Monday, November 12, 2012
Some of us heard a peculiar noise this past Saturday. At the time we were musing on a fate that had sent some of us home early from our gainful employment at the hard and important work of redistributing the raw material of landfills. And it was well before brunch, with just the two and half hours of pay, on a day so pretty it could have been early October. The gist of our thoughts probably best left to imaginations skewed by various colors of intolerance to the hopes and dreams of others. And I too was deep into what I saw as an opportunity to take a positive grasp of the phrase "futile passion" in the context of "ultimate meaninglessness." Or as Sartre, in his search for possibilities might have put it, "the alternative is nothingness." Or as Heidegger might have put it, "Being In The World." A place he agreed included time, because no doubt about it there are some moments when "futile passion" promotes a sense of well being, allied to a promise that constitutes oblivion to all other things, people and places, especially when a person finds himself heading home before the coffee pot gets cold. But what ray of bright light is it that consistently emerges from those dullard empirical minds whose obligation appears to consist primarily of encouraging the earth's penchant for extending extinction to species. What is it they say? Oh yes. "Just pull yourself together, follow your leader, get involved, compete, work harder, march in the parade, make history, do your job and if all else fails work for a non-profit."
My first thought when I heard the peculiar noise, was "Groundhog under the house." Made perfect sense, because I had recently seen a young Groundhog a little way along the tarmac road. Then quite quickly it occurred to me that if there was indeed a Groundhog under the house, it was a very large Groundhog. For those of us who have lived with Groundhogs under the house, we know well enough how intensely aggravating they can become, what with their snuffling around and coming and going at all hours of the day and night, and the incessant demands to fetch higher and higher caliber firearms. . And I have to say the idea of a Groundhog under the house, who was large enough to apparently shake foundations and make more noise than the Postman delivering a package, put a perspective on "futile passion" that was revelatory. Briefly I knew why, all those years ago, and on more than one occasion since, I have dismissed established understandings simply because they were respectable, and instead chose to stick my thumb into the air to see where it might take me. "Escape." Some might even call it "an idle retreat from responsibility." But goddamn it I felt young again. The noise itself had something to do with an earthquake over to the East, near the Virginia Line, where there are coal fields and woodlands, and where Dragging Canoe once offered so fine a contribution to the word, Kentucky.