Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Island

The Dhammapada speaks of creating for oneself -- by virtue of some deep virtue -- an island that no tide or flood can overwhelm. I've longed to be frozen in a  Gauguin paradise,  where summer years and summer women smile forever.  I've never found it to be possible, having been born as a straw in the torrent, having spent my life in a river of human madness, wasting my decades in a rage for calm and tranquility that  I've only momentarily tasted; storing away and fondling such moments in  furtive contemplation, as objects in a private gallery.

Life is not too much with me, the passions of people are: the mad velocity of  man, the fury, the sound, the howling, hurtling seething frenzy. It's hardly a secret that the recent explosion surrounding madmen with guns has dropped me into the hopeless, boiling depths of misanthropy, like a stone tossed in a witch's kettle which none of my toil and trouble can cool, but really that's what human events are, have been, will be like: a ferment, a boiling fed by unexamined fire and stirred by secret spoons to some unknown purpose -- or worse, to no purpose at all. So will it always be and we either simmer in the pot or dip our ladles as our situations have determined. Man is not a rational animal and any urge to be a pair of giant claws is only a latent vision of our essential nature.

 A January morning is gilding the treetops near and far into the infinite distance and the dew still glistens on the patio screens. I take my warm cup of hand picked, hand roasted, hand ground coffee from some remote village in Papua New Guinea outside into the creamy fragrant air to examine my bonsai. Lemons and Oranges hang from the gravid trees like Christmas ornaments, the Poinsettia bushes glare like retreating tail lights, a new day's worth of yellow Hibiscus flowers beckons. The forever forest of  white mangrove, mahogany, Sabal palm and buttonwood stretches to the end of the world.  It's still too early for the sea breeze but the soft roar of surf is always audible at this time of year when the scream of insects and birds is at a minimum. Shall I lounge in the hammock reading? Perhaps it will grow too warm.

86 new e-mails after the spam filter disposes of the worst, a smallish crop.  All kinds of breathless announcements of things Obama, the media, the NRA, the Tea Party or the Liberals don't want me to know. Protect the children, Protect your rights, Ban the Guns, Tax the Rich, buy some guns, weekend Ammo blowout!  Lose 30 pounds by next week with the miracle berry. Contribute NOW! before it's too late! The fiscal apocalypse is coming.  Pssssst -- want a date?

Headlines: 1800 burglaries in this mostly rural county in 2012. 8 in my neighborhood this week, one armed home invasion -- shots were fired. We need to buy guns.  We need to ban guns. We need and need and need and it's their fault and we need it now.

10 miles away, where the country road crosses the Turnpike, the big pickups with the off-road suspension are pushing the Jags and leased Bentlys from their tasks of  snobbing at the KIAs and Hyundaes and the Luxo-Utility egoboxes are trying to intimidate everyone, assaulting rear bumpers like Chrome plated rapists while they stumble over their own tires trying to keep any fast vehicles from passing them before they get to the entrance ramp where their entrance will be blocked by countless angry machines trying to get past each other at 95 on their mad diurnal migration down to Palm Beach or Boca or Lauderdale.

Worn out, sunburned, dented fender, busted window; Peasant, poseur and ponce. Pasted with bumper stickers:
Change You Can Step in , 
Save the Turtles, 
Jesus is Lord.  
The End of an Era
Ron Jon Surf Shop - Coco Beach
Wage earners, payment makers, inflated egos intent on arriving at their appointed places of deflation and cringing conformity -- and before that other son of a bitch -- screaming, screaming, screaming radios cursing the Right and the Left, big rigs cursing the four-wheelers, country boys cursing the yuppies. Rush hour rodents, their tails on fire. Next performance at 4:00 PM.

Out at the St Lucie inlet, the tide is coming in.

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