Supersonic

Just got back from walking Doe in the park. We walked north, from 90th Street, on the bridle path, and I was so distracted by my thoughts, and the beautiful spring day that when I looked up, we were already on the West Side. I noticed Doe was getting overheated. When she does, she appears to be grinning. So we stopped for a minute to rest on a hill. I could see buds on the trees. We were facing the tree that I’ve written about before, a magnificent specimen on a downward slope. The city has tidied it up a little, so its low branches no longer touch the ground, but I suppose that’s better for the tree. After we’d rested a few minutes, I pulled Doe toward it (she wanted to go the other way, towards the tennis courts), so I could place my hand on a massive low branch. It made me feel momentarily peaceful. Then we turned back, and north, to exit the park and walk toward home.

The thought that so distracted me, while we walked, was about a dream I had last night. I was a man in the dream, following a woman with dark skin and a black stocking cap. I told her that I’d overheard her conversation because I have supersonic hearing, and could make out a conversation from a block away. Surely there was more to the dream than this but it’s all I remember. I’d been feeling nostalgic and also a little sorry for myself, prior to going to sleep, and those feelings were also part of the dream.

The other day A. came over for breakfast. We were talking about the past, and about death, the way we do. He’s been predicting his imminent demise for twenty years, or more, but now it feels less unlikely, for both of us, even if we live a long time. I don’t think that A. wants to live a long time, and neither do I. Little by little things get spoiled, change from the way they used to be, and the disillusionment leads to a feeling of “enough already.” We’ve seen the end of music as we knew it. It’s different now, and the only ones who don’t mind are the young ones who weren’t here. When I met A. we were at the beginning. Cocky, drunk sometimes, and bold. We knew everything and sometimes we were right. A. said he thought I’d had it too easy at the beginning so I didn’t try hard enough later. I thought about it. Was it true? But I think I tried pretty hard. When I argued the point, he said, “I just wish you still wanted it. Still wanted to perform.”

I’ve given up so many things already: obsessive love and performing music among them. The other day, I heard an accomplished writer, one I greatly admire, speaking cynically about writing, and I knew that if I keep writing, one day it will change too. But not yet. I am still a passionate beginner with everything to learn. If I were to lose the joy in writing and reading, what would be left? Appreciation for the natural world and its creatures. I suppose one day it will have to be enough.

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