Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reflections in Late September

Why does a candy wrapper look so trashy and unattractive when it is crumpled and empty, but so happy and pretty when there is candy in it?

I know. It is a stupid question. But if I apply the same question to animals, it acquires a deeper significance. A body with a living being in it is far more attractive than a body with no one living in it. Even old people with all their wrinkles and blotches and liver spots and varicose veins and scabrous sores and gnarled, arthritic hands are more attractive when there is life behind the eyes and breath going in and out of their lungs and animation and speech and warmth in the flesh and crotchets and idiosyncrasies then when the body is stiff and the eyes (if they are still open) are balls of lifeless jelly.

There is in all things, even objects, a certain quality that is the source of their appearance. It is indefinable. There is more to life than breath and blood and enzymes. There is a pulse behind the pulse that is divine and unnameable.

Can you go on strike against yourself if you don’t treat yourself fairly? September is the month of encroaching austerities. Harvests. Curfews. Return to school.

I like autumn. This is strange. Because I hate winter. I hate the cold. So why do I like autumn? Autumn should fill me with gloom. But instead it makes me feel happy.

Here is one reason: it is quieter. There are fewer children in the park, fewer people playing with their dogs, and the woman next door has finally closed her window so that I do not hear her shrieking baby anymore.

There are fewer kids setting off fireworks at night. Fewer festivals involving pirates and jets.

Movies are always better in the autumn. Maybe because the kids have all gone back to school so the movies with fewer special effects and fart and poop jokes and Adam Sandler are gone and the movies with greater substance and humanity and quieter narrative arcs have a better shot at getting an audience without being in competition with the blockbuster junk.

The air is still fairly warm in late September but possesses a chill that gives it a vividness and edge that is pleasant to the skin invigorating and silver.

There is also that underlying sadness implicit in loss. Though as autumn progresses, loss becomes less implicit and far more explicit. That maniacal grin of pumpkins lit from inside by a candle eye sockets gold and flickering teeth sharply silhouetted against that inner light says it all: death is pretty. Strangely, wonderfully pretty.

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