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Torrid Enough For You?

I was enjoying a leisurely bath, reclining in the warm wet, staring out the window at the innocent green of the Ash tree. This time last year a sudden storm froze out the gentle letting go of fall and rolled in a premature shock of winter. In one icy day everything fell, no yellow, no gold, no falling one by one, just one day untouched by autumn and the next all green was gone.

Fall. We all fervently hope it won’t do that again. We want time to relish the ache of goodbye, the leaving, the longing, the days of teetering on the edge of loss, but not falling. We are like lovers on the dock before the ship sails. We are full of impossible love, so enormous we misplace ourselves.

How many people, right this moment, are falling, falling, falling?

I added more hot water. I thought of all the millions of people experiencing the opposite: pain, suffering, disconnection, alienation. The lonely, the tragic, circling the drain.

And what of the wily, the brash, the shallow and the corrupt? The plots afoot, those fighting for justice, those fighting against it? This world wraps itself equally around everything, the whole rollicking, unsentimental mess. A kind of craziness.

And all of us participating, unwitting, unwilling, no choice. This, the biggest story ever written. Each a full-blown character swimming in a torrent of intrigue, love, hate, fear, anger. Every subplot so intense, so tumultuous, so shamelessly unrestrained.

So many themes, huge themes, all here, all happening now, behind those eyes, in that room, across the street, across the border, on our doorstep and way over the other side of the globe. So many complex, unpredictable arcs this story has, its sky lit up like the Fourth of July.

Who can resist such an urgent, mythic tale? No missing elements, no holds barred. If you just listen, if you just see, you will be blown away. And the story; so fierce and dynamic, so radical and ruthless that you can’t slam the book shut if you tried, can’t get up and walk out of the theater.

It should be compulsive reading, we should be riveted to the spot, consumed alive, and we are, no matter how we squirm to achieve an impossible escape.

Any writer who has ever struggled to bring together the elements of a story, struggled to inspire a trajectory, tried to hold the reader on an unbearable threshold of anticipation can appreciate this. This is the epic story of stories, and we’re in it.

Do any of us have any idea what’s going to happen next? We should be sitting on the edge of our seats.

Oh...we are.


If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. 

George Eliot



I live in hazard and infinity. The cosmos stretches around me, meadow on meadow of galaxies, reach on reach of dark space, steppes of stars, oceanic darkness and light. There is no amenable god in it, no particular concern or particular mercy. Yet everywhere I see a living balance, a rippling of tension, an enormous yet mysterious simplicity, an endless breathing of light. And I comprehend that being is understanding that I must exist in hazard but that the whole is not in hazard. Seeing and knowing this is being conscious; accepting it is being human.

John Fowles, Aristos


“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

Arundhati Roy

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