by Angeliska on November 26, 2010
Yesterday afternoon, we made the journey over hill and dale on the first
of our familial holiday pilgrimages. I hear all the time complaints about
the lack of seasons in Texas, and our pitiful lack of autumn – untrue, I say!
The oaks are wearing russet cloaks, the sumacs scarlet, and the fields
are molten gold with fat hillocks of hay. It is indescribably lovely.
Having just witnessed the glory of a flaming October in Vermont, I can
admit it’s true that we are less majestic, less postcard-worthy, though
there is a peculiar magic in these hills and groves that I adore. Maybe
it’s my fondness for jolie-laide, for things that aren’t unapproachably
perfect – the crooked teeth in the landscape, the broken noses of
cruddy clapboard houses along desolate highways. It’s a hard-won
beauty. You have to squint, look closely, and be willing to wander
in creek-bottoms and over barbed wire fences sometimes to find it.
You have to be willing to get your hands dirty – but when you do,
it’s that much sweeter for it. Beauty that comes too easy makes me
skittish. It dazzles me, and I just gape like a filthy child at a shiny shop
window. It’s hard for me to feel like I have a place in all of that, I guess.
Like kissing someone so outrageously gorgeous that you can hardly
believe they even exist on the same planet as you. I revel in imperfections
and anomalies. They make me feel at more at home, somehow.
You see strange things hurl past you at high speeds on those backroads.
Faded signs whose obsolete messages you still struggle to make out,
beautiful abandoned houses, and dead trees that read as sculpture against
the big sky – black-limbed and bony, reaching up in agony with hundreds
of twisted wooden witch-fingers. I wish all the time that I could just bring them
all home with me to hang blue-bottles from. There’s got to be a way to do that.
I saw an old black limousine with bashed in windows parked in the middle of
a tawny cornfield. It looked like a lost still from The Reflecting Skin, and made
me think again of some of my favorite films that take place in the weird liminal
space that is a fallow field. They are all tied together in my mind – that one,
and Tideland, and also Malick’s Days of Heaven and Badlands. All favorite
films of mine, and all masterpieces of wrongness set in tall yellow grass
with decrepit old houses. A lot can happen in the terrifying wide open of
a prairie. That grass can whisper to you of terrible things. All of those films
come from this place, I think:
Turkey buzzards overhead as Amethyst Deceivers played (our traveling
soundtrack was nearly exclusively Coil, both before and more poignantly,
after we learned of dear Unkle Sleazy’s passing…) I saw a giant carrion
bird gleefully gnawing on a smear of roadkill while listening to these lyrics:
Pay your respects to the vultures / for they are your future
I felt happy remembering that – that we are all one day fine feasts
for vultures and worms. I love the completeness of these cycles.
I wish less was wasted – time, material, energy. I wish sky-burial
could happen in Texas as well as Tibet. I’m happy that Sleazy’s
shell will be treated in accordance with his wishes in Thailand.
It is my dream that one day, we will all be able to complete that
cycle with our bodies, and feed something else with what we
leave behind. Our systems for dealing with death, and our grief
and burial rituals severely need massive restructuring, and soon.
I love how persimmon trees look festooned with bright ornaments on cold days.
I am extremely blessed to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving twice,
with two amazing families – (both my own, and Colin’s) and to be
able to enjoy caffè corretto alla grappa and discussions about nuclear
physics in the parlour with Colin’s papa, and stay up until 3am talking
about everything under the sun with his mama. They are so lovely.
My own folks also just blow me away with their strength and positivity -
my dad’s dealing with chemotherapy right now, and he’s been taking
it all in stride and maintaining his jovial nature. Send him a good wish,
won’t you? He’d be very grateful to you. I am so thankful to be a part
of such good families, and to be surrounded by so many amazing
friends. I love my life. I am so glad I chose it, and that I get to share it.
Thank you for reading, thank you for being a part of it. Goodnight!
Eulogies for Sleazy:
From Coilhouse – So Long, Sleazy
From John Coulthart – Peter Christopherson, 1955–2010