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Hige sceal þē heardra, heorte þē cēnre,
mōd sceal þē māre, þē ūre mægen lytlað.
But shall it? Shall we? We’ve come again to this spot, staring from the valley to the high green walls towering over us. We see no sun, and the fear of evil is upon us. What is a child to do but weep at all the green growth in grief and death in life?
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
We are all falling apart at the seams, like moth-eaten wedding gowns our grandmothers closeted away—like leather-bound books too much read by careless boys with calloused hands—like old oaks cracked by a hundred frosts. We are all dwindling and diminishing and going blind. We are told that we must give up our life to save it; perhaps, like Oedipus and Tiresias of old, we must be blind before we see.
My God, my God: wean me of this melancholy; but I shall not cry “Enough!” ’til You are through.
This summer has been filled with strange insights in unexpected places. I have been worked to exhaustion time and time again, my skin and bones painfully repining against my abuse. As the summer solstice came and passed, my muddy and bloody pursuits brought me face to face with a number of serious and difficult questions about the world in which I live. One might wonder how building playgrounds—be as it may in the merciless Texas sun—would elicit existential quandaries; I would never have thought it possible until it happened to me.
As far as problematic philosophical questions go, one of the most perennially pestiferous—that is, the problem of evil in the world—has caused me little trouble. Evil itself has handed me a few blows, but the concept of it and its existence has not pestered me unduly; however, of late, a tangential cousin of the problem of evil has appeared to stir up mistrust, spreading even so far as God. But first I must clarify my position.
This summer has incited the creation of a theory. As a result of numerous experiences throughout my two months of strenuous physical labor (much involved with sharp and heavy objects) I posit the following as a Natural Law of the Universe:
Firstly, injuries are inevitable. Secondly, after suffering any injury, the likelihood of repeatedly injuring yourself in the same spot is exponentially proportional to the inconvenience, aggravation, and pain it would cause. Thirdly, with annoying injuries on vital parts of one’s body (primarily meant to include the face, the hands, and the feet), the probability of repeatedly hurting the same spot (until the frustration and pain drive you nearly to tears) approaches absolute certainty.
Personal experience, rigorous double-blind studies, and confabulation with my brother (who is the same line of work) have confirmed this. I laughed when the theory formed in my head. Recognition of this truth caused me some grim humor for a while; soon, though, it began to cause me questions. How, I asked myself while driving steel screws into steel pipes and repeatedly slipping so as to drive the knuckle on my middle finger painfully into a pipe, can this be? I go hours without injuring myself; then, just after finally scraping my knuckle on some wire mesh, I suddenly injure the same spot over and over again within twenty minutes in a half dozen different ways. It is as if one small injury suddenly gets in and then immediately invites all his friends over for a party. To my chagrin (though I have been known as something of a wild party animal in my own day), their parties involve a great deal of smashing things into my already wounded body. My behavior does not change, and yet the injuries come in quick succession. It is as if some malevolent force took pleasure in my pained frustration.
Ah, that was it. In the end, I was faced with the fact that there is no natural reason this should prove true. And, yet, it does, as my scarred fingers will cry evidence for years to come. If this be true, then the source of this happening is a grave problem. The atheist must shrug their shoulders in defeat for they have no explanation. The orthodox Christian must grant it to God’s sovereignty and ineffable wisdom. The Eastern religions must chalk it up to karma. For myself, I cannot grant that God actively pursues the annoying harm of His people, and so there must be another option. I have decided it must be fairies. There can be little doubt.
P.S. Dear readers, I shall leave you about two thirds through what I originally intended because it is late now and I must go to bed so that I may work in the morning. Goodnight.
It is after two o’clock in the morning. Mostly empty word documents on my screen glare ugly and white; fluorescent lights glow pale and dreadful behind me. My little study corner feels like a hospital. I need a hospital, I suspect; my body is upset at me. My lips are burnt from drinking steaming hot coffee, and my stomach repines against the lack of any healthy food or drink. Nothing without caffeine has entered my body for a while now. Bib & Research is not going well and I am growing angry, almost letting myself slip into despair. Despair inheres in this silly class.
And then I play Tchaikovsky’s Violin concerto in D Major. I close my eyes for a few minutes, blocking out the glaring white. There are a few moments where I feel as if I were flying, and I suspect that this is much like dying will be. This is the eye of the storm; the peace will soon pass. This is the eye of God; the peace will not soon pass.
A little light slips between the crack in a broken window blind. Outside, a yellow streetlight glows and one of its thin rays shines into my bedroom, resting on my pillow. At night, I stare at this little ray of light. The whole of the room around it is pitch dark, thick with the black, but on my pillow is this singular rebellion against the night. I don’t know what to think of it. Part of me takes a pleasure in the stubborn refusal of the light to surrender to the night, but part of me wishes that nighttime were for the dark. If nothing else, those thoughts that accompany the inactivity of the coming little death are always a bit brighter for the light. My thoughts occasionally need something small to lighten them. These nights of late need it all the more.
I love this season. November must be my favorite month without exception, and only closely followed by December. The melancholic chill beneath grey skies always relieves a sense of isolation that I often feel upon me. I have yet to explain the cause of this. I think my thoughts are often grey (though this need not be a sadness, but a greyness maugre) and that the sky can reflect this same feeling comforts me. Foolish thought that has been with me for many a year, I know it is.
It is a month to avoid schoolwork. I would love to lie in the grass, cocooned in a warm jacket, staring up at the sky. The summer sun is bright and my eyes have always been sensitive to such. Most months of the year my ken is the ground beneath my feet and little more. The winter is different. I can lift my head and enjoy the sky. The cold cracks my skin, burns at times. It envelopes me and pierces me with its icicles, but I can take an aesthetic pleasure from the sensation that the summer’s heat does not give me. It is a good season.
I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to read and write. I ought to work on this. I am going to leave this be and wander off into the rest of my early Saturday morning. It seems like a good night to wander around Jackson. There is little sense to this, I’m afraid, and less purpose. Mere atoms falling upon the brain. I depart…and dwindle.
While I decry the obsession with the superficial, I am, nevertheless, attempting to find a layout for this humble little blog that suits those few, those happy few, that band of brothers, who actually might read this. With this in mind, I will probably be changing layouts as I have time to browse through options and see things that strike my fancy. If you, cherished reader, happen to have any thoughts on whatever layout is current, please share. If, even, you are struck by some fancy as a result of the layout, though it might not bear on the layout itself, please share.
I don’t imagine this magazine-esque format will last long, but it has a certain aesthetic appeal that is not wholly distasteful at 2 in the morning.