Saturday, May 13, 2023


Under it all there is a low not-sound; a subtonic grinding of plates; while above are the netted lines of swallows too shrill to be heard, too quick to be traced; letters that  dissolve in the sky before they can be read. The book is there. Here, rather. Anywhere that a fool might reach. Did you really think you were the only exception? God may be merciful; I wouldn't know; but that would be bizarre.

Among the fooleries I see again, "where are all the aliens?" The supposed Fermi paradox. I don't think we will meet them face-to-face, or face-to-whatever: the distances are too great, the time is too long, for us to happen to meet at 5:45 at the corner of 3rd and Main Street. But we are probably in sight of the books they have left. We just don't know they are books. The first contact will be an archeology, and a Linear B to be deciphered. You can know there's a message without knowing what it is.

I woke worried at 3:00 a.m., and worried an hour before I got cautiously out of bed. I took my dad to get his catheter changed, two days ago, and his moan at the most painful moment of it is still in my ears. We drove through what seemed like all the streets of Eugene and Springfield, going there and coming back. The urology clinic is a block or two away from my old elementary school; to get there we drove past the University of Oregon whose campus I walked through daily as a young man; and coming back we swung through the old downtown of Springfield which was my haunt as a teenager. Some of the buildings were different, after fifty years, and all had changed their skins, so the recognition was pervasive but unconvincing. At every turn I thought, "oh, I know where I am!" and next I thought, "no, I don't know where I am at all." My dad remembered to tell me where to turn just a bit too late for me to turn, so we retraced our steps a couple times. A piece of my mind is still groping its way through those streets: the part that would not sleep this morning, I guess.

First light can't be too far off, now: twenty minutes at most. I'll take a walk, and look for the sky to change. I'm tired of the dark.

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