The best lack all convictions, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity"--WB Yeats
I began to watch the Dallas Cowboys football game today on television, and found it quite enjoyable for a quarter. When the prospect of lunch and a movie arose, I left it behind without remorse. I am no longer the sports fan I once was.
Today we went for brunch at the Allen Cafe, the small breakfast place with the inexpensive entrees in a converted burger shack. They were out of pork chops, and the waitperson, a bleach-blonded high schooler, seemed surprised when I did not want steak sauce for the small steak I ordered instead. The meal was quite good, and I wonder why there aren't more down to earth old-time cafes in this tired old world.
We decided to go see "Under the Tuscan Sun", with Diane Lane. The movie was completely enjoyable--what a nice contrast with "Unfaithful" (and what a great benefit to her to get two career-making roles in succession). Diane Lane has a way of seeming both entirely down to earth and utterly glamorous.
I'm intrigued, though, by the notion that one leaves San Francisco to "find" oneself in, say, Tuscany, or (as in another well-known book) Provence. I suspect that there are lots of places to find oneself, and that it is even possible in San Francisco.
My theory is that the myth is all about the light. In California, as in Tuscany, one has what they call "mediterranean light". It spawns art movements, encourages olive trees, discourages dogwood trees and generally filters everything. Our Texas light is entirely different--bright, yes, and harsh, yes, but not providing those contrasts. I used to like that line in Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" in which he says "mama always told me not to look into the face of the sun--oh, but Mama!, that's where the fun is".
I think sometimes that it is so easy to be a refugee--seeking out some metaphoric Italy. I think sometimes how so many personal choices I used to see as "sins" or "wrongs" I now see as self-medicating escapes. It's so easy to lose one's way, and to imagine that the problem is mere geography.
For some, of course, geography makes a difference. I do believe in moving to where a job might be, or where opportunity is greater. But there is that metaphoric idea that if one could just leave one's own culture, one would be a different person. The problem is one of inner geography, I suppose--perhaps the change of locale makes for a nice change of internal landscape. One not only moves to Italy, but one moves to heal inside. But I posit that it is just as possible to heal, say, in Pflugersville, Texas, and it's a much shorter commute. Of course, in our local clay soil, maybe everything is just a bit more down to earth and a bit less revelatory. That would explain the success of fundamentalism here, among other things.
This weekend we see the sordid spectacle of the California gubernatorial election break down into the predictable humdrum of personal scandal and public unsuitability. Sometimes it seems that the only people with real convictions have the wrong convictions.
I played chess today at the Free Internet Chess Server with queenseye. That was a lot of fun! I have to remember, by the way, that I am much better when I play quietly, grab a pawn, and then play out an endgame than when I play more elaborate strategies. It's great that on-line chess there is free. I had always been an Internet Chess Club user before, and although its interface is arguably a bit nicer, the FICS interface is just fine. I will have to figure out which of my friends and acquaintances in chess are FICS users.
Tonight I drove to Allen Station Park and walked the short nature trail to the old railroad dam built in the 1870s when Allen was founded. Nobody was on the trail but me. I saw a cottontail rabbit, who stood stock-still, hoping I would pass. It rained cats and dogs last night, and it may rain again tonight. Autumn is starting to wind its way into my mind.
In the paper, the travel section says that nearby Mount Ida, Arkansas is having a quartz dig. I love that quartz comes in veins, which come near the surface in Arkansas. I've love to have a quartz vein in my backyard, but our local clay and shale soil is not that way inclined. I'd love to go dig quartz, but I think I'll wait until a non-festival weekend.
I can be inundated with festivity.
I love to see the light shine on a geode full of quartz crystal. I am sure there is some metaphor there about when the rock is broken open, there's lovely crystal inside. Maybe this is the solution--exposing things long hidden to the right light.