July Journal, ’22

Photo by SARAH WILLIAMS on Pexels.com

Summer envelopes the world in a blinding scorch. Extremes that we who know something about wintering are not accustomed to. The city ablaze within a fog of sweat and concrete, slow and sparse signs of life. My days home from wandering must be strictly regimented — hour by hour with the scheduled task, whether obligatory or recreational, so that there are no wasted minutes of this awakening. The opportunity of each golden moment extracted to its maximum. How I wish there were more balance with the rest of the year, rather than this tunnel-vision preoccupation with the daily school grind. Recovery, rediscovery of the senses, of the world near and far. Retreat, remedies. Sweltering peace and long, sky-lit days. The dream of cycles, seasons, murmurs from indignant earth, holding onto its fierce intelligence. Rest and re-focus, recalibration of the body towards synchronicity with self.

“There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable, about a word that goes silent in transit.” – Anne Carson

For so long, it’s always felt like there was never really a clear avenue of transit between the sensations and half-formed thoughts floating within the walled-off capsule of the interior world and the waiting, expectant ear of the interlocutor. This path, which seemed paved over and polished when it came to other speakers, was obstructed with brambles, thorns, and giant solitary trees within my silent chest. Talk and discourse, always a rough and inexact translation of the mind’s lonely castle, language being a sort of learned, mystical magic. The voice would be the dragon-hearted, stringed wand for spellcasting and story-weaving. Speech is the way we attempt to see into others and unravel / unburden ourselves from the stones at the core of our still fluidity. It is not so much translation as a transfiguration.

Mid-day traverse through the neighborhood. An apathetic assortment of sharply textured angles magnifying the sun’s glare. New pedestrian buttons now at the intersection, because it is now harder to cross the street. I pass by the doctor’s office (where a year ago, we puzzled through the causes of my insomnia) and Palmer Park, still within the swelter except for the lone, pensive dog walker (where we once picnicked and listened to the lugubrious strings of European folk music in a hopeful prayer that the pandemic would soon end). The small celebratory flag banner across an iconic window, once the looking-glass of imperiled inspiration, is now drab and bleached of its colors. The condos in progress leer with their ridiculous windows, vacant of promise. The city feels used up, tired. Relentlessness of summer and time’s drag, fading and drying like a cut petal. Undercurrent of angst in the onward plod towards home.

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