Saturday, June 23, 2012

Savonarola’s Ghost

When one’s time horizons are restored—even if only temporarily (the workmen are gone, but they’ll be back)—then the ordinary daily trials resume. But better ordinary woes than strangers underfoot. The first of these is waking up to find myself (disgusting!) still here. The longer I sleep the longer I stay captured by what I think of as the physical—unless the papers trigger one of my routines. Then, with adrenaline flowing, I tend to go off on crusades.

That, of course, still leaves me in the world; not quite the physical, but certainly half-submerged. I’d rather be in some ideal setting where order reigns and everything, looked at closely, retains its sanity. So why bother looking out? Why look at the great social-collective? What draws me, I think, is its seemingly greater scope—something lacking (but also only seemingly) in my concrete drive, my scraggly grass, and the familiar glories of our plants and flowers. The mind’s tempted by the too-rich information that lets one (once more seemingly) encompass the whole globe. But what mirrors back from that is disorderly enough to signal just how bad things are—even if, reason tells me, the “bad” out there is no worse in proportion to mundane daily life than it is right here in my own backyard.

Behind this lies a reflexive identification with community—including my ancestors who tried to pass their values on to me. It grieves me how little they actually managed to pass on. But at least they tried. Occurs to me that there is an archetype in here, in me, called Savonarola, close kin to an actual person by that name. And from it rises—before my mind’s completely awake—a harangue to the wicked. If Brigitte is awake, she gets to hear it. If I’m really captured, it goes out silent as a blog-post. But sometimes I manage to wake up enough to remember to look within. Then, finally, I feel energized and cheerfully go to make that second cup of the morning quite relaxed.

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