Thursday, December 11, 2014

Beauty and Surprise

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Beauty is why I live here; I can't thrive without it. While living in a basement, with a job in a basement, and getting back and forth on the subway, I subsisted on books and pictures, and in other unpromising circumstances clung to the glitter of junk jewelry or a worn-out cassette tape in my Sony Walkman playing and replaying The Mamas and the Papas, or Mozart as performed by St.-Martin-in-the-Fields. I lived in and left cities with little to no beauty, or none I could see; I didn't live in the areas with views, vistas, or charm. Over a long period of time this taught me to look for beauty in the smallest things and unlikely places.

I didn't know it, but I was starved for surprises and gifts as well as beauty. I went to work, paid rent. My weekly budget left me $6 in disposable income. Walking neighborhood streets for exercise, I did not look at people, or houses, or to the right or left; these were cities in which if you did that they called the police, believing you were casing their houses.

For the past seven days here the sun did not show. Still, the weather was reasonably mild and I shuffled through the gray woods, with no birds in them, my eye catching on nothing but boring beige-ish inedible parasitic-on-deadwood fungi that all looked alike until I turned them over and saw they had wonderful petticoats.

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