Sunday, June 26, 2005

As Good as it Gets

It cooled off a little last night when the sun went down, but the air wasn't moving at all, so when the steel mills started pumping out their nighttime emissions--under cover of dark so as not to unduly alarm the populace--it just sat like a big, sooty pillow threatening to suffocate the the sick and weakly amongst north end residents. By ten o'clock my housemate and I couldn't take it anymore, so we drove up to the top of the Niagara Escarpment to find a nature trail where we could respire with impunity.

The trail was dark, with trees on either side blocking out any lights from the city, the branches interlacing overhead like a latticework through which the stars could be seen flickering across the expanses. At one point along the trail we thought we detected human voices, so we stopped, only to hear a chorus of bullfrogs sounding their deep meditative percolations into the gloaming stillness.

We passed under a hydro tower that looked like a huge grey insect entrapped in a web, and my housemate told me of some spiders she heard about on the radio who have two sets of genitalia. Because of the female spider's practice of devouring the male during copulation, this particular species is endowed with two sets of organs, to guard against coitus interruptus due to snacking.

When we were deep into the woods, the fireflies came out. Like phosphorescent skipping stones, or quantum particles tracked through space, they illuminated their own trajectories while navigating the dark. By this time, my housemate's son was crying; he likes city streets with lights and cars over natural settings, so we turned back and walked slowly through the cool, fragrant air, toward the day's residual heat that would still be radiating from the tarmac of the parking lot.

When we got back home, the pollution seemed to have dissipated some. I stayed up and watched a movie on TV while the cat circulated through the kitchen and then back out into the yard, keeping watch for the intrusion of strays onto his territory. Sitting there in late night anonymity, drinking purple Kool Aid and watching Mariel Hemmingway and Eric Roberts' superb acting in Star 80, I had the feeling that my life right now, despite all its ambiguities and anxieties, is about as good as it will ever get. The yellow mask of the moon beaming through the window agreed, and I went to bed with my lunar-powered mind chattering away to itself until late into the night, when exhaustion finally cut a deal with dream to concede to sleep.

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