It was the best of days; it was the worst of days. Such is often the dichotomy of life.
There’s a lot of confusion going on these days. Have you noticed? Are we sowing the wind again; will we reap the whirlwind?
Our fallow fields of yesterday are being ripped up, row by row, by the hard and merciless steel plow of change. Who knows what will blossom from the wild seeds being sown in the newly plowed ground?
Maybe it was my birthday, or the in-place sheltering and the social distancing dictates that have made sausage of my mental state. I seem to have emerged from the fog of a long sleep. Nemesis, goddess of divine justice and retribution, stalks the streets, accompanied by the Furies, arbiters of Justice. All offenses are captured on YouTube, names are taken, chastisement is instant. Hello, Buford T. Justice.
I wake up this morning feeling like Rip Van Winkle. Remember him, the fellow who was an idler, who wandered off into the woods to escape his nagging wife? Well, after a few skoshes of white lightnin’ he fell asleep. And slept for 20 years.
When he woke up, he found himself in a changed world, unrecognizable, strange. He had slept through the American Revolution. King George was out, Washington was in. A seismic societal shakeup had occurred. His wife and dog had died. Confused, he resorted to his old idleness for normalcy. Can fables become facts?
After deep contemplation brought on by brain overload from too much information and constant babble from the media, I decide to take up as a sure defense the pursuit of the manifold pleasures of an idle mind, a mind excused from the daily burden of explaining the world’s insanity by any plausible metaphor, a mind that has as its sole virtue the singular pursuit of nothing more than sitting quietly on the porch, passing the time flipping with my thumb the heads-tails of my one puny vote while contemplating an imaginary solid brick wall in concert with the family dog that lies beside me, himself doing likewise, contemplating nothing more than the width and breadth of the illusionary mortar joints that seem to hold the imposing barrier in place, which engages the shallowness of my mental depth that’s completely derelict of any curiosity or purpose save wondering what lies behind this blank barrier to the outside world, a world currently seething with rivalries, confusion and unappeased appetites. To draw parallels and conclusions to these contemplations is beyond my addled reach. Whew.
Alas, a mind can only be corralled for a short time. It’ll soon go sideways as mine did, back again to RVW. I try to imagine how he must have grappled with the changes. Did he struggle mentally with the emerging vicissitudes or troubled by the pyres and graffiti art desecrating the revered statues of status quo?
Did his psyche squirm trying to grasp the emerging model of the new mosaic? Where might he fit into this brave new experiment being assembled by the voices of public dissent demanding change? It’s a weariness of life to wrestle in such mental mud.
Were bricks sailing through the plate glass windows of his unsettled mind, shattering its serenity, or looters rummaging through the contents of his brain, their Molotov cocktails torching his perceived sense of sheltered safety?
Did the recurring cruelty of a few inflame the militant ire of many, provoking protests of injustice in the yellow brick cobblestones of his dreams? And did prostrate bodies lie strewn in the viral streets, surrounded by blue-coated avatars of brutality?
Were the nerves of that day on edge, hypersensitive, alert for all empirical signs of injustice, name-calling, inequality and brutish activity in thought, word and deed? In which Instagram lab of the post-American Revolution was this new order being incubated and hatched?
Had the thinly veiled veneer of brotherly love finally cracked? Did the bad air of discontent, like miasma hissing from a belching coal mine, soil the fabric of the emerging nation’s soul? Did clinched fists beat the empty air amid chants of “I can’t breathe,” as if the air itself were void of oxygen? Such is the stuff of revolutions.
But here we sit, Bogey the dog and I. The coin toss of my vote is settled. As for everything else, well, solvitur ambulando…it’ll have to work itself out as we move on.
It was the best of days; it was the worst of days. It all depends on perspective. RVW, RIP.
June 15, 2020