Sunday, April 08, 2007


The quiet of Easter Sunday beats slowly through the city; the streets can't quite catch their breath, and the sunlight formally, reluctantly, lightens the dull housefronts and soft lawns. If you've ever watched someone with pneumonia sleep, and wondered whether they would wake again, you'll know what I mean.

Every Easter I see Death walking, high and stiff, through empty streets. I guess resurrection doesn't mean to me what it means to most people. Good Friday is not the day of unique sacrifice. Death? We all do it. There's nothing particularly divine about dying in pain. But to be finally done with it, and then come back -- that's the sacrifice. That's what requires a Christ or a Buddha. This is the day of sacrifice.

Rain soaked the muddy mound of loose earth over Christmas's grave, yesterday, and little rivulets of brown water ran down into the grass. The toddler next door loved to come over and give Christmas treats. "I think she's hungry," he'd confide in us. We'd give him a couple treats and he'd feed them to her, and then he'd come back to us again. "I think she's hungry," he'd repeat, meaning he wanted to do it again. We'd give him a couple more, he'd feed her again, and come back again. Urgently, earnestly -- "I think she's hungry."

His mother, who tends to take the easy way out, has decided to tell him that Christmas has "gone on vacation." I guess that means we all have to participate in that fiction, now. Christmas has gone on vacation. It sounds like some sort of riddle, or paradox.

My sister-in-law asked me to rub her shoulders, which were stiff; after I'd done that a while, she noticed with some surprise that she could read the print on a poster across the room, which she hadn't been able to read when I began. If the things are causally related, I'd dearly like to understand the physiology of it. I'm guessing that unstiffening the shoulders had a ripple effect of unstiffening, extending eventually to the muscles responsible for adjusting the shape of the lenses of the eyes. But how exactly does the unstiffening "ripple?" Through the muscle tissue itself, or is it a generalized nervous response? Or is it maybe a matter of blood flow? Would working the jaw and facial muscles have done the same thing quicker, or would working the feet have done just as well? I wonder if anyone's studied eyesight and massage. It would be a fun thing to investigate.

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