Sunday, August 7, 2016

why does the sun have a face? getting through a tough week

One good thing – I got started on that wood stacking, moving the wood bit by bit, log by log, into the woodshed, making neat stacks, protecting my winter’s heat from the elements. I like that the wood sits out there on the edge of the yard in a lazy heap July and August soaking up sun, as if the logs will harbor that sun, give back its warmth come December, January, when I most question the reality of July, August, sunshine; but at some point in September or October, definitely November, the days of rain and sleet will come on and on and then I’ll hate to see any remnant of that dwindling forlorn heap of wood out there cowering, soaking up cold and damp, mocking me, or so I think; so, good thing, I got started on that wood stacking.


It was a tough week. And maybe I know why, and maybe I don’t, but another good thing: I really don’t think this coming week is going to be near as troublesome.
It started out nice, this bad week, due to the Cubs game last Sunday night, which I watched Monday morning while candle-making. The game had stuff you rarely see, if ever, plus a truly bad start, like bad enough maybe to turn it off but you don’t and then, you see, glad you didn’t. And a friend sent a copy of his scorecard—he was there! And it was not an easy thing, keeping score that game, so I was impressed. Among other things, the Cubs won in the 12th inning, 7-6. Lester, a starting pitcher, pinch-hit and got the game-winning RBI. It was a bunt. I love it.

So, how do things unravel? Hard to say. Reading “Look Homeward, Angel,” by Thomas Wolfe, doesn’t help. It’s almost like being caught in quicksand that is somehow mesmerizing so you’re not afraid, just slowly sinking, and in the back of your mind you know you want to get out of this quagmire, but, look at that, wait a minute, what is that, hmmm, “lilac darkness” … and soon, there it is again, “lilac darkness,” and then again with the “lilac darkness,” and you’ve already asked: What’s with all this “lilac darkness”? But you stay put. Stick with it. Swimming, sinking in all this lilac darkness and everything else. At the moment I would prefer a book that was more like a bus with a destination, a timetable, rather than this rickety rowboat caught in an eddy.

One day I stopped by Temple Jacob, unplanned, doors locked, pretty flowers.


One evening, Buck stopped by. Josie’s pal Buck, whose velvet antlers are growing so symmetrically, each now topped with two nubby prongs. After a little jostling with Jo, Buck wandered into the yard, came over close to where Elliott and I were sitting on the porch. Josie kept up his charade of occasionally charging Buck, circling back, Buck doesn’t seem to mind. I thought Josie might get dispirited so each time he charged I said “good boy.” At one point everyone but me was standing around, chewing grass, and then Buck threw up his tail and spun and ran and Josie gave chase and that was that.

But back to the trouble.
Friday night I closed the book, had had enough of darkness, turned off the light, lay on my side looking out into the north where it was yet light, kind of golden but moving toward darkness, darkness that was not at all lilac, not so I could see, anyway, but I could see a lake, placid and smooth, and the dull grey-white shine of mirror, mirror reflecting above and below, into the air, into the deep, and sandwiched between a plane of black, a plane of darkness, thin but strong, impermeable, a plane our souls just cannot see.

Days shorten, and Saturday morning began with a skyful of stars. I did not recognize that as a good omen, but I did think how stars are always there, whether we see them or not, and, later, when the young woman from South Korea who has been by my booth at the market before asked why the sun candle has a face—she said she’s seen that a lot in this country, the sun with a face—I told her I had no idea why the sun has a face, and neither had I ever thought to ask.