Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Notes on Love

Once upon a time in a wasteland not so far away, I found myself traveling westward on Highway 30 toward an irrelevant destination. In the darkest of hours, when ruminations are brighter than headlights and cemeteries are encountered as often as oncoming traffic, one is apt to focus upon anything deemed out of the ordinary, and to confuse such sights with those of an extraordinary nature is understandable yet the distinction must be made. A steering wheel lying in the road, for example, is out of the ordinary, whereas a clown juggling three chainsaws along the roadside at midnight, in contrast, qualifies as extraordinary. I witnessed neither of those things on the evening in question, that much should be obvious (for if I had seen a deranged entertainer juggling harmful objects as I drove down a deserted highway in the middle of the night, rest assured I would have blogged about it years ago) but what I did see was something much trickier to readily appreciate, a sight which, perhaps, forever occupies that nebulous state between standard and sensational - not so much for what it is, but for the thoughts it may elicit and the behaviors potentially implied.

Before divulging those emotions stroked by the aforementioned, albeit undefined occurrence it would be wise of me to offer a preemptive apology since the likelihood of you being disappointed is substantial; which is terribly, terribly important to yours truly, and while on the topic of excusations, I sincerely apologize for using the terms thoughts and emotions interchangeably as I did above. I tend to do that (in more ways than one) so please bear with me.

So anyway, one night while driving, I saw a meteorite crash off in the distance. When I stopped to investigate, I found a rock, cracked in several places, with a gooey, purple substance oozing out from each of the fissures. I then poked the viscous mass with a stick, at which point the ooze came to life, crawling up the stick onto my arm. I screamed and... 

(Okay, that never happened.)

What I beheld that evening is merely happenstance of the nocturnal variety, decidedly less than preternatural in both appearance and significance but a thing of the utmost beauty nonetheless. I'd been hurtling down the road with the high beams of my rusty Oldsmobile doing their best to illuminate the blackened Earth when movement at the ever-shifting edge of darkness drew my gaze to the side of the road, toward an object far enough to be free from danger yet near enough to arouse one's fearful curiosity. Amidst the brightened weeds and vacant plains which characterize numerous segments of Highway 30 (which is to say that for all intents and purposes, Highway 30 traverses, more often than not, a grassy void) I observed a coyote, and a particularly scrawny one at that, feasting upon the partially-dismembered corpse of a doe which had, in all probability, been the unfortunate victim of vehicular cervicide. For a moment, the ravenous canine paused to observe the automobile, its eyes flashbulbs returning the unwanted light. Momentarily illuminated, the gore smeared across the coyote's muzzle was almost cerise, glistening like a cherry atop a sundae and before the light had completely passed it by, the coyote returned to its quarry, burying its face in the belly of the broken beast and I said to myself, Now that's what I call love.

That's the tale. As stated earlier, it's a tad underwhelming. Then again, there's a magnificence to its simplicity - not in my storytelling, of course, but in the situation itself and to a much lesser degree, the response. Though imperfect, the declaration succeeds insomuch that you or the hypothetical reader/ listener are savvy to the notion that a coyote zealously devouring a deer carcass fits into my conceptualization of love quite readily. Matters of should notwithstanding, it most certainly could be love.* 

That some would disagree with me is probable as well as reasonable. What concerns me, however, are those who upon reading (or hearing) said story would launch into an astoundingly annoying What kind of person would say that? /think that? / consider that love? tirade of epic proportions, most likely accompanied by gratuitous finger pointing and an especially grating tone of voice.** Most perplexing, I suppose, is that some people are so delusional as to believe love, in all its inscrutable glory, is something only they are capable of understanding and subsequently consider themselves worthy of passing judgment on those who would disagree.

Shit, I'd trust a coyote's opinion of love over someone like that and while I'm no gambler, I'd wager the coyote more capable of love, to say nothing about finding it.

* Please don't bore me with high-school lexicology. Thanks in advance.
** Don't get started on the What kind of person? criticisms. 

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