Sunday, July 25, 2010

Neglecting Pieties

“Resolution” is just the first phase of an endless cycle, a four-phase rotation. It goes like this: Resolution → Deprivation → Breakdown → Indulgence → Resolution, and so on and on and on. At the moments of Resolution and Breakdown I am supposed to believe that my true self has been unveiled at last (I am the master of my fate; I am hopelessly weak), and at the moments of Deprivation and Indulgence I pretend not to see that the true self of the former phase is crumbling. I am beginning to find the whole sequence irritating and useless, and I'm inclined to abandon it. I may have to live my own stories, but I don't have to believe them.

The tumults of this month have left me a little shaky. Mt Hood, with its canted shoulder, hovers over the foothills, floating free, just temporarily tethered over the sunrise. A sense of failure, of imminent disaster. What have I been doing all this time? The mountain has nothing to say to me, and I have nothing to say to it. Surely there are pieties that I have neglected.

Then I think, and I have to laugh. I'm an American: neglecting pieties is what I do. That's why God put us here -- to be the destroyers of worlds. I'm just doing my job.

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