There’s a problem, feathers, iron
Bargain buildings, weights and pulleys
Feathers hit the ground
Before the weight can leave the air–R.E.M. “Fall on Me”
There is that Icarus feeling when one gets on a plane.
Will it stay up?
Do I care?
It’s so fast. If it crashed, it would be fast.
I want to stay up in the air, but it is worth the risk to leave home.
Do you also love that feeling of leaving?
I praise my city where there is nothing to do–it’s probably the way we are meant to live–but it is also good to go somewhere and do something.
And so I flew to Washington, D.C., where I used to live, a dowdy, political city, but supportive of the arts.
Daedalus made wings to escape the tyrant Minos. In Horace Gregory’s translation:
“The skies are open: my direction’s clear.
Though he commands all else on earth below
His tyranny does not control the air.”
The wings are made of feathers, wax, and cord.
Icarus’ wings melted in the sun.
My hands are burned-lined-and-puckered, a different kind of burn, from years of bicycling in the sun.
It is not the bicycling time of year.
It is the flying time of year.
I took a long walk this afternoon to distract myself from the holidays. The baristas at the coffeehouse were busy. The coffee kept me warm on my walk, but I was sorry they had to work.
I am plotting my next vacation, my next flight. Where next? London or Austin, Texas?
I would love to fly to London and walk Dickens’ streets. Didn’t he walk 10 miles a day? I also want to find myself in a ’30s or ’40s English novel, perhaps by Aldous Huxley, Norman Collins, or Elizabeth Bowen. Do you think it’s too late? I rather suspect so! But I don’t mind modernity. And there are bookstores, are there not? (And, yes, I like museums, etc.)
Austin is a gorgeous university town and the capital of Texas. Beautiful city! Great restaurants and clubs. I spent a weekend there once. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go there in the spring when there is still snow here in the Midwest? There used to be bookstores; I’m not sure if there are anymore.
Please let me know your favorite cities, because I do like the urban life occasionally.
And your favorite bookstores, because the shopping season is here.
My favorite bookstores in the Midwest (both used): Jackson Street Booksellers in Omaha and Murphy-Brookfield Books in Iowa City.
You may not be coming to this area soon, but if you do…
We’ll have coffee.
And here is another stanza from the great R.E.M. song, “Fall on Me,” and the video.
There’s the progress
We have found a way to talk around the problem
Foresight isn’t anything at all