Jun 15, 2005

Things fall apart...

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of "Spiritus Mundi"
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

I was thinking this morning about what to write, and it was one of those strange rare incidents when nothing was really willing to present itself. The skull is, as usual, full of jostling, shuffling things, but this time none of them felt really ready to be in the full blinding footlights of the stage, and so they're all pushing each other to be in the back, afraid that I might reach in, the mighty Hand of Gawd, and grasp one kicking and screaming, to force it, unready and unwilling, into the full light of the public's gaze.

But not today.

(could you hear the mighty collective sigh of relief?)

Change happens. I know, never was there a more profound thing said here. I'll tell you this much--I've found that it's easier to see the big picture when you know what all the little bits are doing. Change is a fundamental part of everything we do, and no matter how much our little hidebound ritual-seeking selves seek to keep things the same, change happens.

The trick, you see, or so the Zen teachers tell us, is to live in the eternal Present. God Emperor Leto Atredies said "It's pointless to live in the past, impossible to live in the future, and damned hard to live in the present." To live Right Now is the highest form of sentient activity, and me, I fail pretty regularly. Hear that? That's the sound of Enlightenment sulking off to get a drink down at the pub.

I say all this because I was thinking about friendships I've had in the past. Two very unexpected phone calls from my dark and mysterious past a few weeks ago jolted me into remembering a lot of things that I thought had settled into the silt and black leaf mould of my past, sort of like when you swim over that dark and cool pool and suddenly your foot is brushed by something that everyone said was dead and gone. That feeling, only without all the screaming.

I lament when time and distance force me from friends, or prevent me from talking to someone as much as I'd like, sometimes to the point that I lose them entirely. A very good friend of mine in high school travelled to and from Europe a lot after his college years, expanding his mind (formidable) and his horizons (already rather wide) and as the years went on he got further and further away until one day it occurred to me that I had no idea of how to get in contact with him anymore.

A very good friend of mine right now is overseas, fighting in this god-forsaken war. He's got about 90-ish days left, and I for one am desperately glad to think of him coming home again. For a while there it seemed that every weekend we were getting together to go down to the Oriental Wok to have supper together, or play Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (he's a police office, which brings an extra sweetness to beating the cops on the game) and to smoke cigars or pipes. He's been over there for well over a year now, and we cannot go to The Wok without thinking that there's something integral missing.

The list goes on, I could sing you a litany that would break your heart, a song of lost friends and missed opportunities and names forgotten in the dusty attic of my head, but I won't do that to you. I've got to get to town--a friend of mine just received my cigar order, and I've got about 90 sticks to pick up.


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