Saturday, June 27, 2009

The past is a warehouse full of motives

It's the end of June, a Saturday I think. Every time I settle myself out in the backyard to watch the birds a pissy little shower comes along to chase me indoors. The neighborhood is quiet except for an occasional peal of distant thunder. The rain keeps the usual weekend power tool brigade at bay. And the two women next door didn't come up for the weekend, as they usually do, in their yellow Mini Cooper, the one chain-smoking while her partner does yard work, with their little hyper city dog who goes tearing across my lawn with his silly pink tongue hanging out. He likes me. Most dogs do. All I have to do is act funny, scratch them behind the ears, and throw them a table scrap every once in a while. I think I'll write a book about how dogs can teach humans to love themselves -- it seems there's always room on the bookstore shelves for another one of those, doesn't it, poot?

I'm a little worried about the future, despite the fact that Quist always said the future would take care of itself. But I'm more worried about the past -- suppose I forget what happened and lose track of how I got to be here, among these green leaves, lake cottages, and wild Jersey animals? Plus all these Ron Paul Republicans up here -- how did that happen? Maybe it's the libertarian in me that tolerates their looniness. I want to be angry with them, but, in the end, I can't, instead I hear a voice from the distant past intone, "Remember what Jesus taught us -- hate the sin, love the sinner." I guess it would be like getting angry with someone because they're ill.

I cut the grass this morning during a lull in the weather. The robins and blue jays get a kick out of harvesting bugs in a new mown lawn. At least I made somebody happy. The truth is, I don't know how I got here. Each day brings a fresh bout of uncertainty, as though a careless author had lost the outline of his novel two-thirds of the way through and started making it up on the fly. Then I think to myself, you mean it's taken you more than five decades to figure out that we've got a careless author in charge? Or is it the unreliable narrator who's telling the story?

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