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The Coming of the O

And the Hoboes, too.

Friday, January 23, 2009
Fayetteville, Arkansas

We are isolated here at Crowís Cottage. By that I mean we control, as best we can, given the limits of a solitary endeavor, the goings in and comings out of humans and ideas.

None other than paid help is overtly interested in coming here. We raise our walls and live behind them. The crows stand sentinel on taller trees.

Control is such a vain and fleeting thing, mostly an illusion. Iím not about to confuse control with Free Will, either. The one is mundane, the act of strivers and the paranoid. The other is an enigma of philosophers and theologians, who ask us, innocently Iím sure, to ponder the fullness of life, its direction and presumed outcomes.

Not wanting to be mundane or a striver, I hereby relinquish all control. The exterminators and jackboots can wreak their havoc now. They can amputate my six insect legs, squash and silence my rampant ideas. What do I care? I can grow more, find more, live off the fat of the land.

Iíve been wanting to write you a letter for some time now, but the distractions are legion, like devils and dervishes, like wailing sirens in the night. Despite them, Iíve begun a thousand thoughts, floated a hundred thought streams to right near their confluence, paused to dive, raised ten full barrels from the depths, laid them on the level shore, the very place I imagine is mine to dance upon.

You can see what Iím doing, counting down from a thousand to the logical endpoint, which is one. But I canít stop there. Another follows, then another. They gather in a conical pile like a mound of fallen sand, or harvested grain, sifting through a narrow spout from the above to the below.

I canít sort through them in time to make sense of it for you. But what do you care? Really. Iíve no doubt you can figure it out entirely on your own.

So, anyway, to coin a phrase and saw a log, to cast for the clichť like a fisher of terms and conditions, I tell you the truth, I'm ensconced here at the cottage, where the mighty angels protect us; where the heat of fiery natural gas, propelled by powerful fans, warms us; and where an abundance of leisure, the gift of austerity, allows me to be thinking of you.

Tell me, O far away one, how are you, now that another winter is a comingí in and the leaves have fallen from the trees? Are you hot on the heels of your ruling passion? Do you still believe that dreams come true?

Since we last visited, much water has flowed under our elastic and moveable bridge. Youíve seen it on the highways, spanning the collective. We traverse it daily, participating, willfully or in chains, in a shared society. The streaming ribbands of diverse and intersecting cultures are roaring by.

Since then, the chattering class tells me, another Great Depression has descended upon the land. Theyíve convinced me. I wonder, do you believe it, too?

How soon shall the hoboes in their worn shoes, their possessions in a sack on a stick, be walking this way, looking for a cooling apple pie on the window sill of a gracious mamaís kitchen?

How soon shall the radical political movements come out of the closet and spill their angry adherents onto the streets?

The rich are running out of money at an alarming rate. The printing presses of their servants at the treasury are not able to make for them stacks of new dollars swiftly enough.

With prospects and visions disappearing fast, the voters of the United States of America went ahead and elected the first president whose last name begins with the letter O. I know it to be true because I saw it on the TV, saw his ascension to the highest seat of political power, saw the pictures of his majestic inauguration on the Capitol steps, him standing on a union man's platform, square and stout, below the soaring glass-and-granite dome.

But frankly, I must take them at their word, these reporters and talking heads, some in black and white on the page, others in brilliant colors on the screen. To me, itís the usual mystery.

Iíve never seen this man called Obama, never looked upon his personage with my very own eyes. How could I, being anchored here in the hermitage, our X Haven, where my front door opens to an insignificant street, stretching one thousand miles to the District of Columbia? There at the end of the road, O is purported to reside.

He is the One, the rising oak, the orphan without his father, the omega that brings an end to the puzzle.

And another shall arise, and another at the intersection of the axis, moving this way and that to confound us all.

But Iím distracted again. Forgive me if you may. I came here thinking about you, and then, in the usual way, got led astray by warnings of a Depression just Ďround the bend, and then by a stray rumination on the coming of the O.

Did you ever imagine that so many days and nights would divide today from the moment we last sat down to visit?  Not I.  Did you ever imagine that the son of a free African man and a woman free white and twenty-one would become the leader of the land?  I?   I did.  Yes, I did.

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Search then
the ruling passion:
there, alone,
The wild
are constant,
and the
cunning known;
The fool consistent,
and the
false sincere;
Priests,
princes,
women,
no dissemblers
here.
This clue
once found, unravels all
the rest.

Alexander Pope
An Epistle to Cobham, 1734



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