"Sometimes my old heart is like a washing machine
It bounces around 'til my Soul comes clean"
I once wrote a story about my hometown of Corcoran where I was trying to explain to myself as much as anybody why I love this strange little dot in the universe. I wrote at the time,
"I've become somewhat oblivious to all the metaphoric warts and blemishes I come across as I make my rounds. Nowadays, I see Corcoran kind of like Jack Black saw Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie Shallow Hal, being somewhat hypnotized by the often understated and often unappreciated beauty of the place. To truly love her, I have had to learn to accept her with her makeup off, when she scratches herself with her own fingers, and when she wakes up in the morning with her eyes blackened by all her faithless lovers."
I have come to realize that what I wrote about Corcoran back then came out of years and years of self delusion. There was a lot of shit that I've never allowed myself to deal with, to face down, or put an end too. Years of such self-deception changes your perspective on things and tends to make your outlook more like Mr. Potter's than George Bailey's.
Corcoran did something this week-end that she hasn't done for a such a long time, she put her makeup back on and she didn't overdo it with the rouge and eyeliner this time. She went out and bought herself a pretty dress and wore it with great style and panache. And my God, she was something lovely to see.
Some good hearted people got together and created an amazing winter wonderland on mainstreet. It was something to behold and something that this town has needed for quite some time. Hell, I needed to see it. God even showed his support today by creating a spectacular gray layered sky as a backdrop with splashes of sunlight poking through at just the right places.
I emerged from the Lake Bottom brewery this afternoon and saw a rainbow in the distance. I chased it out of town to get a better picture and ended up out at the cemetery where I took the picture above. As I was walking to get in my car, it was like the rain from the last few days had washed away a thick miasma that has covered my eyes for the last few years. I have lived in this town over sixty-seven years, and I swear I have never seen her look as lovely as she did today.
Maybe it had something to do with the Scotch and water, maybe it was that the rain had washed the dust off of my windshield, or maybe it was just Christmas spirit engendered by that splash of wonder on mainstreet. Whatever it was, it loosened up something inside of me. I was standing at my ex-wife's grave when I took this picture, and, afterwards, I just lifted my chin and took in the total beauty of the moment. Something shifted in my soul and the floodgates opened.
The real message of mythology is about learning to listen to the wisdom of your guides, gird your loins ( I'm not sure what this really means. I think it's like putting on a jockstrap so your nuts don't get squashed in battle) and go and confront the monsters where ever you find them.
I never really did. Well, maybe once or twice. I usually ran from them because they were ugly and very scary looking. But when you run from the scary things, you have to invent justifications for doing so, you can't just go home, look in the mirror and say, "I ran. So what? I'm completely fine with it," because even that shit is a lie, and just another kind of running away.
It seems to me like everybody's been waiting for Jesus to come back, even the ones who deny that he's real, and we all keep glancing over our shoulders nervously expecting him to suddenly appear in the eastern sky with his arms outstretched looking warm and inviting, but, at the same time a little bit pissed. You know the kind of the look our moms used to give us when we came home six hours past our curfew.
And all the while, we wonder if our shit's gonna be alright, and for maybe the first time in our lives, we seriously start calculating our sins against our better thoughts and deeds and silently wish that we had wrote a bigger check for Goodwill, not dropped as many F-Bombs the night before while watching the Ram's game, or placed a few more flowers on Auntie's grave.
But the place we never seem to look for him is in those dark spaces inside of us all, those places so desperately in need of illumination, and that is precisely where I think he will finally appear. And he will bring an understanding of our own true self and a realization of the universal truth of things that all the TV shows, video games, drugs and alcohol, and sporting events in the world could never hide.
I'm too much of a cynic and a realist to think that Corcoran won't go home and take her makeup off and her teeth out after the snow melts, the decorations come down, and the camel goes back to wherever the hell it came from, but damned if it wasn't the most magical thing I've seen since the first time I saw Disneyland when I was sixteen years old.
And damned if it didn't give me hope.
Thanks to everyone who made this happen. I needed it.