Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Lamentations.

This has of late been a difficult exercise, but not because the weather hasn't been anything to look at. It has. We keep getting these days where it seems like if you don't have bunting hung off your balcony, then you're not quite celebrating in the correct manner. I think we dropped below 50 overnight. They want 80 today, but this morning was still and for certain a long-sleeves morning, humidity or something fuzzing the air while the dog and I drove to the store for a sack of coffee. Chilly mornings. Cool nights. Yellow, yellow days. Enough heat in the afternoons to warrant a new pair of flip-flops — I used to have a spring ritual with an old friend where we'd go buy the new season's sandals once a year, but she returned to an older sort of salvation in Ohio, one featuring a dude often enough in his own sandals, yes, but still, and while I don't much want to begrudge anyone their ways of ordering what looks from this vantage point like an increasingly complicated and sharp-edged planet, I frequently enough begrudge her that anyway, and her husband, too, and spend the occasional evening frowning and thinking about how my way's better than their way, which is the whole thing about the set of choices they made that upset me in the first place.

This project began as a drought lament. Easy enough to figure out how to track a thing like that: site a rain gauge, complain when it's empty. And I can do that today— we're beautiful, but we missed what they got out in Elon on Tuesday, which was a storm that grew increasingly severe as it went on, cloud-to-ground on campus and dime-sized hail briefly and no wind at all to speak of and heavy rain. A half-inch, I'd say, in half an hour. Back home here in 27408 our rain gauge was dry. Enough to rend one's garments over. We're going to miss our May average by about an inch, I think, and those laments will map the course of a week or so here a ANYLF, but that's not what I'm getting at. Something's going on. Or not going on, more precisely. I've gotten somehow caught in this parenthetical space between spring and summer. The birds have fledged. Nearly all that needs to be put in the ground is in the ground. The radishes are coming in, and we're just holding. On Saturday we graduate certain of the children who order our lives for three-quarters of the waking year. It is preposterously beautiful out there on the Piedmont. We're either hitting our seasonal highs and lows, or we're coming in just under them. We've had nothing of the snap-bang into July, the little preview we generally get in mid-to-late May of what disaster lies in store. None of that. Since the azaleas finished blooming, we've simply had a sort of relentless beauty.

I was at a strange, strange cocktail party Tuesday evening, and somehow it was revealed that I have a passing interest in the weather. I characterized it as a fetish. Why? they wanted to know. I had no good answer at the ready, and the one I gave seems this morning to be the problem I'm having. It's always coming, I told them. There's always something you have to attend to.

I fear summer. Or at least today, or this week, I do. There is the one book to be finished and the other book to try on for size. There is the yearly reckoning with the ways and means by which I order my own life. I've got to check on my own saints and saviors to make sure they've still got the mojo working. When the weather's good, it's something that pulls me through the days, aims me towards evening, aims me toward tomorrow, toward next week. When I'm not good enough for the weather, that's me on the couch at ten-thirty in the morning, stalled, stationary, in between seasons, flipping channels, watching radar loop through St. Louis, no idea what to do next.

Salvation, though, from unlikely corners: AMR reports the following line from a student we share, in yet one more abysmal story he's written: "All I am is art, drugs, and a rotting skeleton waiting for the end of misery." The poet Bill Matthews, in his poem "Mingus at the Showplace," cautions against thinking bad writing is dangerous, "the way some poets do./If they were baseball executives they’d plot/to destroy sandlots everywhere so that the game/could be saved from children." This child's work is bad, but perhaps it's not dangerous. And at the least, it's cautionary: Get thee the hell outside, it seems to be saying, And figure out how to enjoy the end of May, you blithering sadsack fool, lest you end up writing like this.

Summer's coming, and it's so damn beautiful out there that it's scaring the crap out of me. Earlier in that Matthews poem, the speaker says, "And I knew Mingus was a genius. I knew/two other things, but as it happened they were wrong." I'm far too often far too certain about far too many things. There's a little breeze today, which is making the sunlight on all these new leaves look like it's moving around. We'll start with that one small thing, and see what else there is.


Kathryn Frances Walker said...

i can't tell if you're thinking of pulling up posts, ANYLF, or you're gonna ride this one out. either way, there's lots to say. that's how come i told you that Edward Abbey thing the other night about how if we knew enough we could write whole novels about trees. and he didn't mean anthropomorphically write about them (wait, is that the right word?). i feel like you're just getting started, just my 2 pesos anyhow. but i know how ye feel. there are many times i've almost yanked the whole thing and the thing that stops me is that i don't wanna be one of those blogs that leaves after a little while -- there are so many of them -- i started in 2002, got the itch from molly and melissa who have been at this longer than me, but i realize that HT Blues has now been going for six years which seems like a long time in internet years. the only thing different is that it switched locations from diaryland to blogger but that was because blogger's easier and not so temperamental.

i mean you do what you wanna. just know that i'm a fan -- no easy feat when there's a gazillion websites out there to choose from. and i don't read you cause i know you. i read because it's good.

Drew Perry said...

thank you--