Monday, July 10, 2006

iron bridges they rattle, they rattle, they never give way

"Let your state of life motivate you."

~Erasmus, Enchiridion Militis Christiani

My Dad likes to tell me that every day is a mini-project. Today that idea has come to mind, with the fortunate circumstance of being able to tie together all of the days street conversations, phone calls, communications, patron queries- all of it- and see it as a large composite mosaic. At the café where I go on my break, their dishwasher overflowed and their roaster broke- and the clerk left in charge needed a cheer. (And I needed someone to talk to.) A traveling researcher needed to find the East End. A singer in a band needed French lyrics. An orphanage worker needed transportation, and then told me she had once tried to commit suicide- and had been mysteriously thwarted. I needed something for my home, and unable to find it in the mazes of the characterless world of Big Boxes, I bumped into a very wise old friend. This was just about an hour ago. Right in the middle of an apparently lifeless, vast and shadeless parking lot, I heard an elderly little voice say, is that you?

At times the search for mercy can be a foraging for a friendly face in a foreign airport. Other times its written on walls and sidewalks. Liminal space is impossible to calculate, and I'm beginning to see that part of the reason for having to dwell in the provisional- as out-of-step with everything around me as it looks- is for me to learn something about who I am and what I know. The wilderness, the desert, as the biblical metaphor goes, is prone to mirages- to false substitutes for what can only be found by holding fast to what is real. The added danger, of course, is not to leave such concepts in the abstract, but to specify what real means

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