Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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The Island of Mist

Forrest Fang's "Gongland" CD has as its jewel case art the Sandra Given painting "Mist". "Mist" features a tiny island in the middle of a river, upon which six leafless tall trees stand. On the left and on the right of the island, one sees the tall trees on the shore. The shore trees are obscured by mist. The sky overhead is a haze; the water below is churning waves.

Today I went to a holiday luncheon given by local officials.
The function was held in a large garage of sorts, which had been converted into a "party room". I knew a very few of the throng of people there, although everyone seemed entirely friendly. We first went down a serving line, where the hosts, two justices of the peace, a constable, and a county official, stood shaking our hands. We then all stood in long lines to get hot dogs and home-made chili. It was all very informal, and very congenial, but still, we were all awash in a friendly sargasso of humanity.

When we had gotten our meals, we headed to long tables where we scouted out three chairs beside one another. I watched around me as hundreds of people socialized and dined. I suspect that in every such room, most people truly feel as I do, like those trees on an isolated island on the jewel case art. The currents may rise, and the currents may fall, and the mist circulates everywhere, but I stand alone in such spaces. Large spaces of congenial strangers can be very distancing places for me. I feel a little badly that I am not at my best in Whoville, holding hands with others, singing holiday songs. But I take some comfort in knowing that I am not quite the grinch, either. I stand at the view-plate, looking fondly and yet at a distance at the passing asteroids.

I think that there should be some special dispensation for the well-meaning shy--perhaps a saint for the hopeful but not charismatic, maybe a quieter alcove of Hell. But in the meantime, I'll gather my hot dog and my chili and a speckled Xmas cookie, and muddle through this sort of thing as well as I can.

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