Realizing that it had been a while since I posted a selfie here on this blog, I pressed the shutter-release button on my webcam hastily and then noticed that the picture was flawed because of that blur on my left (your right) so I kept the result.
Some people have made a fortune by playing the stock market. I wonder how those people feel when they wake up before the sun has risen, and the morning air is cold and dark and unwelcoming. When a person makes a fortune from the stock market, she becomes a member of the class of those who’ve suffered likewise; and henceforward she acts exactly the same way as those people. Anyone who has rapidly acquired wealth can no longer see that winter is the time when everything ceases to live.
But none of this is true—that’s why I wrote it: I wanted to make some errors from which to backtrack.
Not all wealthy people feel exactly the same way about existence. Not everything dies in winter. I know a few people who have survived numerous winters. And I’ve heard that certain creatures sleep through the snowy season. Three nights ago (which is about the duration of time that it took for Jesus to die and resurrect), I re-watched the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)—the thought of sleeping through winter brought to mind that vignette with the hibernating scientists.
Corn must have some strange relation to wintertime, since it thrives on decay. Last weekend, my sweetheart and I visited a wild park; and, in order to get there, we had to pass by fields of corn. So corn was on my mind; also because I heard someone in a documentary assert that corn grows well on corpses. When my sweetheart and I were passing these fields, I said to her:
You know that my friends are all members of bands: not brass bands or big bands from the Swing Era, but clean-cut Rock and Roll bands from the 1950s. Well, these friends of mine always complain when their tour bus drives them through the State of Iowa, because they say that its scenery consists of nothing but row after row of corn. They call this “the boring part of the road trip.” But now that I have seen these fields with my own eyes, I can say to my friends:
Cornfields are supremely interesting—their uniformity is terrifying: they communicate a surreal truth simply by existing. If you look at each individual stalk, it seems unique; but when you pass by the row in a vehicle traveling at high speed, all of the stalks blend together and become the same stalk: you begin to suspect that you’re trapped in a repeating background loop from a Saturday-morning cartoon. This is heaven on earth.
Talking of corpses rising from the dirt as edible commodities made me think of the “garden style” bagels that we purchased last April. The company that produced them gave them that funny title, which I enclosed in quotation marks: “garden style.”
Having been raised in the suburbs, I always envied anyone living in the city, and I (wrongly) looked down upon those who were raised in the country. But I only have one thing in common with city folk, alas: that is that I do not tend a garden.
So when my sweetheart fills our fridge with “garden style” bagels, I begin to wonder what this phrase on their package might mean. I think to myself: a garden could contain some stalks of corn that are fed with the corpses of fish. That would qualify as “garden style.” (I should mention, at this point, that I loved the taste of those bagels.)
My old roommate would eat bagels after spreading cream cheese on them. Cream cheese, back then, was available in various flavors. My roommate’s favorite cream cheese flavor—I kid you not—was salmon. Artificial pink was that cheese’s color.
Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson that I read to myself on this cold, dark, inhospitable morn: