Ok, so the kids are eating berries, and the photograph isn't from today, but "Berries and Lucidity" doesn't quite have the ring does it, and this picture would make me happy on any day: nothing like the luxury of eating berries with your back turned to the stunning backdrop of a glistening lake and rustling trees. I love kids: one intense aesthetic experience at a time. And this is what I want to struggle with a bit: I had my moment of lucidity when I was fully focused on the lamb I was cooking for dinner tonight, stopping for that first fragrant burst when the meat really starts to cook, waiting for the oregano and cinnamon to start working together without getting lost, looking after the eggplant to see how it was absorbing the flavors. All sorts of alchemy, all sorts of reactions happening right there, and each seemed more beautiful than the last. Let's be clear, it was not an epiphany (for that, I can always go to M.F.K. Fisher), it was pure, unknowing escape - thoughts and worries really falling away as the little sensual feats before me took over. (Note: the thoughts and worries are the garden variety, no worries: is ballet for Miss E tomorrow? did I schedule that meeting? when will I write that proposal? what's it all for?) I felt seriousness of purpose and clarity of thought - lucidity. But let's face it, lucidity is elusive. It comes, it goes, it shimmers on the surface of the little control we think we have.
In the Middle Ages when you were stressed out by insistent and plaguing thoughts, you went to sleep. Actually, you read a bunch of problematic books from classical antiquity, and then you fell asleep, and then you woke up in a dream allegorical landscape where lucidity is over-rated and (now that I think about it) nobody eats lamb or much of anything else. I've been thinking as much about narrative frames as narratives these days (how the frames within which we tell our stories condition those stories) and dream allegories present some pretty incredible frame. Here you're seeing the author/writer/narrator at his medieval desk (and both Mister M and I have lusted after that desk - how cool is it?) on the left (nobody knows who the onlookers are: you and me?), and the dreamer (perhaps or perhaps not at all the same person as the author/writer/narrator) in bed on the right. The image is from the incredible MS. Douce 195 copy of the the Roman de la Rose, a manuscript richly illuminated in tales of classical antiquity - those which provoke and trouble. My favorite part is the little dog, utterly alert and looking at us - hoping we'll be distracted enough to let a little piece of lamb fall.