Tuesday, October 4, 2011
October and the last of the light
I'm not sure if April is the cruelest month. It seems to be October.
October is the cruelest month because it gives us a glimpse of what we have lost, because it gives us flashes of lost sunlight under yellow trees that weep leaves but plunges us into darkness before we can gain our paradise lost.
And the glimmers of summer warmth only remind us that we wasted the summer in some indefinable way and it's gone now for another year, swallowed up in mushrooms, devoured in brown leaves and echoing down this haunted tunnel to Halloween.
"I can't believe it's October," says my boss.
And it serves to remind me that another year has slipped by at the same place. But if it hadn't slipped by at the same place it would have slipped by at another place and who am I to measure my happiness in months and years that fall like weights on the scales?
"Where were you?" said the lawyer, and I made my excuses while skirting the fact I had sought solitude and lunch alone so as I could watch the weak sunlight play on the grass of the Town Center, although I still despaired because it was too new and the fountains wide open and without imagination.
In an obscure way I longed for Versailles and the fountain I photographed so many years ago in which gilded horses ride up and surfed the water spouts; I figured I didn't long for Versailles as much as Louis XVI longed for the place. In his rat infested prison as the crowds bayed for his blood he must have thought of the gardens that go on for ever and the Hall of Mirrors. Like Joni Mitchell he had to get back to the garden but the guillotine waits for no man or monarch.
Louis must have thought the summer would go on for ever but October comes to us all. And while Keats boasted of his "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun," there's a transiance to his celebration. Keats was born on October 31 1795 and he died on February 23, 1821. He was only 25 years old but left a more powerful legacy than most of us could muster in 125 years.
Lives like his make me want to go out and do something and be something. But I have to load this dishwasher first and make this engagement and work on this project. And before I know it October will have slipped out of my grasp taking the last of the light with it.