Friday, June 17, 2011

Slow Life With Shared Weather

There's a line from Ashbery's "Flow Chart" that goes like this:
No ape or man stands alone who knows it.
I started this trip totally alone, and I'll be that way again soon. For the past 3 days I've been riding and camping with an awesome couple, Olive and Ben ( They nicknamed me Bambi, and while riding up a hill I appropriated a friend's phrase to come up with the name Unborn Loneliness Helicpoter for my bike.

Olive is reading The Good Earth. The physical work done in that book is a toil against the earth that over generations turns into a toil with the earth, a symbiosis, and at best, a transcendence. The bike and the road are the only possible backdrop for anything one could feel for the 2-3 months spent on this trip. To name something is "to interpret it lovingly." Well, I miss Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky. I miss those chances to suffer on the climbs, to be able to consciously choose in every stroke to not be tired of it, to be grateful for any sensation that comes (a dance teacher once called pain "information"). Transcendence is also the goal here. There's the annual "transcendence race" in Queens. A few dozen men from all over the world walk around one city block for over 1,000 miles. It takes months and months, and every day they change directions - "There is no goal. It doesn't exist. It's just your mind playing a trick on you."

Anyway, you can expend effort until you don't feel much alone. Loneliness is, maybe, too often a weakness we express due to fear of feeling something worse. People are, after all, "shit-shows of fear."*

Details boil off. Details boil off, and you don't have to deal with the hum of other people's distant rationed whims. Just your own fear, and other people resplendent in their passing oddness, and you in yours.

*Amanda Nadelberg.

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