Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After James Dean died a friend wrote to his family, saying, "So few things blaze. So little is beautiful. Our world doesn't seem equipped to contain its brilliance too long. Ecstasy is only recognizable when one has experienced pain. Beauty only exists when set against ugliness. Peace is not appreciated without war ahead of it. How we wish that life could support only the good. But it vanishes when its opposite no longer exists as a setting. It is a white marble on unmelting snow." This a thing that sticks with me, an explanation of what keeps us casting around for the brightest lights in the darkest places, why we follow the corpse candles all the way through the swamps. Without the contrast we'd have so little to look at.

Sometimes I get distracted thinking about the fish who find treasure, waving their tails around in the dark and uncovering a glimmer that flashes only in the twinkle of the nearby bioluminescense, there and then gone again. Covered up by the next fish passing above and looking the other way, and never to be seen by us at all. Sometimes I get distracted thinking about all the lights I'll never see.


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