“. . .no Notice — no Dissent No Universe — no laws —. . .”

snow day
A student asked me the other day why my writing has so many dashes—if that’s a good way to write. I told him, no, it’s not. Unless you’re Emily Dickinson.

Great Streets of silence led away
To Neighborhoods of Pause

Here was no Notice no Dissent
No Universe
no laws

By Clocks, ’twas Morning, and for Night
The Bells at Distance called —
But Epoch had no basis here
For Period exhaled

Otherwise, too many dashes can—and most probably will—confuse your reader.

I woke up this morning with the ceiling fan in my inamorato’s bedroom on my mind. Nearly every night when I am here, I go to sleep with the image of the mystery fan in my mind. Five shadows, four blades.

Of course, I know it isn’t so—the fan does have five blades. But one disappears into the ceiling. The colors, at the direction of the interior decorator, of ceiling and fan are identical, of course. Here are no notice, no dissent, no universe, no laws.

In December of 2004, I planted a tree in memory of my partner who had died but a month before—planted it in the front lawn of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Farmers Branch, Texas, with the help of many friends and the blessing of the pastor. A place for a tree to grow for years, decades, for as long as I would be around. I was organist of the church.

A book I know well says, “We will not regret the past, nor wish to close the door on it.” I have tried for years to come to terms with that concept. To make it part of my self-perception. Internalizing the idea is pretty difficult for me because much in my past I wish had been otherwise than it was.

I know, I know. Everyone can say that—and would if she were being unabashedly honest. But whether wishing it were not so is the same as regretting, I’ll let keener minds than mine decide. My distinction is that I can regret only those choices I made consciously and willingly, while I can wish experiences over which I had little or no control had not happened.

In the winter of 2010, it snowed in Dallas—a not unheard-of event, but unusual because it was real snow, three inches deep. On that day the pastor of St. Paul took a picture of me in front of the memorial tree. It is, and always will be, the only picture I have of the tree. The church closed and the city of Farmers Branch, without ceremony—and probably without the awareness of any city father or mother—uprooted my tree as they tore down the building to erect a new fire station.'fan-1

I could—and in some iteration of my life would—have been devastated by the destruction of the tree. It saddened me, but I am too old (but not too wise) to be devastated by such things.  Partly because the summer before I discovered Paradise Point at Port Orford, Oregon. I love the beaches around Port Orford because even in summer they are too misty and cool for Americans’ taste—no danger of melanoma (which is what took my late partner) there. But you can walk for miles and not see another person. In the beauty. In the spectacular beauty. My students understand this less clearly than they understand writing with dashes.

A morning meditation I read daily (for reasons I can’t explain because I believe less and less in either the efficacy of or the need for such things), today tells me that “. . .we need our own personal definition of spirituality—something that will work for us. . .” The writer says his/her “definition involves being positive and creative because I believe in a positive and creative force in the universe.”

Why I should be positive and creative because the universe is escapes me. Why I should try to be anything escapes me. The universe—it seems to me—is what it is. Trees grow and are cut down. We love, and our beloved die. We find solace and joy walking the beach, and then we find solace and joy having found again a beloved. All while we have a private view of absurdity—a shadow cannot be made by nothing or a sentence by a dash—unless, of course we understand that
By Clocks, ’twas Morning, and for Night
The Bells at Distance called

But Epoch had no basis here
For Period exhaled

Paradise Point,Port Orford, Oregon

Paradise Point, Sunset
Port Orford, Oregon

I just discovered this blog about Port Orford. It’s worth a read.

About Harold Knight
Retired English prof, SMU. Old man. Musician. Passionate about justice, equality, freedom. Therefore, I am a fervent supporter of and advocate for the Palestinian People as they struggle to survive genocide. That also means, of course, I have no use for US 45.

2 Responses to “. . .no Notice — no Dissent No Universe — no laws —. . .”

  1. Penny says:

    Oh…I am so sorry Jerry’s tree is gone…..sometimes the end of one adventure….is the start of another. You’re on another. Hugs, Penny

  2. Pingback: “. . . Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.” | Me, senescent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: