Sunday, May 3, 2009

For Pleasure.

It is hard to believe it did not rain yesterday, even though it did. Before noon, sitting on the porch, reading Frederick Barthleme's Waveland, I did in fact hear it rain, did in fact see wet drops on the concrete things that extend from the porch and frame the steps. Those things have certainly got to have architectural names. We haven't time for that sort of responsible learning right now, though, children. What we must speak about is how after it technically did rain, it did not rain.

Which is only and all to say that following rain so wee I hesitate even to call it a trace, there was that summer smell all afternoon yesterday, a smell of near-desperation, wherein one knows that it could rain, that everything has lined up nearly right, but that it will not rain, that one will have to run the sprinkler anyway. Today's smell, young people, is not the same smell. Stick your noses out your front doors and take it in. Register. Catalogue. Even though it may not rain today, either (though a quick check of the radar says roll up the windows in the car, pull closed those west-facing ones on the house), you will see that today's smell is of a different, more wanton sort: it is raining somewhere, tantalizingly close by, even, and it may hold together long enough to get here. That is a different smell.

It has I think possibly been a full academic year since I read at one sitting a novel of my own choosing for pleasure and for no other purpose. It was magnificent. The book was pretty damn good, too, one of Barthleme's best, full of stuff he always, always does, but richer this time, somehow, righter. And my god how he notices the tiny things: "...the pleasures of toast, the pleasures of hot sunlight, of the dark scent of wet dogs, of summer nights, of the crush of sudden thunder, the warmth of winter socks, the surprise of skin indented by furniture."

We have just now gotten those darkening drops on the porch things again. Another trace. Keep it tuned here, or out your own front doors, to see what's next.

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