Fade away and radiate


Fade away and radiate

If I had known my mother was right about the transitory, fickle nature of adolescent friendship, I might not have invested so much. In fact, this truth still applies. It’s this slow-motion dissolution of a connection between two people, at different moments striving, trying desperately to remain relevant to one another. Romance/love is exactly the same, where at different times one partner is more in love with the other. And what remains is one of the few conduits to a close but different interpretation of a shared past that comes back – almost taunting, if not haunting – the lost friendship or love, the missed opportunities, forgotten depths and secrets. Where does all that initial – and sometimes even sustained, if temporary – awe go? How does it get buried underneath layers of time, superficial concern and change?

Writing this I feel very much as though I have already written something like this many times. Perhaps because these same feelings and questions churn mercilessly through the brain – and even the heart – too frequently.

Photo (c) Paul Costanich (RIP)



As much as I long for the city sometimes, country nights like tonight fill me with awe. Cold – frozen in fact – but so clear, all the stars visible. I spent an hour in the darkness sitting on the deck upstairs just staring into the sky, view obscured occasionally by my breath visibly floating through the air.

A few years ago, ML “gave” me an app for identifying constellations, so for basically the first time in all those years, I used it, halfheartedly. I am always a bit awestruck by the cosmos and my tiny place in this universe. Particularly when it’s so cold, I feel so small and insignificant. The awesome nature of being enveloped by this endless expanse of stars renders all of life’s trivialities insignificant as well; you know, when you’re trapped in your own head, listing off all the things you need to do, all the things you don’t want to deal with, think about, feel – it all retreats to some other place in the brain – a place far from immediate thought and anxiety.

A poem for post-star-gazing contemplation:

TactEdwin Arlington Robinson

Observant of the way she told
So much of what was true,
No vanity could long withhold
Regard that was her due:
She spared him the familiar guile,
So easily achieved,
That only made a man to smile
And left him undeceived.

Aware that all imagining
Of more than what she meant
Would urge an end of everything,
He stayed; and when he went,
They parted with a merry word
That was to him as light
As any that was ever heard
Upon a starry night.

She smiled a little, knowing well
That he would not remark
The ruins of a day that fell
Around her in the dark:
He saw no ruins anywhere,
Nor fancied there were scars
On anyone who lingered there,
Alone below the stars.

Perhaps I have been brainwashed by my descent into the nature-oriented New Agey books I just completed (hallelujah), which seemed to emphasize the importance of a relationship with nature and the universe as key to our ability to mature as adults. Maybe there’s something to it. But I know I’ve always felt this way when walking or sitting in the dark on clear, cold, starry nights. Infinitesimal but brimming with excitement, wonder and hope.

Photo (c) 2014 Tom Hall.

Off the chain – no training wheels


Time for Japan

Yes, as usual, the Japanese have their priorities straight. Standardizing toilet controls and weaving and dyeing denim properly while the country more or less dies out … sounds like a plan.

Is this the same philosophy that drives Mexicans to make beautiful, time-consuming piñatas only to destroy them by beating the shit out of them? Because this is life: beautiful and so full of promise – but it too beats the shit out of you?

You enjoy beauty or love or quality only because they are so ephemeral? (Quality may imply that something is built to last, but the worn quality of something, its imperfection, may be part of its beauty. Is this the Japanese thinking, as was recently proposed to me?)

As an aside, I have lived and acquired weight in my soul and body, I have scars all over me from the things I have lived through. These imperfections too should tell a story that no one tells.

‘Love, like fire, can only reveal its brightness
on the failure and the beauty of burnt wood.’

« Comme le feu, l’amour n’établit sa clarté
que sur la faute et la beauté des bois en cendres… »

Philippe Jaccottet, ‘L’ignorant’

It’s time to plan a trip to Japan, as I have not been for almost 20 years.

Everything is imperfect and constantly in flux, changing: Japan, love, me.

Photo (c) Stephen Donaghy