ELEGY IN JULY

July 1st.

It is raining, a tropical-seeming rain in a dank and sprawling latitude — subtropical, actually, and often sunny but not now– where clouds are heaped up high against the blue to the west. The sun is getting through over there.

Actually, the sun is very far away. But it will get through, then go away. Or, to be precise, WE will go away from IT. It happens every night.

Clouds full of water. Big white and gray clouds. They are drifting about, and that’s fine. You can love rain. I love rain right now. You can love clouds. But I’m anxious from the emptiness all around. I will go for a walk if the rain stops, or even if it doesn’t. Or will I? Well, I’ll be anxious if I don’t. Or even if I do.

That’s my problem.

Right now there is a cloud or two overhead. It will drift off, sadly, go where clouds go.

Rain is in this one little place. That’s what I’ve got right now. A little place in a little rain.

In fact, I think it has stopped. I miss it already. There is only a little sun. Like soft gray paint.

It is stiflingly sultry and gray. That’s okay. That’s life. This is a small universe where, nearby me, souls are together, uneasily. Two, to be exact — the two that I see through my window. I see everything, hear everything. No glass, no walls. Is it a dream?

For them, there is nothing to look forward to, or so it seems from here. So they dream a future. Of course, that’s foolish. A foolish way to deal with the damp and gray.

Rain is okay. It cleans things. It has been rainy a great deal in this little place. Fiercely rainy. There is a large puddle outback, slowly draining. The air is soaked. The grass is soaked, bog-like. That’s okay. That’s life.

Sometimes you think you’re dreaming. Like the man I see next door. Leaning against his inner wall, and dreaming.

It is now what is known as The Month of July, hours into it. A summer month. Mid-summer; almost already there. Mid-summer, that is. It will be hot, like all Julys.

Thursday. 2:21 p.m.. July 1st. The man out my window whom we’ll call “A” feels everything slipping away just as the month of June slipped away. I can tell that from here as I look at him. Well, he’d better wake up, grab something. Not just lean and dream.

Now he’s outside, in the gray, warm open air. From the patch of coarse grass that is his particular backyard, he searches for dog feces to clean up. He glimpses the postman pulling up in his truck out front. I see him glance that way, poor solitary soul. He will check that mailbox. It will be empty. That’s alright. Mailboxes are always empty these day, except for bills. Emptiness can be good. Or not. Make of emptiness what you will. I, for one, am having trouble with the emptiness.

Was not June just yesterday? Shouldn’t it still be June?That’s how it feels for “A”. So he must be remembering July 1st last year, which seems like just yesterday. Which was June 30. June has become July which will become August. Then September. Maybe fear, almost a kind of paralysis, has taken control of “A”‘s life. I know how he feels.

What does he feel? He feels everything slipping away, into the warm, wet gray, just the way June slipped away.

Stop time, please. That’s what he must be saying in the sanctuary of his little house and the open retreat of his back yard. Can you do that? Stop time? Of course not. Who’d want to. He really doesn’t want to, I’ll bet. But someone once wrote that time past and time present are both present in time future. Stretching before and after, they wrote. They wrote: in my beginning is my end. They wrote of “the soundless wailing.” They wrote of “the intersection of the timeless moment….’

The woman, “A”‘s companion, named “B”, has gone to buy frozen dinners. She wanted “A” to go with her. I know this, not because I am spying, though I have been watching (the emptiness drew me there), but because he has come to the backyard fence to tell me this. I tell him, confess, actually, that I’ve been seeing him through his window. He says he doesn’t mind. I only now notice that windows, walls, fences have vanished. We are on a darkling plain. I’m kind of company for him in this dark place, and he for me, even if I’m just watching. We must watch for one another, we humans.

But I read today, in this summer when so many have gone beneath the waves, that we must never enter the water to rescue a drowning man. They will pull you under. “A” warns me: “I might pull you under.”

“A” hates driving around this part of the world where he and “B” find themselves– unless the trip is absolutely necessary. Sun-blanched roads full of steel auto bodies, engineered beasts, speeding. Deadly, potentially.

It is raining again. “A” is feeling far away someplace, but he still wants to live. He has hope.

So “B” has gone alone for those frozen dinners. “A” is guilty for not going with her. Perhaps she just wanted company. Perhaps she would have felt safer around all those speeding steel bodies. Why don’t these two separate, or why don’t they get married, or why don’t they dream up some way to be “together” — connected and out of the rain — that does not cause such pain. That does not have them clinging and therefore drowning together.

A frozen meal, bedtime. They will awake again on July 2nd — and drown again.

There are money issues, “A” tells me. He brought up those issues to “B”. (It is increasingly clear that there is no formal bond between them. Is there a need for formal, legal bonds anymore? Have we not all just fallen together in the same deep shell hole? Did not something crash into this earth and leave a very big hole?

“A” wants to be bonded at any cost, even the cost of drowning, and everything that comes with bonds, meaning joined-ness.

It dawns on”A”. His Aunt “C” died on this day. A peaceful death on a July 1st. Is he right? Did he not suspect that “C” actually died before midnight that July 1st and therefore it was still a June day in a far-off land after he and “B” visited her? They were taking a trip together, trying to get out of the hole.

Days like that, away from the rainy gray details of one’s personal geography, can revive the soul, if there is a soul.

“A” has been anxious in a world in which he is not what he seems. So he tell me. He says “A” and “B” are both not what they seem. Time rushes. And they, always and forever, are not who or what they appear. It will be the same tomorrow.

They have dogs. The dogs make “A” sad. But they are bonded to the dogs. “A” and”B”. Bonds =joinedness. Responsibility. The dogs use the back yard and, happy for them, have no responsibility. But “A” has the responsibility of cleaning up after them. You do that for things you love.

Aunt “C” was what she seemed, love, home, the familiar, gone now in this land of unlikeness. It’s good that “A” thought of her. He sees her, in a dream. It is a good dream.

It’s something, a memory, to build on….at the beginning of another July for “A” and “B”.

Again:

Memories can be good or bad. But it’s good to have them.

“B” tells “A” after she arrives back to their little place and after she has put the frozen dinners in the freezer, that she has stowed the teabags in a round tin in the cabinet.

Maybe, “A” thinks, he’ll have a nice cup of tea someday. Ward off this emptiness.

I go back inside my place. It has stopped raining. I wish it would rain. Now, it is just another July 1st. Dry, dank and hot.

I, too, think I’ll have a cup of tea.

Perhaps “A” And “B” will join me.

Away from the emptiness.

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