Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Enough Rope

Wooden soldier, wooden sword,
Chocolate coins in crinkled gold
Hints of something bought and sold,
Hints of murder in the stars.

Gjertrud Schnackenberg, “Advent Calendar”

Quickly I've come to love the low, growly form of Mt Tabor against the western sky, when I walk down from our little ridge to the 82nd Avenue Safeway to buy milk. The main hump is mama bear: just beyond her sleeping nose is the smaller hump of the baby bear. His tail wanders northward, along about 70th Avenue, making a little hump for the commuting cyclist to climb over. The baby bear's tail, and the ridge of 84th Avenue, don't exist on the geological survey map. But they exist to a bicyclist, or to a shopper going on foot. At twilight Venus glows above mama, and the baby's tail points at his celestial counterpart, Ursa Minor, circling his own cruelly staked tail over the unseen river to the north.

Patiently, day after day, I pick apart the strands of the rope. As Martha Grimes noted, it's always easy to find reasons to hate, when you have the will to do it. I don't like to hate. All precepts and commandments aside, it's like having a fever or an intestinal complaint. What I don't really know is whether there's a core under all these fibers, something that needs to be fixed or addressed. Maybe it's just hatred all the way down. I come to the slam-dunk reason to hate, the one clear treacherous dishonesty, and – satisfying though that momentarily is – with it comes the certainty that this reason, this rational and justifiable reason, has actually nothing to do with the blaze: I'd have to rewrite the whole history of the injury in order to pretend it did. No, I think all I ever hated anyone for was not loving and admiring me. That's the only unforgivable sin: that's the rope, the twist, and every fiber.

“Saint Valentine's is past,” observes Theseus, pausing by the tangled, sleeping lovers. “begin these wood-birds but to couple now?”


Zhoen said...

For me, it was always malice. Dislike, even neglect were not enough. Only when I see the delight in another's suffering do I find there is no justification, no excuse sufficient.

Dale said...

I wish that were true of me!

Kathleen said...

Much to think about here, and much to see. Sending thanks and love.

carolee said...

i've been writing about ropes & hatred, too, and it's such a difficult emotion. we berate ourselves for feeling it. it takes energy to feel it. it feels impossible not to feel it. :) the only thing that helps escape it (for varying amounts of time, with varying degrees of success) is experiencing the love & friendship of others, which may, indeed, be just a distraction from it. oh, i'm determined! ha ha! (it's twisted for me, too.)