Thursday, March 31, 2016

POTD: Tempting Symbol Squarely in My Path

From 2016 02 05 Agra

Today's photo-of-the-day is from the tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah in Agra, India. On the lawn just outside of the tomb was the scene in this photo. I smiled, walked on, and said nothing.

Excerpt from "The Floating Opera," by John Barth:
The thermometer outside the offices of The Daily Banner read eighty-nine degrees when I walked past it on my way uptown. Few people were on the streets. At the curb in front of a large funeral parlor a sleek black hearse was parked, its loading door closed, and several mourners, along with the black-suited employees of the establishment, stood quietly about in the yard. As I approached, a fat black pussycat, scarred with experience and heavy with imminent kittens, trotted wearily out of a hydrangea bush beside the undertaker's porch into the sun, and for no discernible reason curled plumply in the middle of the sidewalk and closed her eyes. Just then the door opened, and the pallbearers came out bringing the casket. Their path was diverted, but not greatly, by the pregnant cat. Some of the pallbearers smiled, and an employee of the funeral home nudged the cat aside with his toe. She got up, stretched, yawned, and padded off to find some less-traveled thoroughfare to sleep in; the loading door of the hearse was swung open, and the casket loaded gently inside.

I smiled and walked on. Nature, coincidence, can often be a heavy-handed symbolizer. She seems at times fairly to club one over the head with significance such as this clumsy "life-in-the-face-of-death" scenario, so obvious even in its details that it was embarrassing.


So, reader, should you ever find yourself writing about the world, take care not to nibble at the many tempting symbols she sets squarely in your path, or you'll be baited into saying things you don't really mean, and offending the people you want most to entertain. Develop, if you can, the technique of the pallbearers and myself: smile, to be sure, but walk on and say nothing, as though you hadn't noticed.
Source: The Floating Opera, by John Barth.

No comments: