Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Without Rest

I drive carefully in the pre-dawn fog. Her headlights are a little out of true, the left a little higher than the right. They don't quite intersect, half a block ahead. Dear little cross-eyed Honda. I flip through the radio channels. That engaging but vapid new Nickleback song. Then "I got the rockin' pneumonia, and the boogie woogie blues." Fun, but over almost at once, and succeeded by one of those brassy energetic 60's pop bands -- not Chicago, but of that ilk, can it be Weather Report? -- that I've disliked so long that I don't remember why I dislike them. I reflect that I can't even hear them any more, I've only listened to my dislike of them for so long. I wonder what they sound like?

I listen a moment. "God, I hate this," I note, still not sure whether I've heard them, or just forty-odd years of accumulated dislike. Still, I punch the "seek" button.

Ah. George Harrison. "... 'cause it takes so long my Lord. My sweet Lord." That carries me the rest of the way to Tosi's. I sit in the parking lot till the last of the steel guitar fades away.

I'm on the run, I know I am. Doing my best not to think about things. But I can only do that so long.

The bland fog lightens. Ghosts of the doug firs across the street appear. Everything is gentling down into an ordinary day. The cars sweep by, endlessly, people on their way to work. At five they'll all drive back. And tomorrow I'll be sitting here watching them drive to work again.

I drink my coffee with deep appreciation. You know, the quality of the coffee beans doesn't matter a bit. Any bean will do, so long as its not old or moldy. What matters is whether the coffeemakers and pots are quite clean. Yesterday I paid four times this much for an indifferent pot of bitter coffee, in a gleaming silver vessel that I know, in my heart, was cursorily rinsed in the kitchen. You could taste the tang of days of old coffee grime.

I look back over what I've written, noting the snark. I check: yes, I am feeling a little sick. This cold has hung on for weeks, possibly months. It's actually unlikely to be a cold virus, which, as we all know, tends to last for two weeks (or fourteen days, if you take rose hips and echinacea.) I wonder what it is? I'm tired of it.

It's of a piece: one of the things I'm not thinking about.

Now the fog is phosphorescent with dawn: the whole sky is impregnated with silver light. A sense of intelligences pulsing above, light handing off to light. Thousands at his bidding speed, and post o'er land and ocean without rest.

I close my eyes, and the burning lessens. Sit up straight and ease my shoulders, let them hang. The upper traps and the lev scaps eye me suspiciously. They're not about to let go: they know this is a momentary shift of posture, and that I don't really mean it.

Last night, the young nervous collie, jealous of me, wanting my approval, took it out on various imaginary intruders. Barked at the fire. Growled at the couch. Industriously licked my arm as I worked on your upper traps and lev scaps. Physician, heal thyself. I know.

They also serve who only stand and wait. Ah, but that's not "sit and wait." You have to stand. You can't be on the run. And it's silly to run, anyway. God has my address. He has my social security number. He knows how to get hold of me.

Three long breaths, my shoulders hanging, again. This time I mean it. This time they start unwinding, strand by strand. I love you so much, so much. My sweet Lord.

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