Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thoughts in Lent

I lie prone in bed on the first Monday in Lent, nursing a strained back on a heated pad. I’m thinking about Narcissus and Goldman, who are good folks to think about when lying in bed on your back in Lent.

It is a passage from “All the King’s Men” (Robert Penn Warren) that got me to thinking along the lines my mind is now traveling:
“There is nothing more alone than being in a car at night in the rain. I was in the car. And I was glad of it. Between one point on the map and another point on the map, there was the being alone in the car in the rain. They say that you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren’t any other people there wouldn’t be any you because what you do, which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people. That is a very comforting thought when you are in the car in the rain at night alone, for then you aren’t you, and not being you or anything, you can really lie back and get some rest. It is a vacation from being you. There is only the flow of the motor under your foot spinning that frail thread of sound out of its metal gut like a spider, that filament, that nexus, which isn’t really there, between the you which you have just left in one place and the you which you will be when you get to the other place.

“You ought to invite those two you’s to the same party, some time. Or you might have a family reunion for all the you’s with barbecue under the trees. It would be amusing to know what they would say to each other.

“But meanwhile, there isn’t either one of them, and I am in the car in the rain at night.”

Narcissus and Goldman. Two you’s; one person. It is Lent and so I am thinking. Reflecting and introspecting as to who I am and what journey I am taking. Alone. In the rain. In the night.

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