08 March 2012

Too early, early

Right now my feet are very cold. The unusual warm weather has melted the unnecessary snows from last week and left the pathway out to Walden swamp-like. I sludge out here in my Emu boots that I thought I had waterproofed but that seem now to absorb water like a dry sponge. It is the second week of March and this has been an un-Winter. In the past whole weeks would go by where the temperature never rose to zero degrees, but this year I cannot recall more than a day or two where the weather dropped below zero. Most days the temperature hovered in the normal range: 15-30 degrees, and students put on their shorts and tank tops. The cross country team runs in singlets.  We hardy Mid-Westerners recognize this warmth in January as signs of incipient Spring.
Sleeping has become the issue. Or rather my failure to sleep. Oh, it is not that I can’t fall asleep: that is not the issue. Rather, I do not stay asleep, and last evening with the full moon flowing through my window I awoke not wrought with anxiety but actually in a restful state. These early morning hours when the world here is very much asleep (except the cats who beat on the door demanding breakfast when they sense the presence of any awakened consciousness) do not trouble the will. I awaken from the dreams to think them through to reality. From my bed and from under the quilt created for me by a dear friend, I watch the moon drop through the sky and fall into the horizon. In another room my daughter lays asleep (soundly, indeed, after routing the cats from her bedside as they cried for their breakfastthey moved quickly to my door and beat on it with the insistence of Macduff at the doors of Dunsinane). I do not turn on the light but lie somewhat puzzled by what keeps me awake. Joyce’s stream of consciousness insists that it is words that run through the mind, but for me the show is images to which I then attach words. From these pictures I create the narrative, and once the story begins, I speculate how it might proceed. There is always the clichéd ending, but I try to eliminate that possibility: it is too tied to the real world and the full moon inspires fantasy. From the threads I weave a life and hope it will be mine. In Tom Stoppard’s play Travesties, Tristam Tzara cuts apart a poem and places all of the words into a hat only to pull them out one by one to create a new poem. It is non-sense to which he aspires: there is already too much sense in the world and it doesn’t make any sense at all!
I awaken with all of the words in the hat, and one by one . . .


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