Incoherent in English

It’s twenty minutes after five o’clock and I’m tired of being awake. I woke up just before four and have been writing and thinking uncomfortably ever since.  I have posted my two requisite blog posts but still don’t feel like I’ve accomplished a bloody thing so far today.  A question posed in Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is on my mind: “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?”  Those are the words of someone who knows the answer, deep in his heart.  He may not want to know, but he knows.

Dark, cold, early mornings reveal things daylight can’t, or won’t.  Sitting alone with the night creeping along nearby, I can have thoughts that aren’t comfortable with the sun and its bravado.  Even hidden behind clouds, the sun suggests possibilities that don’t hold up at night, possibilities that disappear in darkness.  The pre-dawn darkness, even with a cup of hot coffee ready and waiting in front of me, speaks of things I don’t want to know, in voices I don’t want to hear.

Yesterday, I went outside to explore the snow around the house. I came across paw prints in the snow, prints I think belong to a fox.  And, then, I found prints that must belong to a raccoon.  And there was evidence of a deer wandering alongside the house.  They would not have been out in the daylight; they would be sneaking around in the dark, knowing people like me would be inside, wishing the elements were not so powerful as to hold us hostage.  But things in the night do hold us hostage.  The cold. The dark. The unseen. The misunderstood. The unknown. There’s so much out there that frightens us.

Even when we don’t admit our fears, they are our unwelcome companions, the permanent guests inside our heads that hold sway over almost everything we think and do.There is no one with whom we can talk about them, so we talk around them by writing, hoping some of the words we write become scalpels that excise the fears like the tumors they are.  But words must be sharpened; otherwise, like scalpels, they become dull and incapable of precisely cutting the ugliness. Instead, they behave like dull knives, ripping and not cutting, tearing instead of slicing.

What a strange and unpleasant mood I’m in this morning. Not angry, just full of an imprecise sadness that makes the world seem dull and grey.  Coffee hasn’t fixed it, even after the third cup.  Maybe the congee I put on to cook just after I got up will do the trick; it’s supposed to be comfort food.

I just looked back at what I’ve written and see that, thanks to sitting here and letting my mind drift, time has flown. It ‘s now 5:45.  What have I been doing the last twenty-five minutes? I’ve been writing this post for twenty-five minutes and this is all I’ve done? I suppose it doesn’t matter.  What I think and what I write are not the sort of stuff that changes lives or causes tectonic plates to dance beneath the earth’s surface.  Everything I’ve written suggests a perspective that proclaims, “the world revolves around me.” Why is it that we humans, at least this human, are so self-absorbed? Why can’t we look at the world beyond the tips of our noses and recognize that we, neither individually nor collectively, are in control of the future, any more than we are in control of the past?

My fingers are tired and my eyes are bleary and my mind stings like it has been bitten by something poisonous. I’d better stop this before I write something the world will regret.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Incoherent in English

  1. Fanciful; yes, that’s an apt descriptor. If you’ve read much of my drivel on this blog, Holly, you’ll have noted that much of what I record here is a bit grandiose. Usually, I write with tongue planted firmly in cheek. But yesterday’s mood was admittedly bleak. All better now!

  2. Holly Forrest says:

    I don’t know, John. I think it’s expecting an awful lot to think that ANYONE will write something that the world will regret. Even with the internet, it’s not likely the earth’s entire population is going to be exposed to your words. That’s kind of fanciful, dear man.

    Hope you are feeling less gloomy now.

    I liked what you wrote about fear of the dark. Not to nitpick, though, but the deer and fox and what have you up on Greers Ferry Lake also come out during daylight.

    The thought of one’s writing impacting tectonic plates is also a bit grandiose, fun though the imagery is….

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