Women. I cannot get my mind around them. I would like to; I am sure they are the great mystery. I am sure they own the universe and just aren't letting on. I meet a woman who is smart and funny, a witty, sharp woman, her words like a cutting torch that peels layers of me back so she can look down into me and assess - or step back and leave the assessment to me, and I don't know whether to fuck her or eat her - literally cut her into bite size pieces and ingest her to try and get the magic. My only recourse feels physical, but this is so far beyond physical that I think I might melt with the pleasure of it, the unknowable strangeness. How do you get that magic away from them? Just being near them, in their glow, feeling the warmth of what they are isn't quite enough. No, you want to have it. To own it. To brandish that - what? I don't know what... I just know that when I see it I want to bathe in it and never leave the pool.
What makes a woman desirable? Makes you want to possess her entirely and selfishly? It is her mind. And the little glint in the eye that says somebody is home, somebody sharp, and they are watching you. Perhaps the most tantalizing woman I have met in years is a woman in the book group. She is pale and frail as a snowflake, and sometimes I look at her and she seems ninety and about to fall over, wavering in life's draught like an autumn leaf, and then she looks at me and I see the glint in her eye, and I see a girl of twenty telling me I will never be half the man she is. It is true. I know it. I can see it. And I am as mesmerized as the bird in front of the snake, willing to be consumed by all that beauty and power.
I wish I could really explain this. Men are afraid of bright sharp women as if they were knives reflecting the sun. Men are fools. Seldom do I see this power in a young woman, but then - to be accurate, seldom do I see this in any woman. It isn't all women I speak of. Most may share some of this fire, but few have a large enough share of it to make a man into a moth. I am a moth to the editor, but only now and then. The occasion arises that I see that I am in the presence of more than I can ever comprehend, but only now and then. Most of the time we are just Pat and Don, but I know that the shutter will open for an instant, and I will be taken aback, startled, stunned. But only now and then. And it is better that way. Nothing to get used to, to take for granted.
I continually run up against the problem: what do I think of people? I seem to swing from extreme cynicism to lyrical approbation. I would like to say that each of us is a river --
(Ok, the editor, doing long-range editoring, asks what in the world that last sentence means. It means that I would dearly love to assert that each and every human is a river, deep and wide and alive with promise, adding a necessary part to the sea that is all of us and all we know, but it would stretch my imagination overly to say that with a straight face.)
-----complete disconnect and tangent here: best movie line ever: Lawrence of Arabia: Anthony Quinn is explaining how he can be receiving so much gold and still be a poor man: "The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor! Because I am a river to my people!" He extends his arm to his tribe. That line alone should have been worth an Oscar; it has such power. This has nothing to do with the theme that wraps around it here; it just 'got' here on a small mental breeze.
...meanwhile, back at the main ranch - and I would say that each of us has a personal intelligence, often unnoted or not understood by others but nonetheless adding to the communal whole in a way that every thread adds to the integrity of the cloth. It is amazing to see this, to come upon it unprepared. One man knows music, another the applications of history to our own times, and another simply knows the grace of kindness. And that grace, easily overlooked, is an intelligence of major importance to us all, simple as it might seem at first glance. The lack of intelligence, in my definition, isn't just a lack of learning, or an ignorance, it is a malfeasance of the soul that putrefies. Simplicity and naivete when coursed with caring offer more intelligence than the seeming sharpness of sophistication will ever give us.
Tangent 2: One of my clinical assignments in Psychiatric Technician (like an LVN) School was a 6 weeks rotation onto a large, over 60 men, long-term unit for the retarded at Napa State Hospital. I was to do an extensive one-on-one with a patient. I chose Sam, a mongoloid, now called Down's Syndrome, of about 50 - very old for his group. We spent all my clinical hours every week together, and I couldn't even tell you what we talked about. He was a gentle man; needless to say he was slow and simple. On my last day I told him I wouldn't be back. Fixing sorrowful eyes on mine he said "It's hard parting when you're buddies." I heard he died not long after.
I would like to say that --- that "each of us..." but actually I think that about 25% of us are bogs, swamps, sewers and septic pools and only take away from the social fabric and stink up the human neighborhood. That is the gist of the problem I have in addressing how I feel about "us". It ain't easy. Sometimes I fear that my views might have fit right in -- with extreme modifications, with the Nazi eugenics program. I would have left the Jews alone, at least about 75% of them, as they were the best and the brightest Hitler had and he tossed them out like rubbish. He would have won the war if he could have incorporated them instead.
But beware all who are mean and low - I get to decide next time!! No question. Probably they had it backwards, the Nazis should all have been sending each other to camps. Enough claptrap for now. I retire to pull the old furnace out of the basement with the hydraulic-muscular might of Chuckles the Powerful. I know where Chuckles comes from - a Kubota factory in Japan. I don't know where the rest of this comes from.
