“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.”
—–Shakespeare, Henry V, Act-III, Scene-I
There are a lot of brick walls in my part of town (inner-ring suburb) dividing the houses and yards from the every-mile streets – dividing the neighborhood from the outside world.
If you look at these walls, especially at places where streets dead-end into the surrounding road – you will see an odd variation in the types of bricks used. People don’t stop. Cars veer out of control. Then it is time to repair the wall – and exact matches of brick are impossible to find.
On a bike ride I came across an intact breaching – waiting for a work crew to come out in the summer heat and mortar new almost-matching bricks back into the breach.
It’s impossible not to look through the hole – sometimes it’s surprising what’s on the other side.
“I have the not altogether unsatisfying impression that civilization is collapsing around me.
Is it my age, I wonder, or the age we live in? I am not sure. Civilizations do collapse, after all, but on the other hand people grow old with rather greater frequency.”
― Theodore Dalrymple
Decaying wall, Ladonia, Texas
Over the weekend we drove out to some garage sales centered around the tiny towns of Ladonia and Pecan Gap, Texas. We didn’t buy anything other than some State-Fair-Ribbon-Winning jam. It was interesting to be out in the country for a while – you don’t have to drive too many miles out of the big evil megalopolis of Dallas until you are in another world – one not altogether unfamiliar to me. Old building crumbling to brick, an old cast-iron bath tub rusting in a vacant lot, the cotton harvest. Time moves differently, like cold molasses.
“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”
― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle
“Then there was a fine noise of rushing water from the crown of an oak at his back, as if a spigot there had been turned. Then the noise of fountains came from the crowns of all the tall trees. Why did he love storms, what was the meaning of his excitement when the door sprang open and the rain wind fled rudely up the stair, why had the simple task of shutting the windows of an old house seem fitting and urgent, why did the first watery notes of a storm wind have for him the unmistakable sound of good news, cheer, glad tidings?”
― John Cheever,The Swimmer
detail of mural by Amber Campagna, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
“In my father’s last letter he said that the world is run by those willing to take the responsibility for the running of it. If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it. In the law courts, in business, in government. There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.”
― Cormac McCarthy, Suttree
“Squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I’m beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you’re starving
and eating all of the words you said.”