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Death and other peculiarities of life.

I'm coming at Christmas sideways this year, I'll be damned if I'll let it get me down again like it did last year: I spent Christmas morning, two-thousand-and-eight, sitting on a cold, concrete stoop on State Street watching the drizzle turn everything grey and wondering why it always seemed to rain when I was unhappy. I can recall a dozen depressing events in my life that were attended by rain and although rain is only supposed to wash over tragic events in the movies there I sat again, in a rain that only seemed to fall in order to complete my sadness. I realize, or the rational side of me realizes anyway, that to believe there is any kind of connection between my moods and the weather is believing in primitive magick, animism...horseshit. However, the less rational side of me not only acknowledges but falls on it's scabby knees in the presence of a whole panphilon of personal-myths, quasi-metaphysical principles and folk half-truths that seem to seep past the membrane of my intellect no matter how tightly wrapped I think it is.

Shibboleth (Nov. 27th 2009)

Have you ever found a dead animal in the woods and watched it's decomposition over the course of a few days: The dulling of the eyes and the fur, the stiffening and bloating, the blind little maggots swimming in their stew of sweet putrefication, the entire panorama of death and decay which nears it's conclusion when the whitened bones are all the physical evidence left to mark the spot and the stink finally goes away? If you have, if you've followed the process loyally and to its conclusion then you probably also arrived at the day, as I did, when you couldn't really recall exactly where the body had lay, only that it had certainly lay somewhere "over there", next to that tree...or, well, next to one of those trees anyway. The grass was unruffled and the ground unbroken, fur, bone, gristle and tooth had either dissolved completely or been absorbed into the earth where it would lay for all eternity, as inert and silent as a stone.

The fact of death then, we learn, is transitory, the pall of death however, the impression of death, ah, that remains. You always sense when you approach the general area where Death had extended His kingdom by one citizen; You can taste it on the air, see it in the lazy way the shadows lay preening themselves beneath the trees, feel it in the fat, giddy celebration of the blow-fly and the yellow-jacket. Long after nature has reshuffled the molecular deck and dealt out a fresh hand of earthworms and buttercups we humans remain hung-up on the other part, the part before the buttercups, the part that is all-at-once an event and a condition and an impenetrable mystery. Death.

Christmas is like that. Well, Christmas in it's purest form is like that, Christmas disentangled from it's pseudo-historical trappings and examined as a mythic-vehicle, a mechanism for communicating a great truth over the rough-and-tumble sweep of the centuries. Roman, Hun, Turk and Goth, each in turn pitted their gods against the One God, the God born beneath a crescent moon as yellow as a dogs tooth who lay His deity down and took on the attributes of a man and lived among men and worked an honest trade like a man before turning to his other work, his real work. That the work the God chose for Himself was essential is beyond rational, philisophical dispute and yet if you accept the work as essential, you can't very well whine about the methods employed in it's completion and so we come by turns to the Crucifixion.

Nails. Carpenters handle a lot of nails. Hmmph.You have to wonder whether the "crucified carpenter" theme is a theme at all or if it's merely a random element in the story that only looks significant to us because of the emotional and cultural importance we place on irony and symbolism.

(Continued)

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