I took LB’s iphone home last night by accident. She had heated me up some cauliflower au gratin, late, because I am ailing and she is LB (that is, unusually wonderful), and we had talked, while Jotto, her young terrier, who spent much time with Scout in Scout’s waning days (we had come to refer to him as Scout’s physician, Dr. Jottstein) slept on the couch between us. LB and Lynn have been very kind to me lately, listening for hours to my insane, sad ramblings. And then I went and took LB’s iPhone.

Anyway, on the way back from dropping it off this morning, I was thinking how beautiful it is in East Marion today: it’s raining, and the trees, yellow, red, orange, are wildly trance-dancing, their leaves, free, running away quickly down the road. But then it occurred to me, and I’m sorry: This beauty is death. To us it’s gorgeous, but to the trees, it’s the end of their cycle, the shutting down of their glory.

So what about that? I think that that may be an example of emptiness (though I don’t really know): Awaken to the reality that nothing is what it seems, or maybe even what it is, ever. It is not this and it is not that. In any case, we are always, in everything, somewhere between the beauty of the autumn and the death of the trees.

Frankly, though, at the moment, I envy the happy people with all their cozy stuff and their calm thoughts. When I think of myself in my nice old life, I am made completely uncomfortable by my smugness and my oblivion about the fact that all of that was careening toward the edge of the big cliff. Fuck! Love your family! Be incredibly kind!

Oh, and I have a question. Is there a scatologist in the house? Because this is the stairway that leads down from my place in the middle of the night. (The photo was taken on one of the many middle-of-the-night forays that Scout and I took when he couldn’t sleep, and couldn’t stop spinning.) It’s very steep, with narrow stairs. Just to illustrate, Julia was taking Scooby up them on one of the two trips she took out here, and he actually fell through a space in the banister, and would have been hung by his leash and collar had I not magically been under the stairs, coming out of the laundry room, to catch him, and push him back up through the crack. (Rhonestly, he was on Xanax at the time, so that both created the problem, and made it bearable while it was happening.)

Anyway, today, when I left my house to return LB’s phone, I discovered a pile of animal shit at the top of the stairs, by my door. It was not that of a dog, and probably not of a deer (there’s a lot of that around here, but downstairs). What could it have been though? I’m going to post it, in case someone has a guess. And I’m sorry for that, because it’s gross. But while I’m getting down to all the facts of life, I think maybe some shit could enter the story.

The truth is that I woke up in the middle of the night last night, very, very frightened, and, for the second night in a row, slept with my giant mag-lite curled in my arms like a rifle. I wonder whether I didn’t hear some creature outside, scuffling and snurfling and shitting in a dream-crashing way. I would love to know who I’m dealing with. Thanks in advance!

Love, Deitch

5 thoughts on “Emptiness”

  1. Rilke says Beauty is the beginning of terror.
    Shakespeare says the ripeness is all.

    The maple trees let go of the bounty of sunlight with a twist of citron yellow, asking that we remember they will be there, tall through the winter months, the season when we see their core form, and driving along it will soon be possible to glimpse the birds’ nests, a revelation reminding us that birds depend on the shelter & sustenance of the branches, even on the insects harbored in the hollows of the dormant but not deceased trees.

    The pain of beholding Rilke’s Beauty that is the beginning of terror is a treasure. You certainly know you have a full heart when it hurts like this.

  2. Fresh shit outside your threshold is never a welcome sight.

    I don’t want to sound like an optimista here, but the phrase “relieving oneself” comes to my mind when I consider this photo. Whatever creature visited your home in the night arrived with a cramping belly and crept away empty of that urgent, possibly painful need.

    There are better surprises to find when you open your door, but maybe none so emblematic of emptiness (& relief).

  3. That is Disgustipating!!! Rhonestly! And very similar to what I found on my balcony at my new place on my first morning here. I asked the houseboy to come up and examine it and he said it was a cat. “A big big cat” and then he pushed up his glasses and tried to uncross his eyes asked if I would invite him to America. And I told him it’s not so great there. He asked if there was anything at all he could do for me. And I looked at the disgusting pile of poo and said “what about that” and he said “yes madam” and then left and didn’t come back so I tried to rinse it off with a bucket of water pushing it toward the drain hole at the end of the balcony using a squeegee. But then the drainhole got clogged with whatever disgusting poop sticks were in there and then I realized the drain didn’t go anywhere but to my landlord’s balcony so I crept inside and didn’t go out there again for several days.

    Anyway, maybe it’s a cat?

    1. Beautiful. Really. I needed that: thank you. If it was a cat, it must have been living by a power plant for a while, and the things it was eating, too. Rhonestly. Berries the size of my arm. O.K. I love the description of your houseboy. Especially pushing up his glasses and trying to uncross his eyes. I could use him right about how. Get me another blanket! Turn up the Sound! Another box of tissues, now! Make me spaghetti! as my brother Ian used to say.

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