Lazarus here... in Limbo... "Waiting for Godot." One can haunt a particular area
only so long before all its topical interest creeps away. Im
beyond that point... and then some:
a typical cluster of teddy-bear cholla contains
three-hundred and forty-seven primary spines;
shadows cast by knee-high boulders on a plot of
level ground change color throughout the day, passing from grayish-purple to burnt sienna
to beige then back again, with several subtle gradations in between;
lizards do push-ups either to protect territory
or to attract mates;
gone batty is an expression that must
have been coined by someone whose hearing could detect said furry little creatures
high-pitched, dusk-to-dawn, infuriating squeals!
Need I continue?
During my traveling years, I began to suspect that the need for new
contexts, cultures, and challenging situations, masked a deeper need to stay put, to
concentrate on the commonplace, to understand the macrocosm inside each microcosm. It was
an inkling that gained philosophical appeal as physical prowess started to lose its edge.
Making it a rationalization? Maybe. But as my joints creaked more arthritically and my
immune system fought off exotic maladies with less success, my appetite for diversity
gradually waned... until now, that is, arrested as I am at age seven-zero—plus
decomposition time—and presented with no alternative to eating every crumb on this
circumscribed plate... in lieu of contemplating my nonexistent navel. To what end, I
cant help asking? Of what earthly good is a heightened sensory awareness to someone
no more linked to the sensory plane? Something is missing. And it's not the fact that my
'tactile' capacity has yet to be reinstated; Im starving from want of brain food, is
my main complaint.
The secret of God is death, Yayuk once told me—in
Blantyre, Malawi, I think it was. When die, we learn that secret.
Well... how is it Im none the wiser? Yayuk also told me
that Faith was the only nourishment for a person's immortal soul—a believer,
evidently, would cross into the Next Life on more than an empty stomach. I was fed these
tidbits whenever Ms. Kertanegara passed by a mosque, or beheld a spectacular sunset, or saw
something marvelous for the first time—a baobab tree, for instance. Such events
always moved her to appreciate life's Divine Origin... at which I'd
typically scoff, Heaven help me�for Heaven only knows, I'm not so cocksure
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