Indifferent light

Today, the sun is even brighter and the sky is devoid of clouds. The atmosphere is indifferent to the human pain below it, in it. (After all, the sunlit sky is what we inhale). Such atmospheric imperviousness makes it possible, even easy, for me to drop the thin veil of mourning that conscience wears. (Were it cloudy, could I write this? Unlikely.)  The insistence of the morning light forces my attention away from the flat screen of the weekend’s shootings. Instead, in a fit of domestic voyeurism, I’m watching the one of the spaces in our house, a space whose air is undisrupted except by the passage of light within it. I’m staring at the front room – part dining room, part way-station for things in transit –intruding on a barely-stilled tableau that hovers between two and three-dimensions. The players include my parents’ 1960’s Shaker-style cherry chairs and table, a copper chafing dish, two distinctly Western landscape paintings from my husband’s family, and under it all, my mother’s Karastan rug from Macy’s in New Jersey. Despite the fact that we’re family, the denizens of the dining room are as indifferent to me as death. (Just as the the sky is to the grief in Texas and Ohio.) But this isn’t a matter of unrequited love. I already have the love gifted to me through them. And as for the objects themselves, they may be technically mute but their forms have dialects all their own: overlapping silhouettes, patterns peeking through the chair legs, pictures adding dimensions to the flatness of the walls. Moreover, I have no doubt that something ‘real’ emanates from their molecules and the particles of light that animate them. The oil of fingerprints polished away by Old English, the oil-based colors of painted sky and rocks, the industrial dyes of the rug: they take longer to die.

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