Friday, August 12, 2016

August 12: Nightwork, Computer Issues, Beginnings

The tomcat that used to wake me is dead; he was long since grist for an earthworm's casting, and is now the clear sap of a Pittsburgh sycamore, or the honeydew of aphids sucked from that sycamore's high twigs and sprayed in sticky drops on a stranger's car.  A steer across the road stumbles into the creek to drink; he blinks; he laps; a floating leaf in the current catches against his hock and wrenches away.  The giant water bug I saw is dead, long dead, and its moist gut and rigid casing are both, like the empty skin of the frog it sucked, dissolved, spread, still spreading right now, in the steer's capillaries, in the windblown smatter of clouds overhead, in the Sargasso Sea.  The mockingbird that dropped furled from a roof . . . but this is not time to count my dead.  That is nightwork.  The dead are staring, underground, their sleeping heels in the air.

It is springtime at Tinker Creek, and, in this paragraph, Dillard reflects on the process of life, death, rebirth.  Her tomcat, a giant water bug, a fallen mockingbird--all become "grist" for worms, calling to mind the song we all used to sing as children:
The worms crawl in. 
The worms crawl out. 
In and out of the dead man's mouth.
Death's a strange preoccupation for the season of buds and blossoms, and Dillard admits it eventually.  She says that spring is "not time to count my dead."  She turns her attention, instead, to trees and water.  Renewal.

Closing in on the middle of August, I have begun to think seriously about autumn.  Next week, I need to pull together the syllabi for the classes that I'm teaching this fall.  And then, in another week, the semester begins.  So, I am thinking of endings tonight.  And beginnings.  This is, as Dillard points out, nightwork.

My apologies for my absence last night.  My seven-year-old son decided to attempt to download an online game yesterday afternoon.  Instead, he managed to download a virus onto my laptop, making it impossible for me to do any blogging last night.  Instead, I watched Michael Phelps, who is competing in his last Olympics, win another gold medal.

Obviously, my computer issues have been resolved, after having the hard drive wiped clean and re-imaged.  (I have no idea what that means, but my laptop is running at warp speed again.)  It is once again night time.  I find myself weary after a long week of work.  This weekend, I plan to do nothing.  I will read and rest.  After last weekend's marathon of grading, I've earned that, I think.  Think of it as my gold medal.

Like Dillard, I'm trying to avoid thoughts of endings.  That's difficult for me.  I'm a poet.  Darkness is kind of my thing.  Today had the feel of fall.  Misty and cool.  Dusk comes much earlier now.  A month ago, the sun was still in the sky at ten o'clock.  Tonight, it disappeared by nine-thirty.  And one week from today will mark the year anniversary of my sister's death.  Endings.

Life doesn't always turn out the way that you expect, obviously.  For instance, I just watched Michael Phelps swim.  He did not win the gold medal.  Instead, he tied for silver.  A month ago, I thought that I was going to be teaching two film classes this fall.  Instead, I'm teaching a film class and a freshman composition class.  Six months ago, I was working in a cardiology office and thought that I was going to be working there a long time.  Instead, I'm back at my old job and loving it.  Over a year ago, I decided to apply for a promotion a the university.  This September, my title will be Full Contingent Professor instead of Contingent Assistant Professor.  Beginnings.

Saint Marty is battling his poetic instincts tonight, focusing on the light instead of . . . well, you know.

Embracing laughter and light . . .

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