Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cicadas, Waiting for Lefty, and Misguided Cnicism

Whether we are waiting for Lefty in Clifford Odets's eponymous play, or Godot, in Samuel Beckett's or perhaps merely waiting for a taxi or a sale or an inspiration, there is the sense writ large that the thing being awaited will not come, that our expectations have no tangible potential in a world gone increasingly more toward ruinous decay.  We wait for outcomes, appearances, phenomena; we wait for promises to be made or broken, we wait for signs informing us the cosmos knows about us and is on our side and, furthermore, it wants us to win.

It is as natural to wait for things as it is to do busy work while giving the Cosmos, the Universe in blow-up, to make the decision that will effect us.  In spite of ample signs to the contrary, we wait for destiny to catch up with us and to bestow some form of recognition upon us, thinking surely this time our swinging bat will have connected with the pinata.

The unspoken roommate of this expectation is background.  We wait while something is going on in our midst or about us.  An expectation without a setting has little chance of causing anyone to care.  We expect inspiration in spite of a numbing succession of days in which thought was not our best friend, where words were like unwanted hairs tweezed from the forgotten parts of our body, reminding of their presence only because of the sting attendant on their being yanked out.

Such days are more friendly that we realize at first.  The true gift arrives like a guilty-looking FedEx delivery person, late to the point of irritation.  We fall upon the gift, wanting it opened right now, the better to celebrate.  The gift comes from the forgotten order of the forgotten inspiration, hoped for however briefly in the past, while waiting for someone or some thing to arrive with a fanfare.

In all this waiting for the mundane to get on with it, already, we lose sight of the arrivals coming in out of the dark or the wet or the sun or the noise of the crowd.  It is there for the recognition that it is all about us, answers everywhere to the questions we asked some while back and allowed ourselves to become too bored to heed when the answers from the cosmos appear.  The cosmos speaks to us like cicadas on a summer night, buzzing with the very things we so often fail to notice.

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