Tuesday, May 25, 2010

stand clear

Peaceful morning. I'm at the computer, thinking about what to write, savoring breakfast of warm spinach pie, listening to birdsong outside the open windows. Back from a beautiful early morning walk. Today, before eight, the conservation area is shrouded in mist, adrift in pearl. Colors soften and mute, bright meadow greens to sage, wildflowers to barely yellowed gray. Billowing white wild roses perfume the air. Brown rabbits linger on the mown paths, turning (white-tailed like deer) to jump back in the thickets as I near. I'm wary of coyotes, more for the rabbits' sake than mine. Robins hop ahead on the path. I spot a few cobwebs in the undergrowth, not perfect dartboards but small, furiously knit tangles. Maybe they're cocoons? My shoes are shiny from dew. I'm enjoying moving my body. I stand straight, pull in my gut, pick up the pace. I stop at the overlook. The river and mountains appear through sheer white haze. I see the demarcating curve between light and dark of the landscape, curved like an eye, the way I myself, amblyopic, see things. Downriver, to the left, the river and mountains are obliterated by gray.

On my walk I think about the museum exhibit the other day. I think of the bare naked beautiful bodies I did not brush past. The young woman had a beautiful physique. She was petite, shapely and toned, and her high youthful breasts were round and pert. I admired her perfect body. (Was mine ever like that? Perhaps.) I wanted to look. I wanted to look more than I did. When does one get to see the naked body of a beautiful young woman in a public setting? Of course I looked. It occurs to me that though I saw the naked young man who stood across from her (they stared into each other's eyes), I didn't see him from the front. I wish I had. I should have come closer and looked (it didn't occur to me - I wanted to look at them but at the same time to be nowhere near; the last thing I wanted to do was to pass between them, the thought was vaguely horrifying to me, very discomfiting, out of the question for me to dare the plunge) but the doorway where they stood was at the far end of the room, by a wall. The young man stood opposite the wall, while the young woman (I first wrote girl), far more exposed, faced the open room. As usual (conventional, for example, in movies), it's more okay to gaze at a woman's naked body than to glimpse a man's. The man was relatively sheltered, unless someone did choose to pass between them. I witnessed only one person do so, a man who popped into the room near where I stood. I realized what he had just done, and considering the circumstances his expression amused me. He was in his own zone, oblivious, not as though he had just sideways run the gauntlet between a pair of beautiful motionless nudes within a narrow doorway, but as if, more mundanely (at least in NYC), he had managed to jump into a subway car just as the doors were closing and now that he was in was all that mattered.

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