Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Like all native Michiganders, I am obsessed with the weather, much to the chagrin of the locals, who seem not to notice the changes in temperature, wind, humidity, or cloud cover, as if the world around them was so unfathomable that to even question whether it would rain or not would be to invite the Mountains of Madness. Nonetheless, I am pleased to report that the mercury will only reach the mid-eighties today, a respite from the oppressive high nineties and early hundreds that have defined June in the Charm City. There is a cool wind from the north, which smells faintly of fresh lining; 'tis an auspicious day for the writer, the poet, or the musician, who can now safely commit themselves to their crafts without worry of mental fog.
The heat robs the imagination, causes the mind to see only that which is apparent, only that which lays upon the surface of the world. In the heat, the buildings; the row-houses, the towers, the skyscrapers, the train-stations, the derelict and the new; become nothing but piles of stone, like the abodes of mud-wasps or the hills of ants, nothing more than the piling of rock and stone and the earth, albeit in the human manner, with steep sides and the illusion of destiny. In the blue haze of summer on can fully understand with even a glance that bricks are merely chunks of mud cut and stacked, that stonework is nothing but stone scraped and chiseled, that even the concrete of the street is nothing beyond the rock of the earth poured into place. In the June heat, the world of mankind becomes nothing but the stacking of the earth upon itself in the strange notion that it is somehow better to do so, that the act itself is more lofty that laying in a field of dirt and muck. In the heat, mankind's problems seem less than petty: they are incomprehensible, the plights of ants, the daily worries of bees, the arguments of cockroaches. In the heat, I cannot care about anything.
But today is a cool day, at least compared to the new normal, and my mind is active again. Now again I see how important sky-scrapers, towers, row-houses, train-stations, the old and the new, are and what they signify. I can understand again why some men do not like other men, why life can be difficult, why I should care about art or writing or music. Bricks have become, once again, the divine tool of humans, used to subjugate, control, and direct the destiny of themselves and their planet. Bless the cool summer day, and damn the mindless heat.