Wednesday, May 10, 2006
state of: lost gravity, dreams vanish into day
Of course sometimes a blog is but an impoverished wunderkammer. A place to collect diverting 'things', or a semi-public (because always partly encoded) museum, of potential notes and sorts, fanciful and gay projections, postcards of future thoughts. (Good blogs sometimes must revisit themselves and seek, at least, to remain faithful to this potential, in my (perhaps unpopular) view. Even if only to declare like poor, endearing Krapp with his ginger, salty pride: "ach...drivel" or "stupid young bastard." Blogs that don't revisit tend to wear thin. While bloggers may not keep their promises, those that forget their promises as soon as they are made – indeed that make them precisely in order to forget – are boring. And that is to invoke both things, forgetfulness and boredom, in the very much banal or 'weak' sense, surely.
While boredom hasn't been an explicit theme here very often, still like the border collie's tilted ear, or the circuitous, Socratic polishing of an ever-elusive and slippery truth, or the more practiced, loving motion of an oily rag 'round the circumference of a certain glass, occassionally shaken until it snows...oh nevermind! Ray Davis will have understood.
I've been on vacation this past week, hiking countless miles, above treeline and within occasional reach of complacent, feral ponies. I've been walking ridges in the windswept clouds, with a million-pound backpack (and that's not even close to the price). How joyful to feel one's limbs, the surging of blood. The care of the body no longer mere nuissance, but rather an art. To look simultaneously within and significantly across, and down; Shopenhauer and progeny they would applaud!
Anyway, more postings shortly. Suffice to say, the Appalachian Trail is a good thing-in-the-world, and the woman I love is happily ensconced in its warm and friendly grip, not to be released 'til mid-summer. That I get to visit, often (and more often as she walks closer), choosing the most beautiful parts to share, is frankly, perfectly okay (as far as compromises go). A different rhythm to relations; indeed we've taken again to writing letters, in between.
I will say these few things:
Instant coffee (specifically of the Folgers, tea-bag variety) ought not be mixed with oatmeal and grapenuts, and then seven kinds of freeze-dried fruit, including pineapple.
Thru-hikers do not walk, they march (or rather, speed-walk, and down hills run).
Thru-hikers are composed primarily of college-headed, twenty-something white males, and forty-something white males, both fighting mid-life crises, and thirty-forty-something white females who failed to make the token thirty- or forty-something white female position for "Survivor." The forty-something males are half crazy (in a benign manner), if they've hiked the trail already. If not, they're splendid company. (Some of the twenty-somethings are okay as well...it's all a very social thing, there being only so many places along the way to sleep, or towns into which to get sucked.) The independent-minded women, in the 28-30 bracket, are naturally the most interesting, but they are rare, and very tough, as trail-creatures go.
To regular tourists, thru-hikers are foreign, bad-smelling gods. They are treated with due deference, as stewards of the path, and not a little fear (for verily blink and they are gone) They are short on words; sightings are over before they are begun. When not on the trail, they and their beards (or - at least - hairy legs) are to be contained, like goofy circus creatures, in a small and rustic hut, preferably in the center of "town" for the locals to ignore, while on their way to church. Conjugal visits are of course best spent at luxurious B&B's.
There is a place where anonymous and small, fuzzy white flowers grow like a sea of emeralds, on green moss, amidst short and craggy trees. Something like this:
Hiking is excellent on the eyes. As is watching violent rainstorms that approach for hours, exactly parallel to one's height and at a distance of some hundred miles, and noticeably by the second, closing. Clouds being generally better than TV, in more ways than one can ever hope to count.
Men often get in shape faster than women, which is not fair. Especially when the woman is grudging because mildly injured, but otherwise really incredibly very fit.
Boredom of a certain sort is nothing less than sheer exhilaration. And very clearing.
Tekhne. The congealing of experience, drained of boredom's register of time, into lucid, exalting talking points is both life and death (or at least hell) to memory.
Anyone considering military service for reasons of "optimal physical condition" should simply hike instead. Getting to know your country, Jesus-style, is very patriotic. The chances of learning something (not to mention, surviving), and of preserving something important (and private) of oneself, are far, far greater (Roger, you should really mention this).
Vacations are in fact wonderful, and people should "do" them entirely more often. To "return home, and know the place again, as if for the first time."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- -
•Via Ben, here is the epitomic BoringBoring.
•Less satirically, Jon has a typically thoughtful post, with many interesting links.
•The Beiderbecke Affair writes (twice) on Amis (laudingly, alas).
•One could certainly do worse than to return to Spurious.
•Finally I appreciate how Steve reads the Litblog Co-Op, so that I don't have to.
Posted by Matt Christie at 10:31 PM