Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I think of her often and fondly

Thinking as she slept, she thought that she would never again be able to sleep this way, and she began to sob in her sleep, and she slept sobbing, without changing position on her side of the bed, until long after the roosters crowed and she was awakened by the despised sun of the morning without him. Only then did she realize that she had slept a long time without dying, sobbing in her sleep, and that while she slept, sobbing, she had thought more about Florentino Ariza than about her dead husband.

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Sometimes, the recollection of a book comes unbidden and seemingly from nowhere. Such is the case with me and Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, which documents Florentino’s Ariza’s long unrequited love for Fermina Daza, and his complete immersion into sensuality to compensate for it. It confronts as a paradigm of the erotic, existential, and spiritual.

This morning, I yearn for a woman who long ago passed from my life. I feel a thread connects me to her. She is the one with whom I could have happily spent the rest of my years. I am free to choose whether to cut the thread or leave it attached. I choose the thin and fragile attachment.

The popular expressions “get over it” and “move on” are pieces of silliness masquerading as pithy wisdom. Whenever I hear them, it grates mightily upon my soul. Getting over a heartbreak one brought upon oneself is overrated. I must dwell upon the past to be open to the future, for the future is a strange mix of fate and personal choice informed by past failures and successes.

This post is so banal and boring, yet it is all I have to offer this morning. I have grown habituated to publicly wearing my heart on my sleeve. That is what happens when the need to write overwhelms reason.

However, I have learned recently that reason is not all it claims to be. Without passion, reason never leads anywhere. I have read the opening section of Hume’s An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals many times. He discusses his controversial statement in his Treatise that reason is the slave of passion. He dials down the volume of that statement in the Inquiry by approaching morals through his experimental method and lets observation tell us what it will. It took me a long time to embrace the notion that passion plays as important a role in life as reason. I read the opening section now and it finally speaks intimately to me.

I can scarcely believe I have lived my whole life with a blind trust in reason alone. It is not that I have acted upon the trust, for somewhere in my soul’s basement, out of sight, passion has overruled reason on more occasions than not. I am just damned lucky that it has worked out well many times for me.

Avoiding heartache when it comes to love is not necessarily all for the best. It comes with the territory. It is the price of admission to gain the attention of the one you feel you love.

Of course, there are all the other women out there who would not mind dialing it up with for a little while. One of them might be the next good thing in my life. Life must contain something more than whiskey, writing, indolence, and idle paltry philosophizing. Or did I irrevocably miss the one good chance I had with an exquisite woman?

She would be upset with me if she knew I was writing about her this way. However, I can say I love her still. This is not a base revenge. I always close my letters to her with “I think of you often and fondly,” the truest words I have ever spoken.

She just happens to be the object of my love on this warm spring day. It is merely a strange blend of fate and freedom.


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

No, it's supposed to be a young man's fancy that turns to thoughts of love in spring. Young! :)

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Lynn said...


"There's no fool like and old fool." :)

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's an eloquent and far from boring post. This might be your best genre: the mini-essay rather than the "postcard" the difficulty of which you have often touched upon.

You are a true post-modernistic hedonist. Hail to thee.

And when you write, Life must contain something more than whiskey, writing, indolence, and idle paltry philosophizing you are both wrong and right. It needs the love of a good woman (the frequent topic of your posts) but without the love of philosophy it is wasted.

Did that make sense?

It's a both-and, not either-or.

PS: Hume would be the first to recognize the supremacy of desire versus reason.

Orla Schantz

At 12:47 AM, Blogger Lynn said...


It makes sense. Good to hear from you again.

The sensual or the rational, just one of those questions, which is or ought to be in control!


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