Monday November 12th 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.