Saturday, September 22, 2018

When it's equinox time in old New Jersey, we'll be a peach of a pear.

Dear Weathered,

What of these phenomena:  Why are crumbling buildings the most beautiful?  Why are people the most appealing when they are clothed against a bit of cold? 

Autumnal thoughts, to be sure, but what is it about a hat for the cold that is more aesthetically pleasing than a hat for the sun?

An example:  Read this picture with me.

Yes, they are traveling, they have bags, and coats, and boots.  They are headed 'up' a dirt road.  They have turned, to look back at us, mid stride.  Are they hurrying?  There is no place that the road seems to end.  Where are they going, then?  The picture is split, diagonally, into a dark and a light half.  The line that the two values meeting makes is intersected by the left figure- the figures are also dressed darkly, and they balance the shadowed mystery of the untamed woods on the left half of the image.  The origami shapes of their coats make two upward pointing arrows.  They have also turned towards each other slightly, in turning to us.  They are surprised?  Impatient for us to catch up?  Annoyed at the interruption?  It's a fairly neutral expression that we can read a lot of different narratives onto.  Are they headed out, or returning to home?

Imagine, now, that they are wearing shorts, tank tops, flip-flops; sunlight pours down on the dusty heat of the road.  It's just not as good, no matter how much we might enjoy ogling bare skin.  Wearing a coat says you are going somewhere, doesn't it?   It says you mean to do business with the caprices of nature, with the bodily dangers of the world.

For the few people left in the auditorium, after all the folks who feel that things just are, and that meaning isn't relevant to their puny lives; yes, isn't it grand to play these kinds of parlor games with the cultural artifacts of humanity?  Why this album cover in particular, you ask?  Because I happen, at this moment in time, to have two of these records, and one is out of the cabinet, awaiting a new home.  Perhaps you would like a copy of this fine album?  Let me know, by tying a message to a dove's leg- I'll send it to you next week by bike carrier, or parachute drop.