Thursday, June 24, 2010


The desperate times contain the leanest of moments. They also serve as the psychic springboard from which we can vault outwards and upwards towards, if not a higher height, at least a plateau on the same vista that shares a similar view. This is what one would like to believe, what we hold true in our most immature of hearts, the same way that a child holds a stuffed animal tightly to his chest in the belief that shared pain, even via imaginary characters, lessens the sting and softens the slug. If we were to believe otherwise, that down times lead only down, that the steady staircase of our torment spirals only further down, descending always, ascending rarely, if ever, then how would one make it through the day? Entropy is the name of nature's game, but we choose to look away from such a stunningly familiar fact, as if the sun (which we take notice of only in its absence or in its ever-shining arrogance) will not burn our retinas should our eyes focus on more familiar sights with less intensity and greater saccharine. One can stare at a waterfall for hours, suffering only the gentle, repeated slap of boredom and a slight deadening of the senses that even the most beautiful of sights will inevitably engender in the restless, finicky gut of our lives. (If even the most awesome of sights dulls as rapidly as an informercial cutting- knife, no wonder the world so soon lacks its lustre!)

The desperate times contain the luckiest of moments, too. It is only when the reservoir of good will and back-up strength has been depleted within us totally and completely that another layer of our humanity is uncorked. As if the light flashing empty in your car signals not the need for another injection of oil but, rather, serves as an acknowledgement that your vehicle has reached a point where forward motion is highly unlikely, so another means of automation must soon be unearthed. One thinks that a gasless car cannot move, but no! Think of how far it can be pushed! One need only open the door and allow the most burly of friends to assist you in your slow (but steady!) shove down the road. Not practical, not likely -- but possible! No gas means no quick motion, of this I grant, and perhaps it is not even technically legal to accompany an ally down a suburban road by pushing and grunting his car for hours on end.

No matter. It can be done. Emptiness need not preclude momentum. When we have reached the limit of our limit, one can all too often be shocked to discover another trap door, another secret entrance to the brave, resistant side of our psyches, a small, dim (but still visible!) room containing water, rope, aspirin, a blade. Another hole can be dug, a ladder made, a window forged. Sunlight can be seen. It will not last for long, but a glimpse of light after the longest of nights need not endure to be ennobling.