The weather has warmed up here. The shallow pond by the lake, looking like a Victorian relic is filled with a glassy catalog of reflections. Seed pods and leaves (and other detritus that has weathered the winter) drift by on that longitudinal surface, not swept but kindly secreted away.
The young boys come out from the school yards fascinated by the prospect of subduing the shallows of the pond with the tread of their bikes and the soles of their shoes. But has mastery ever taken such an inconsistent form? The boys peddle in endless iterations of the same circle. They go around and around, as if amazed that the water isn’t lacerated and lying open but dares to close up the wounds. There are only the slight ripples on the surface to suggest that the boys ever rode there.
So, they subject the water’s surface to all of the tests ever devised by philosophy to test reality including anarchic splashing and rough stomping. They lob rocks from the grassy banks around the pond (some of them sail right over my head) and the rocks thunk in the water. They ride, stand, and apprise. Watching them conduct their tests is both exhilarating, frightening, and tragic. Watching them I am reminded of the desire that seems to tear through childhood–boys and girls alike–with a ghoulish desire to kill the child and birth and man (or woman). The ghouls wants to grapple with the solid things of this world. At times it grasps so tightly that it strangles and mutilates.
That ghoul, that ghastly ghoul, lurks, lusting to split flesh. I see it in the contempt that the older boys have from the younger boy who craps in his pants. They quickly dispatch him to mother for further tending. There will no more testing for the little one today, just the memory of shame and thus a breach will open up for the ghoul.
I see the ghoul in the fat boy–the fat ones always seem prematurely old–who gleefully eggs on another boy to run over the ducks in the pond. There is a blank, automatism in the boy who follows this command. He cycles on but his whole being seems devoid of passion; there is none of the lust in him that will send him down to the basement to the rafters with a lamp cord and suspend himself over the beyond in five years.
Watching the boys perform their tests, I cannot decide if I am watching monsters or poets being born. Soulless killers or impassioned experimenters. And yes, the pond’s glassy surface refuses to admit any in between.