Friday, October 30, 2009

Golden Land

     It is gold, red, violet, green. Again, it is golden, purple, blue and brown like brown ocher, sienna or sepia, the red of cinnabar, carmine, Venetian or Puzzuoli red, sulfur yellow, chromium yellow, Indian yellow, terracotta, mottled greenish-blue, yellowish green, blue, dark purple. Take a train through the woods of the Carpathians and stare like a madman at what October can do. When the sun is shining on it, the whole poplar burns like a yellow flame, the beeches spout their narrow orange flames into the sky; I don't know which plant burns the red of the forge. Gold, red, violet, green. Sacred, sacred, sacred! Our Father, who art in heaven--it is beautiful.
    It is sentimental, but I cannot help it; if one looks at nature in its sacred moments, the the other events seem suppressed and muted. The bureaucracy certainly does not look as nice as walnut leaves. When a government falls, it doesn't make the same sound as a chestnut falling out of a tree and plonk! its little eye peeks out from its green casing. And currency values do not fall as elegiacally and majestically as the beautiful golden foliage. Gold, brown, orange, red.
    Bless me, O beautiful fervor of old things. Face to face with nature like this, sir, and it awakens it you unusually conservative feelings (and do not try to deny it). May the durability of old things and pragmatic advice be praised. May what is not epochal and groundbreaking in humanity be praised, what is not yesterday's or tomorrow's, but what is eternal and unchanging. Namely: youth and maturity, rest, love, a good table, religion, heroism, sleep, and other old and wise matters. My handwriting cannot compete with you, O burning groves, but face to face with you I am content with my few gray hairs, my fatigue, and my strength. For everything is in order, as it has been for ages. Gold and green, white and black.
    And I will tell you, what it especially pretty now in October are the villages. They are bundled up in their golden and red apples, yellow lindens and chestnuts in a gentle and almost playful way. Red and gray roofs, and overhead some wise smoke. God, how grandly, how thoroughly the year proceeds in such a village! How firmly and sacredly each season nestles in here! Here with us in the cities a person scarcely realizes that things are transpiring, that things are changing. Spring and summer, autumn and all, they take on and put off an overcoat, put the umbrella in the corner, and take out their gloves. That is all. We have not stopped time, but we have concealed its tracks somewhat. We age, but without rhythm. Another year of life gone, but there were no four seasons; there was just the one year.
    Gold, red, cerulean, brown. Dried leaves. The enormous extravagance of nature, which shaped, crenelated, corrugated, and furrowed each of those beautiful leaves, and now it casts them off, crumbles them, and pulps them down. Then it begins to shape them, scallop them and furrow them all over again. That is as it should be. It's good when it is as it should be. Green, gold, and red. Dried leaves.
    There are still golden and violet flowers at the periphery, still tender and trembling honey mushrooms smelling sweetly in the damp clay, and the last apple still shines red on the branch. Lord, when I get old, when I really get old, give me the tenacity of flowers and fruit. Give me golden and violet blossoms, until I bloom in quiet and bright stars; grant that I bear solidly firm and red apples which will last through the winter. And when there is a new generation of growth, when the cherries are all eaten, when we've gotten to the last apples, they do wither, but they will await a new age, tough and dark. Let me once raise a few tough red apple trees that will survive to next summer, amen.
    Gold, red, broken brown. Lord, thank you for the beautiful course of the year.



[No one can say the man's not aggressively sentimental. Nevertheless, there's a niceness here. Perhaps it's a bit close to "Topsoil" in content, but these were originally published eleven years apart instead of two days.]

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