Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A World of Dew

This world of dew
Is only a world of dew.
And yet.

“Love is only a cloud hiding the color of the moon,” she said, and kissed his ear. “Love is a fog, Shoji-chan. It hides the nature of things, until it burns away.”   
                               Lady Dainogon   “The Color of the Moon

The Georgia sun is making me sweat almost instantly as I start my barefoot old guy jog around the parade field.  I run barefoot.  I like to feel the sand of the two mile track under my feet as I run.  I don’t run for two miles, I wouldn’t; lie to you about that.  I’d lie to you about other things, but at my age, physical prowess is unnecessary.  I need to get to my coffee shop and do some writing, so this afternoon with the heat nearing 100 a mile is challenge enough.  I’m getting old and a little thick.  People are calling me Jerry Garcia.  They mean it with affection, but the name sticks because
more and more I’m starting to look like Jerry Garcia in the last year or two of his life.

I love to run barefoot.  I love to walk barefoot.  I love to fool myself that I’m pushing my limit as I hop forward, you can barely call it running.  After about fifty yards or so, I have to slow down and walk.

I love this track.  I’ve written a lot of stories in my head walking around this path in a more leisurely way with a notebook.  Especially at night.  A dirt two mile track with overhead lights is a surreal place to walk in the dark with your thoughts.

I first began walking this track about a good ten years or so ago.  It was a different time.  I was suffering a lot then.  I wasn’t good company for anyone.  Myself especially.  I have a memory of suffering.  I have y memories of suffering,which I invoke to remind myself that I have suffered in the past but these days aren’t that bad at all.  I was also more adventurous then.  I wonder if the two things go together.  Now I play it safe and try to stay comfortable.

An old man tends to exaggerate the pleasures of youth.  It helps to have kept a diary for a long time, to keep the memory honest.  When you’re 25 you think you’ll never die, when you’re 65, you know you will.  And yet, as Issa says.  And yet.  I can remember suffering much more at that time.  I can remember envying dogs lying in the shade of summer, and wishing I could be them.  Thinking their life must be better, or at least simpler than mine.  I envied dogs.  I can remember cursing God, though I’m not sure why I felt that way at the time.  I think I know, but it doesn’t come to mind easily, I have to fish around for the reason.

I was never suicidal, exactly.  But I was passively suicidal.  Indifferent to survival.  If a fatal disease came to carry me off, I didn’t think I wanted to fight it.  Now, I find myself more than content to live.  In fact, even as I am more aware of my mortality, more aware of how the people and things we love sooner or later disappear downstream, the world is made of dew that vanishes with the rising of the sun, and yet.  There are these fleeting moments of joy.  Even exuberance.  I know someday that will pass too. I know better than to feel triumphant.  We have these things for a while, but they’re
very fragile, as they must be.

  I won go into detail about what has changed or how the change was brought about.  That will be no comfort foranyone reading this going through something anyway.  And maybe if I start giving advice that will be the moment mybubble will pop.  It’s enough to know that the sun does rise.  Maybe sooner for some than for others, but there is always the possibility of sun.  I would refer readers to a post I made years ago here called The Mook in Me.  There was so much blood on the page that folks here became afraid for me.  Me too.  I don’t want to go back to that time.  I suppose suffering makes one grow, but I’m content not to grow for a while.  I feel there may be a staleness in me, but I’m in no hurry to fix it. I am content.


  1. Every journey has its steep inclines and its easy meadows.

    From your ongoing posts, though, I would not say you were stale!

    1. Trying not to be. But you know how it is. There's a lot going on in my life, but its mostly under the surface. Its a funny thing when you feel the ground shifting underfeet ad you want to resist it, to hang onto to some things, but the world resists you.

  2. There is that famous quote written by Kurt Vonnegut as a poem. He claimed he was at a hugely expensive party thrown by a successful businessman, with Joseph Heller (Catch 22), and he asked Joe how he felt to know that in one day, their host would make more money than his royalties from his book will make in his lifetime. He replied that he had something the host would never have...the knowledge of when he had "enough." It's worth looking it up.

    As we get older, if we have cultivated the habit of thinking, we get to the point where we know we have enough. I watched it happen to my dad. He also decided when he'd had enough of fighting his cancer, and was ready to face it square on, knowing he would lose, but resigned to do it without fighting anymore.

    We're still working too many jobs, tap-dancing as fast as we can, to pay off the debts incurred over a lifetime of raising 4 kids. So we're not at that point yet...but we hope to be, sometime in the future. My fervent hope is that we get to retire someday. But at that point, we will be content with what we have.

    That's at the root of the insanity of our current president. He's like a hollow ball of emptiness. No matter how much he has conned others out of for his entire life, no matter how much wealth he accumulates and blows, no matter how many women he buys, no matter how much power he's never going to be "enough." He will always still feel empty inside. He has no empathy, no conscience, and no humanity. He's an empty vessel being used by others for their own gain, because he always wants more. As long as he thinks he can get more, he will do anything, sacrifice anyone, to get that. He's a sick man, and he's destroying our country as we watch.

    I'm so glad my dad, who moved here from Scotland, isn't here to see it. He was proud of the USA, proud of having renounced his citizenship in a country that still had monarchs, to live in a land where as long as he could afford it, he could have whatever he wanted...and no one would treat him poorly because of his accent, or his social class. He'd be really disappointed in his adopted country now.

    1. I could go on and on about Trump and about this peculiar moment in our history. My assessment of Trump is very much like yours. As a study in human character he is fascinating to watch. An anomaly on every level of existence, and a strange blank slate on which people project their hopes and fears.

      I think about Joeseph Heller said about enough. I like that. We see how essential that is to the spiritual life, how impossible it is to be happy when that aspect of ego runs wild, what the Buddhists call "a hungry ghost". No matter how much the ghost eats, it will always be hungry and never have enjoyment.

  3. I've found that there's no better way to solve problems with something you're writing than taking a brisk, fairly long walk. A nice hot shower can sometimes do the trick, too, but the walk takes longer (for most of us) so can accomplish more.

    1. I think I could use a walk right now. My body is calling.

  4. Good post as usual, Garce. I feel the same way - past age 60, every day feels like a gift. (Though the popular belief that people didn’t live this long in the past may be the effect of average life-spans skewed by higher child mortality rates. I’ve been told at least one of my ancestors lived past 100.) I’ve known & read of many who were miserable in youth, but often for different reasons.


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