Tuesday, July 27, 2010
A Certain Kind of Symmetry and Other Wanderings
It has occurred to me that there is a kind of symmetry to my life thus far. True, it's been interrupted many times and for various lengths of time. Yet it is still there, this imperfect symmetry.
I was born and grew up on a peninsula that pointed South and which was, itself, on yet another peninsula which also pointed South. Now I live about as far away from those initial peninsulas as I can get and still remain within the same country. Diagonally, from Southeast to Northwest, I have ended up (though the suggestion that this is somehow the "end" is rather depressing) on yet another peninsula. This peninsula points North and is, itself, located on yet another peninsula which also points North. How unusual is that? There is certainly a symmetry, of sorts, to be seen here.
Oddly, at times here when a corner is turned and certain scenery comes into view, I am reminded strongly of that other peninsula. I find that rather amazing, given the distance between the two.
The other evening I lay in bed with cool air pouring in through my windows and listened to the lighthouse fog-horn periodically whonking its warning to ships traversing the strait. And I was reminded of a time, when I was back there - diagonally across this country on that other peninsula - when I would lie in bed and hear that uniquely mournful wail of train whistles. I remember my uncle used to say that the sound of the train whistle took on a completely different timbre when autumn was in the air. I wonder if the fog-horn warning the ships will sound differently as this summer turns to autumn. I wonder if I will remember to notice.
I hope I can be forgiven for this little bit of personal mind-wandering. I'm sitting here at the moment looking at a soft layer of fog that is flopped impertinently across the bay, robbing me of my view, and trying not to think of the discomfort I'm experiencing from the first round of some minor surgery yesterday. So I'm thinking, instead, of everything and anything else. Like... whatever happened to really good books? You know, the kind that don't have the F-word in every paragraph. Not that I've never said the F-word, mind you. I can swear with the best of them when the occasion warrants. It just seems to be rather gratuitous these days more often than not - as though the author feels s/he must include it or be thought old-fashioned.
So I turned, last night, to Amazon - that marketplace of all marketplaces and the convenience of which I absolutely adore - to search for something to read. I finally found something and was reading it in less than a minute (bless the Kindle), but the search was marked by pitfalls and potholes in the form of "reviews." I'm not sure whose idea it was to allow just anyone to write a review, but I'm pretty sure there have been better ones. If you want to read a good book I would advise only glancing tentatively at the professional reviewer's blurb. Then go with your gut. Otherwise you will be wading, for hours, through the most inane - not to mention grammatically-challenged - chatter imaginable.
I picked something old-fashioned.
And now, I shall fluff up my pillows and settle in on my sleek, Scandinavian, anything-but-old-fashioned sofa, push my present discomfort aside, and lose myself in the troubles of some fictional someone else.