Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It's snowing here today -- all white and bright and swirly beneath the early-morning street lamps. Later, the weatherman promises, it will turn to freezing rain and make travel a tricky business. My younger son's school declared a snow day. I have an appointment at 9 with a financial adviser. Who knows if I will make it? Appointments with financial people ranks right up there with trips to the dentist in my book, so an excuse might be welcome.

Snow is interesting. It's so white and lovely and pure. A purity from the heavens -- how delightful is that? Later of course, I will cuss like a trooper because I don't care much for shoveling. That's what purity does for people -- give them an occasion to cuss and shovel.

Purity ... we long for it before it arrives and then marvel that it wasn't as delicious and soothing as envisioned. I wonder how many people are willing to examine their own templates for purity. Examination is a pretty messy, pretty impure, business so there may be some tendency to say "the hell with purity" when the shoveling begins. Purity is supposed to be yummy ... why fuck it up?

Pure texts. Pure teachers. Pure locations.

A couple of the dictionary definitions for the word "pure" read like this:

  -- a pure substance or material has nothing mixed with it that might spoil its quality or effect
  -- a pure person or pure behavior is free from wrong, especially in sexual matters

 "Unalloyed" springs to my mind. Something or someone which/who is completely sui generis. What a delicious thought in a thoroughly alloyed world. Pure -- it simply is what is. Wow. The thought or hope is so compelling that any suggestion that some shoveling might be in order can be dismissed out of hand.

But what is pure has no meaning outside of the world of the impure. It simply does not compute.

Or does it?

Savvy intellectuals may find solace in a slick oxymoron -- the purity of impurity -- but that only holds a marginal satisfaction. As long as there is an insistence on purity, there is a concomitant insistence on impurity ... and that sucks, right?

Shoveling. I guess everyone does it in their own time and their own way, but when the pure snow falls, no one can escape the work. Who is the pure one, the one without blemish or alloy?

Find out.

And please don't be satisfied with anything as pure as "god."