March 29, 2009

The hardest thing is rendering a moment moving too fast to endure...

Today's weather was the most schizophrenic I've seen in a long time. From dense, milky fog in the morning, to thicker stratus clouds and drizzle, to blue sky and fluffy mixed cumulus and cumulonimbus, to being pelted with rain under a sky mixing all of the above. At one point, though, I managed to hurriedly park the car along route 340, then dash across heavy traffic and run out onto the bridge just in time to catch this before the clouds shifted and it faded away:

Click image for larger view

Look Alive

The hardest thing is rendering a
moment moving too fast to endure
But you abide and smile wide 'cause
I want to remember this for sure
Give me guns and politics and
I'll just make a mess of it, y'know
Give me art as sustenance and the
wiser, wider part of me will show

A picture says with sight
what we can't say with words
But you've been walking eyes-to-feet in dark sunglasses
A picture will survive
So smile and look alive
The camera lens is opening, a wider angle is yours

Every empty one of us have methods
to quell the madness of this place
But yours have bled and are running south
dollar-store mascara down your face
You can take that wait and all that fuss and
I'll just get the best of us, y'know
Give me love not suicide
and the
wiser, wider part of me will show

A picture says with sight
what we can't say with words
But you've been walking eyes to feet in dark sunglasses
A picture will survive
So smile and look alive
The camera lens is opening, a wider angle is yours

Look alive
Smile, smile and look alive

March 23, 2009

Out from the woods: Yet more random babblings

Got out on the bike yesterday for the first time in five months. I left the computer at home, and my intention was to just ride easy with no care for mileage, cadence, or speed. It started out well enough, easy as I'd intended, turning the pedals at a smooth, loping pace. But then it became... not quite hard, but... effortful. I can blame part of it on a slight wind that kicked up periodically (always a cross-wind, never a tail-wind, of course), but the rest? So many of last year's rides were like this, easy one moment, the next a concerted effort to keep the cranks turning smoothly at the same rhythm. I've begun a series of doctor's appointments to check out everything from my asthma to the heart flutters I experienced last summer and fall. There's got to be something at the root of this fatigue, whether it's my heart, my lungs, diet, poor sleep, the beginnings of inherited fybromyalgia, I want to find the deficiency and correct it.

So this morning I woke up feeling sluggish and out of it, not to mention sore in the saddle area. Not getting on the bike today, how about a nice, easy hike instead? Almost thought I was too tired even for that, but I finally forced the car in the direction of one of the many local trails and headed out. By that point I felt absolutely no desire to exert myself, but wanted badly to be out in the woods under the vibrant blue sky. After wandering probably less than a mile, I found a good spot and plopped my fatigued ass down by the creek, where my mind turned to a series of thoughts that've been fermenting in the vat of my brain over the last few weeks.

Between my own gradually increasing physical limitations (fuck it, let's call a spade a spade-- middle-age is slowing me down) and recent synchronistic reminders of Ego (it's a big subject, so it gets a capital 'E'), a bit of Baudelaire struck me that I may as well share...


Remember, my soul, the thing we saw
that lovely summer day?
On a pile of stones where the path turned off,
the hideous carrion --

legs in the air, like a whore -- displayed,
indifferent to the last,
a belly slick with lethal sweat
and swollen with foul gas.

The sun lit up that rottenness
as though to roast it through,
restoring to Nature a hundredfold
what she had here made one.

And heaven watched the splendid corpse
like a flower open wide --
you nearly fainted dead away
at the perfume it gave off.

Flies kept humming over the guts
from which a gleaming clot
of maggots poured to finish off
what scraps of flesh remained.

The tide of trembling vermin sank,
then bubbled up afresh
as if the carcass, drawing breath,
by their lives lived again

and made a curious music there --
like running water, or wind,
or the rattle of chaff the winnower
loosens in his fan.

Shapeless -- nothing was left but a dream
the artist had sketched in,
forgotten, and only later on
finished from memory.

Behind the rocks the anxious bitch
eyed us reproachfully,
waiting for the chance to resume
her interrupted feast.

-- Yet you will come to this offence,
this horrible decay,
you, the light of my life, the sun
and moon and stars of my love!

Yes, you will come to this, my queen,
after the sacraments,
when you rot underground among
the bones already there.

But as their kisses eat you up,
my Beauty, tell the worms
I've kept the sacred essence, saved
the form of my rotted loves!

(as translated by Richard Howard)

Somehow, that's both alarming and comforting to me. Alarming when I think in the short, egoistic term, as it reminds me of the decay within that will only continue to make physical exertion more and more difficult. Comforting, though, when I let go of ego and realize that we all come to this. No matter our beauty, intelligence, physical prowess, or lack of any thereof, the one thing that unites us all, the greatest reminder of our sameness, is the way we end. The thought is humbling and reassuring, albeit a bit morbid in its inspiration.

March 21, 2009

Happy new year!

There've been words bouncing around in my head for the past few weeks trying to become a couple of blog posts, but so far they're not coalescing into anything coherent. So, in the meantime, you get some spring fever babblings...

I was reminded today that the first day of spring signals the new year in the Persian world. I haven't researched why the middle of winter was chosen to begin the calendar year pretty much everywhere else, but the Zoroastrian idea makes so much more sense symbolically. Spring is when everything comes back to life and begins, for crying out loud. Winter has its moments of snowy prettiness but, really, the Greeks nailed it when they designated it the season of death. Why would anyone choose to begin a new year when everything around is in stasis?

The sticky little leaves are forming here in the mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere, and will soon open to their new beginnings. If you've got 'em where you are, go, get out there and appreciate them.