Synchronicity has always fascinated me. My own definition is that it is when things/events happen that dovetail, like fine cabinet work, only quite without any skill or expectation, and are neatly cocooned within the instability of human affairs. These 'thing-events' are the human moments we have that absolutely fit with what happens elsewhere, in another jurisdiction, as if some plan existed, like pieces in a puzzle that found each other in the chaos of shuffle. My own experience is that this synchronicity is fairly rare. So, could we call it coincidence? I suppose so, except it feels so right, so fitting when it happens; so meant. Recognizing synchronicity is probably as close as I come to religion; Pat says for her it is music.
This happened to me recently. A reader wrote to say he was in pain over the death - suicide, of a friend. He mentioned her as a woman of wit and intelligence who had done the inexplicable. Not knowing quite how to approach condolences, not to mention rips in the fabric of another man, from any distance I replied by sending him the just-finished first three paragraphs of this letter. I had written them a few hours before I got his note. His letter came like an SOS, and all I had to throw him were my words; we do often seem to have so little else to offer. I only had these words because of synchronicity: I had typed them the same day that he had been delivering an eulogy to just such a woman as I had written of, one he obviously loved greatly. I have not heard back from him - no reply was suggested or expected, but I do hope I did not offend him. I can sometimes be a bit raw in my assessment of how we all fit together.
One thing he said in his note to me was that he was looking, perhaps, for the sort of catharsis my own letters afforded me. I use a lot of words correctly, or just as intended, words which I could not really straight-out define for you; it is simply my relationship with our mother-tongue that allows this; I cannot explain it. All of it lies below the conscious level in some basement of mystery. I looked up catharsis. A common definition would be that in its confessional throes we are purged of fear by our admissions. I have to own up to that. What you find coming from me is often a lather of fear that I absolutely don't know what to do with and must put down on paper. It does help. I offer my fear as if it were yours, too, and hope that by sharing it I can come to grips with it. You may not realize when I am doing this. I almost feel dishonest about it in that sense, but I would say that 'I never lie to you.' I embellish my victories. I emphasize the discomfort of my enemies. I stretch the boundaries of my revelations - such as they are. Exaggeration in writing one's own history is not dishonesty; it is art. I do not lie to you. And I will stop here, out of steam for the moment, and do other things.
Actually, I do know where the stuff above, the swamp in, and of, us comes from. I have recently reread Phillip Kerr's Berlin Noir Trilogy. A German detective handles cases in the thirties and then, in the last book, postwar. Kerr writes ok, but what grabs me is the peep inside the transition from the complete collapse of the German Weimar Republic, left from WWI, and the rising of the National Socialists, the Nazis, in the vacuum. The vacuum was the destruction of their currency, their middle class, jobs, opportunity - the very cohesion that a society has built that makes it safe and sane. It is simply the collapse of an organism and in the throes of destruction, self-destruction, it rends itself without mercy. We are that organism, the social body.
Contrarian bloggers do like to go on about the currency part, in particular, and predict unbelievable inflation in our future as the dollar sinks. This is the small view. Whether we get that inflation, and solid arguments exist against it and for continued deflation - as in the dropping values in housing, the real problem is what sort of order we adopt post-the-trauma. Out of work, hungry, hopeless people adopt radical solutions sold them by demagogues. Demagogues need someone to blame. We are all in the mix when it comes around. The will of the people can be a thrashing beast.
The editor hates it when I write about this - or even talk about it. The fairy on her shoulder, Pollyanna, tells her I am full of hot air. I hope so. But I don't think so. When our neighbors rise up to follow banners, looking to keep America white, Christian and narrowmindedly focused on the "old values" that we have somehow lost sight of in this amalgamate country then I fear the leading ranks will be that 25%, the septic fearmongers.
So that I don't end on a complete downer note I will add some quotidian nonsense here. We have had a run of warm sunny days. The winter crops in the greenhouse are looking great; freezing temps down to 25 f have yet to wound the spinach, brassica, kale and carrots. OH, I keep forgetting to announce: Ara passed his CPA!! He thought that was hard, but finding a job seems to be much harder. I know something will turn up. Just stay away from men waving banners, kid - oh, there I go again. Best I bail here. Pat is on the Left Coast and cooking for her kids. Waldo, Shay, Rocky, the chickens, and meownself are well. Hope you are, too. don e.
The editor allows as how this letter is passable. She comments: "You've brought in King Charles's head again via Weimar, but we've probably all come to expect a little side of apocalypse with your good stuff." She's a trooper.