Thursday, April 20, 2006

so far beyond the casual solitudes

I'd written:
The essays I'm reading on science and myth all seem to have one thing in common: They go from molecules to politics without stopping off at the level of two people sitting and talking, each regarding the other. I wonder if it's because literary fiction -- which is at the level of two people sitting and talking -- largely ignores the molecules, but politics does not.

Doh. Of course the discussion skips the two-people-talking level. Two people talking is subjective. Deals with all that baffling, suspect "I" stuff. And, worse, "you". The eco/econ/international-relations policy level is objective and model-based, just like talk about molecules and organisms. In eco/econ/IR you're talking about masses of people, and what to do to and with them.

Btw, today's title is from Wallace Stevens's Re-statement of Romance:
The night knows nothing of the chants of night.
It is what it is as I am what I am:
And in perceiving this I best perceive myself

And you. Only we two may interchange
Each in the other what each has to give.
Only we two are one, not you and night,

Nor night and I, but you and I, alone,
So much alone, so deeply by ourselves,
So far beyond the casual solitudes,

That night is only the background of our selves,
Supremely true each to its separate self,
In the pale light that each upon the other throws.

I could hardly resist two lines from another poem, Bantams in Pine-Woods:
Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.

But frankly I'm not that interested in chicken consciousness.

We've had tornadoes here. F-2 level, meaning winds over 150 mph, meaning enough wind to smash brick churches and cinderblock garages, snap 80-year-old trees, suck cars off the tops of parking ramps and drop them on the streets. (One car has not been found.) You can see pictures here. We're fine at our house, though. Closest tornado passed about a mile south of us. No damage here even to the tulips. The 2-year-old reckons our house is not actually strong enough to keep out tornadoes, and is troubled by it when she remembers, turning over how it might come out all right, remembering that broken houses get fixed and we can keep safe downstairs. She's very interested in watching the crews clean up and fix everything damaged.

I'm from weak-hurricane country, not tornado country, so I hadn't understood before why you want to be as deep inside, preferably under, the house as you can be. Especially if the house might fall on you. I hadn't counted on the missiles, like wood planks the tornadoes drive straight through house walls or four feet into the ground. Basements, yes, good idea.

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