Monday, November 28, 2016

Two weddings

I was at a wedding ceremony.

The pastor prayed, preached for an hour, prayed, dictated the vows to the couple, prayed, had them sign the legal certificate, prayed and went on his way to prayers elsewhere. We who remained ate and listened to saccharine speeches wishing the couple all the best, meanwhile we caught up with old friends. Then we all departed.

The next day I arrived late to another wedding. Its format must have been much like the first, but I walked in while a choir was singing. Next item on the agenda was the signing of the certificate. The pastor spent a hood deal of time lightheartedly casting doubt on the groom's potential for steadfastness while in the same vein greatly exaggerating the bride's loyalty and virtue. While he was joking, he carried on for such a duration that I got tired. What kind of precedent is that to set for a marriage? Right on the wedding day, setting up the wife as prefect over the husband, with authority to henpeck him in good times or bad. But he was joking, right. Fortunately it was over eventually and everyone soon trooped off to a reception at a different venue halfway across town.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dark Night of the Soul

The killjoy tone of this blog probably drove all readers away by now. It remains desolate, my haunted hall in which to face my inner demons, in the snatches of relative calm when I am not fighting or fleeing.

Many monsters inhabit the uncharted depths of the mind. In the absence of distractions, in solitude, the surface of the mind is penetrated, but sight sees only far enough to predict "more darkness ahead."

When your life is in a dark phase, like mine has been for many years, you do what it takes, you keep going, pushing on the best you can, until you are out of the valley of the shadow of death.

Life sometimes throws you its spare change in its careless haste to bombard you with lemons. An old flame reaches out, a good guitar solo, a beautiful girl's smile, a ray of sunshine through the clouds on a cloudy day. You treasure these trinkets dearly, they are gone too fast.

The void, the black empty chasm in which my heart is suspended, an unfeeling vacuum, it engulfs everything eventually.

Company provides less than fleeting escape. It is a chance encounter with a similarly afflicted soul, also rootless, suspended in the void, driven by forces of gravity and of propulsion beyond sight or control; you just happen to cross paths.

With a little luck you might exchange cordial noises to momentarily drown out the void's oppressive silence, to occupy each other's minds with irrelevant distractions, because the void is mind-bogglingly vast, and all of it aches in both your chests, and we in mercy turn blind eyes at others' voids, because what can we do anyway?

Will we recite canned motivational lines, for the void to swallow whole the minute we find ourselves alone again? No. Crack a joke. Laugh. It won't echo back. Float away on your lugubrious way.

Or maybe reach out, grasp and hold onto the other? Perhaps they grasp and hold as well? Have one another at least?

Is it less of a void when many are in it? Or do voids combine forces, confounding the efforts of those who would assemble armies against them?

Monday, November 14, 2016


From a great height, far out of sight, struck a blow that fell with devastating effect upon a towering tree in whose shadow we rested.