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Another Bruce Brady guest post.

Somehow, losing the world should have been harder, but much of the ride was exhilarating, even fun.

It feels like this to be in the car that’s crested the first long climb on the roller coaster to the place where every fiber of your being still tuned to survival begins to understand the empty sky and the pit of your stomach. To the three-two fastball right down the middle where you wanted it, the sudden flick of interest in the batter’s eyes as three molecules in his left hip begin the shift in his weight. Taking that first long stride out there, trusting the ropes and the wind and your prehensile grip on the rock. Touching, caressing, her neck, back there in her hair, for the very first time, taking that chance.

That’s what it feels like, today: just hung out there and subject to . . . what? It is, of course, impossible in any final sense to know this with any real certainty. We learned way back in school somewhere that the evident fact that the sun rose in the East just so, just there, and there, and there, every morning since the beginning of time was no guarantee in the end that it was going to rise over there beyond the eastern ridge next Thursday. Surely, God might intervene, or the stars, or some vague malevolence, or love or dancing fairies. It could be damned near anything. But the way it always had been spoke directly to the way it would probably be, and the sun would most probably rise again in the east, as predicted, no matter what we thought about the fact.

Put bluntly, most of the people who are the best informed say that as a species, we are probably fucked. We are, so to speak, the little train that just crested the summit, and a few can see that the tracks ahead are no longer open in the way they were, but most just don’t like to hear that, and so persist in their ecstatic squealing. We are truly screwed, and we have done it ourselves with little more effort, it seems, than climbing on the train in the first place. That is why things feel so weightless and impending these days. That is one reason things seem so odd. For an easy example, summer came late to the West Coast this year, not at all an unknown occurrence. And yet, by the time summer finally bloomed from Santa Barbara to Seattle a few weeks ago, it seemed that all the millions inhabited here were about to break into great, collective sobs of unrequited anticipation. This is as abnormal as it is trivial. A more serious example: as of this writing, Dick Cheney continues to live. Still doesn’t do it for you?
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August 2010