planetless night, wendell berry, notes

22/08/2013

Am at the terrace of my home – trying to view the stars, but the resident haze does not permit much – only a weeping moon is visible, nestled in Capricornus… Could not identify a single planet,  including the one  that I am living on and off.

Or, it merely so happened that at this time, I could not see any planet – may be local conditions are responsible, dunno. I Squint, try hard to view at least a few comforting  constellations or at least, some telltale  signs of them, but nothing is visible – but for an Ameriki satellite on a NearEarthOrbit, streaking north -> southwards.

… Have been thinking about what kind of planet are we going to leave behind for our next generation, if we don’t all prematurely go up in a mushroom cloud, that is.

It is quite revealing… Leave alone the environmental degradation, the kind of stuff that passes for ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’ and ‘living’ and ‘parenting’  and ‘nutrition’ and ‘quality’ and ‘medicine’ and ‘work’ and ‘discussion’ and ‘ethic’ and … … — sheesh – makes one feel utterly and hopelessly gloomy.

I read a poem of Sriman WBerry, quite good and reflective of my current mood:

The peace of wild things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

… I run to the nearby lake – which is home to a zillion purple moorhens and cattle egrets and occasional spoonbills  and  an odd painted stork or two  – and walk along its banks in knee-deep slush amidst thickset cat tails and silence all around.

And, I stop dead in my tracks, even as I watch a rat snake slithering across ahead of me, on its way to a meal – an unsuspecting frog looking at something else, unaware of what is going to happen. I do not want to disturb the food-chain in operation. Yes, I know that I am merely a part of another food chain. Microbes and Fire, here I come.

I look for some sign, some sign that I am not losing it completely.  Then I see a beautiful set of meteors crashing down, streaking across the horizon, burning to nothingness. (rather late Perseids or what?)

Yeah. I think, may be, I have become free too. Um, or may be, I am hallucinating as is my wont.

It is well past midnight. I walk back home accompanied by friendly mongrels sniffing at me, at my mud coated legs, wagging their rather tails furiously, oh the comfortingly familiar trappings…

I wash-up, brew some black coffee and begin to leaf through my dog-eared copy of the good ol’ JJ – Sila kurippukal – I realize that there is this particular mood that I get into, that makes me hunt down this novel fantastic – in my desolate and cold basement library lined with languid dead trees.

Ah, the sense of melancholic peace that wafts in. Oh the pleasures of reading real literature in my own lovely mother tongue.

… Suddenly remember that I have to leave very early in the morning on some errand and so decide not to sleep. I finish my nth reread of the book by 4.00AM and catch the first bus to the city at 4:20AM.

Arbeit macht frei. Ja.

May be I am really, really, maddeningly  mad.

JournalEntry# September 5, 2003.

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