Sultry Apathy


Still waters and my own mind almost as tranquilly empty as the calm moist air following overnight showers.
  • Each day brings tales of the aspirations of important cultural players.  People who are elected, appointed, anointed, or who make more than the average Mr. and Ms. Jones.  They have rigid ideas about what you and I should be doing, and how they will force us to do it, to make us more like them.  Except of course they do not want us ever to be actually elected, anointed, etc. etc.
  • I never could quite work up envy.  I believe those minds are closed to the truly finer aspects of existence.  Summer happiness has fortunately soaked away even minor irritation _ I sit on a beach or walk the woods immersed in beauty and meaning and constant joy.  Apathetic, I wantonly ignore where such self-declared leaders imagine they are steering society.


Deadly nightshade tangles along the road, glistening with imagined malevolence based only on its name.
  • What better place to contemplate reality than a warm sandy beach on a hot summer day?  I riffle through a thick book, periodically glance up at boat traffic piloted by those too juiced to relax, listen to laughter and screams of children, watch a few others just like me.  Almost all of us, surprisingly, fully untethered from the electronic web which tries to make our lives so insistently worried.
  • This lethargy does not help our GDP.  I’m using public space, spending no money, directing nobody else to do some chore for which I will pay them.  I might as well be an ancient ancestor lazily contemplating our universe in between chipping stone hand axes.  I guess I should feel shame while shirking the necessity of constant intrusive progress.


Chicory lovely blue blossoms before noon,  brightening a chill moist stroll.
  • The busy bear went over the mountain …
  • Maybe he should have spent more time examining his own.  


Quasi-professional clam bayman gets ready to try his luck beyond the inlet.
  • There is a dawning realization driven by current economic conditions that the United States in the 1950s was in many ways a golden era never likely to happen again anywhere.  At the time and in decades of later mythology it was seen as the normalized dawn of utopia.  Science could cure all ills.  Jobs would constantly become better and higher paying.  There would be time for recreation, second homes, infinite wealth.  And people would become good and make the world perfect.
  • It all felt that way, of course, because at the time the US was a uniquely undamaged industrial state, and moreover had just gone through a few traumatically unifying events (the depression and WWII).  Theorists and leaders have sought to maintain or recreate that for years.
  • For me and my boomer peers, such was normal life.  What happened, we keep asking.  Where is utopia now?  High taxes?  Government deficit?  We easily forget that in the 50s taxes were extremely high, especially on the wealthy, and industry grew anyway.  The government spent money like water on the interstate highway system, ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, and countless other projects and the boom went on with no end. 
  • The dream of the 50s has turned into the curse of our times, and has broken society into brittle little pieces absolutely certain that everything has gone wrong, and somebody must be to blame.


Summer blues surround pale bindweed blossoms,  pretty enough here, an alarming menace in my garden.
  • Summer has returned as I melt here on the patio.  High humidity, lots of insects including mosquitoes but mostly during the day just various harmless insects.  Birds visiting the birdbath and feeder.  Flowers wilting, and me happily dripping as I read some interesting new work from the library.
  • We have been visited by frequent intense storms, so many and so often that we wonder if global warming is part of the reason.  Birds and flowers don’t seem to mind, but we worry.  There have been storms before, high heat before, but …


High eighties, burning sun, no breeze, a fine day for fishing even if nothing bites.
Two older folks set up chairs on pebbly beach, inhale deeply of salty breeze, stretch in hot sun.  One turns a radio low volume to an oldies station.  The other looks around, surprised.
“Eddie?” asks the woman.  “Is that you?  My God, haven’t seen you in …”
“What?” He squints and blinks.  “Oh, hey, Brender.  Yeah, been a while.”
“Where you been, anyway?  Surely we should have …”
“Well, been living on the West Coast since forever.  Just visiting a trade fair in Melville.  Thought I’d look in on some of the old places, see what’s changed.”
“A lot and not much, same as everywhere, I guess,” Brenda smiles.
“You certainly seem to be doing well,” laughs Eddy. “Still looking pretty damn good.”
“Why, thank you, sir.  And you as well.  What you been up to?  Jeez, what is it _ 40 years on?”
“Yeah, I think … summer of 75?  Me, I’m just killing time until retirement, a few years from now.  Selling pools, actually, at my father-in-law’s place.  I hate it, but college for the kids you know.”
“Ah, how many?”
“Two girls.  And you?”
“Good, good.  Stopped work when I had my knee replaced last year.  Jack still covers everything, and I have Heather living down the street with her kids, so I babysit a lot.”
“A lot happened after those highs and lows back then, eh?” smiles Eddie.
“What we didn’t know …” replies Brenda.  “I remember thinking it was the end of the road.”
“Both found a way to survive, though,” he notes.
“Survive hell, I’ve had a blast.  Still enjoying myself.”
“I see, I see.  Yeah, me too.”

They sit back carefully and begin to stare out at constantly sparkling waves as white sails outline against the far dark hills.  The radio tune has run its course, tale frozen in time,  but life continues to unroll and complicate and surprise everyone.


Except for crowded boats in distant marina, this could be a scene from sixty or more years ago.   
Molasses summer, vast and free
I rest unbodied, drift in time
While insects flit, some bother me
Break concentration on this rhyme
Where should I go, what must I do
Or simply sit as life spins by
Quite content my lassitude
Let others preen or sell or buy
My years are flowing rapid gone
I’ve loved each one, and still admire
Achievements, memories, every one

Wish little more, from this retire.

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