Saturday, May 21, 2011

a puff of wind

Awoke this morning to find that, contrary to hopes, fears and predictions, the world had not ended. If it had ended, imagine the funeral costs that might have been saved, not to mention the Christian believers.

I'm sure there will be an explanation, but in the meantime there is the disappointment and scoffing. What is it in the human spirit that longs for some big fireworks display -- some enormous delight or incalculable disaster? I guess it would make me feel better, more elevated, more important, more ... well, something more than just a puff of passing wind.

With the importance and elevation brought to bear by all poets, T.S. Eliot once wrote:

This is the way the world will end
This is the way the world will end
This is the way the world will end
Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Well, there was neither bang nor whimper, neither beginning nor end, this morning.

Instead, the front page of the local newspaper announced that gas prices, at all but $4.00 per gallon, was twisting the lives of an increasing number of Americans. In Europe, I believe, residents have been paying more than that per litre for years. Instead, Megan, the daughter of one of my wife's sisters, had a baby boy in Florida. Instead, my daughter will graduate from college today. Instead, my younger son Ives will compete in the shot put in hopes of attaining a standing in the ranks of "Western Massachusetts" throwers. He has to throw the steel ball 41-plus feet in order to do it; his mind is racing with conflicting thoughts that reduce his chances of doing his pedal-to-the-metal best. "Fuck disappointment!" I have tried to tell him. "Fuck success and failure! Exercise your gut-level courage and just throw." But I guess people have to find that sort of information out for themselves ... that in the end, there is no bang and there is no whimper (ever) ... there is just this moment and the sometimes-scary willingness to lose what you could never hold or improve in the first place ... everything ...! I cuss for emphasis like some dumb American in a foreign land ... if I just speak louder, these foreigners are bound to understand! But of course a puff of wind knows no emphasis.

Perhaps a man is made great by the enemies and fears he harbors. On the TV recently, as I flip around the channels looking for something that does not include canned laughter or salesmen, it has seemed that there are a lot of shows that include aliens who require a great battle. Or maybe zombies. Or vampires. In economic hard times, it is pleasant to imagine some wand-waving catastrophe or solution -- a winner over great adversity. I guess only the fortunate are lucky enough to reflect on the source of all this neediness, all these solutions, all these passing catastrophes and delights. Not criticize or wax wise ... just reflect.

Bang and whimper, bang and whimper, bang and whimper ... maybe it is just the fortunate who get tired enough to consider and reflect before the world ends and they save a little money on caskets.

And the winner is....

Well, who is the winner?

PS. Whatever the heart and whatever the mind, Ives did it -- threw the required distance and joined the ranks of Western Massachusetts shot put-ers. My vote: Woo-hoo!!!!! ... now do it again. :)

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations ! To the family all round, and ye of course. :)