sleep of tightly nested families,knowing no good-byes and no Army Corps of Engineers come to change the world to something better and more hospitable--something that will erase, in its utter beauty of engineering, our perfect, transient, world.