Saturday, April 23, 2011

All clear for jebbiebeans and summey madness?

Whit and I have been having an antic day of it, and of course it's you-know-whose fault. I took it in mind that we should go out and photograph a dogwood blooming at the edge of 12 new acres of Moscato Ottonel being planted nearby, to let our chums in California know what a Virginia vineyard looks like.

Ever since, prescient seer that he is, of aromatics which exist only still in one's mind, he has been wondering when we are going to see the first harvest. How do you tell a guy like that, "3 years," when he's already dressing the part of a dashing Epicurus on break from serious worldly cares, such as where to download his next mp3? You know he's bound to pull out his cruelest ace-in-the-hole of protest, But I'll be Old By Then, practically dead, and way too decrepit to enjoy it.

We live with this kind of effrontery all the time, with Whit, and if pressed into even greater candour, we could say we almost really don't mind. Balancing the soothing precognition that he probably does walk on water, is the practice of the well fed soul in him, that knows the hour of his guaranteed outings will not vary more than a stride or two of the minute hand (an admitted decade, in canine time), and that with the slightest fly-by of an errant cardinal he may assert the divine right of chase without due application for a warrant.

In fact we have not been immune to this invasion of curiosity, either, as to when it will be time for jebbiebeans and summey madness, that promised reward for waiting patiently (can you stand it?) for the Resurrection to lift the restraints of Lent. Honestly, when you think of the harshest residual consequences of Rome's imperious misrule, does any of them compare with postponing jellybeans until after Easter Communion, never mind the itchy pants? To think: we might have had Cy Twombly an entire century, perhaps a millennium sooner, if they could have done their decline and fall thing with kindlier efficiency.

But there we are. It's not as if they couldn't have worked it out, to let Easter fall on a Friday afternoon, for example, even if this might have meant stabbing Caesar at home some 40 years before, instead of at the office. Just by accelerating a phalanx or two of Scipio's centurions against Hannibal by an inch of time, you can well see the multiplier effect of centuries on that courtesy, hastening all our happiness and peeling years away from our decay as we speak. So, yes, on an April afternoon in the country, an English dog wants his summer madness now, thank you very much, and doesn't care if he looks ridiculous as he claims it.

Does it mean anything, that history takes forever to unravel injustice's horrors? The question touches intimately on a Virginian's way of life, of course, so one doesn't wish to press it too sharply, on this most sweetly meditative of afternoons. 

Meanwhile, there will be several more Sundays in itchy pants for us, and eons of English Cocker melodrama before we taste that Moscato. Just have to send to California, to ship us some.

Cy Twombly
Summer Madness


  1. tnks for comps on tumb... lovely stuff here. notgunnachangenuthin...

  2. Tom, great to see you, comps w dsvd as goes w/o saying. :) It became a great afternoon in the Piedmont and Whit's & my first easy lie-down on the lawn this Spring. Hope the same for you. It just officially became Easter and for all the fuss, above, I find I forgot to hide any jellybeans about the place. Must improvise with a biscuit for Whit.

    Meanwhile, although we had facetious fun in blaming Rome in this entry, for postponing our lives and our remedies, we trust it's clear that it's in ourselves to pursue them - not, as Whit has it, because we could decay, but because we certainly decay if we do not. But it just wasn't a day for stating the obvious. So, if you are Roman, please accept our apologies. L

  3. Hello Laurent:
    There is something in what you write here of Hardy's 'Convergence of the Twain'.

  4. That's a masterpiece and thrillingly written (I hope you find), and it's great to have it recalled to one by some accident of one's own. I love the vigor in it now where the schoolboy had been put off by the cadences and rhymes, so I shall take it back into mind as a fine sequestered Easter treat.

  5. An Agnus Dei of a gladder beat.

  6. How I take to the dog's pagan freedoms along with his pure heart & nature than to man's imposed religion & disciplines, but you knew that.

  7. With enviable self-knowledge, you put your finger on another enviable condition, the model of life you mention. I wonder if the keeping of a dog is an escapist mode of possessing that condition by proxy; I'd rather think it an inspiration, but a dog will scoff sometimes, either way. :)