Sunday, January 15, 2012

Off in the distance, the mill wheel stands frozen. An emblem of something as yet to be determined. A reminder that all reminders are superfluous. The closer we get to it, the further we are from that state we refer to as euphoria because we don’t know what else to call it. We haven’t any experience in this part of the world and so we necessarily rely on descriptions we have brought with us from home much the same way we brought our livestock and our particular way of tying knots. Under the shelter of the rock overhang, tiny invertebrates scurry about in the moist soil and one can scoop them up by the dozens in one hand. It isn’t wise to do so, though, as they are perfectly capable of protecting themselves with venom. Of course, I enjoy the sound of screaming as much as the next guy so long as that sound is far away. But the plan seems to involve drawing a line nearby and then seeing who might be willing to cross it -- if, that is, anyone can be rustled up to serve in that role. Right now, we are completely alone and have no desire to play the part of adversary ourselves. Not that the part is mandatory or that we wouldn’t do a good job. It’s just that the ground rules seem to have been written up ahead of time, and in haste, so that violating them would no doubt bring about more than just simple forfeiture. Extinction is not too strong a word. Better to harken back to a time when the air was cold to the touch. It carried with it a promise of romance acceptable even to those who didn’t see themselves as susceptible to that particular set of emotions or circumstances, who didn’t believe they were suited, for instance, to walking hand-in-hand from one ordinary place to another in the company of someone else, who still envisioned a future sitting alone in a chair facing in the direction of the newly-risen sun and drinking from a decorative glass full of absinthe. They were, of course, mistaken, but not in the way you might imagine. They were destined, many of them, for positions of great responsibility on aircraft carriers or sitting atop towers made of glass and steel. For long and unbelievably fulfilling lives spent in the company of people who hadn’t even been born at the time of their original, desolate visions. People who would one day be engaged in delivering their eulogies, in filling those eulogies full of references to Meister Eckhart and those nineteenth-century theosophists who presided over séances where the furniture rose and rattled about the room on occasion like outsized crabs hoping to get themselves reunited with the surf. 

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