"Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience."
--Henry David Thoreau--
Apparently, I upset the apple cart and made some people close to me worried with my last too-dark post, so I will vindicate myself by jumping on the "green" bandwagon and blame it all on the oil business and global warming.
I am not necessarily looking down my nose at the notion of "going green." Well....yes, I am, in a manner of speaking. I took this picture looking down from the walking path at the local park. It represents an unused piece of land of at least an acre that is mowed and kept neat looking, but for what purpose? Sometimes I feel like the befuddled Lily Briscoe from Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. I have to keep asking "What does it mean?"
I guess I could blame my ignorance on waiting until my mid 40s to finish up my undergraduate English degree, which I did last December. You see, I had some trouble being explicit enough to please my professors at UWF (University of West Florida). I got in the habit there and then of asking myself the "so what" question, but I still find it difficult here and now to be not so implicit. I might as well blame that bad habit on learning from a generation intent on hiding its true feelings--of horror and shame--about what has taken place in this world since the War to End All Wars behind a Janus-mask of discontent and self-improvement.
For some strange reason, I could no longer stand the heat in the kitchen, and I jumped at every chance I had to get out and take classes. I became what you might call a dilettante. Improve thyself became my mantra, but I was too afraid to trust my kids to the care of strangers. Blame that fear on the plethora of news stories in the 80s and 90s about sexual predators lurking everywhere and especially masquerading as loving childcare workers and teachers. What could I do? I did not like putting them in daycare when they were little, nor did I like making them ride a bus full of foul-mouthed and unruly kids home to an empty house. So I waited. I even homeschooled for a while. As Thoreau implied, I did not strike while the iron was hot. Ideas cooled in my hot little brain like cookies on a rack and maybe got a little stale too.
Wait. I need to slow down a bit. The speed bumps in life are there for a reason. They keep you from veering off the road into the ditch and make you appreciate the beauty you see and have.
Where am I going with these thoughts? To an empty baseball field at the local park, of course. It is the end of the season here for baseball. Football practice has already started, and school begins in a few weeks. All of the vans and SUVs which used to crowd the lots here at the park are resting silently in garages or driveways. The park is quiet now except for a few self-deprecating, middle-aged people who like to walk in the early morning and evening and talk about how things used to be, how bad they are now, and how good they could be again. Okay, I will be fair and limit the self-deprecating part of that description to just me. I will blame that bad habit on living too long in the Bible Belt, not taking the Gospel to heart, and learning to be cynical.
That last post of mine may have sounded a little negative. I will grant that supposition. It was meant to ring with irony. I felt tired of sounding sappy and wanted to try a different design for my "garden." Blame it on global warming. I am trying to cook up ideas that have cooled for too long, and the extra heat is taking its toll on my brain. I hope no one is keeping score.
"What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life?--startling, unexpected, unknown?"
--Lily Briscoe in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse--