Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mentally Faithful

Here's an odd juxtaposition of reality and imagination, that I'm preferring the mental Old Faithful to the actual geyser. Fascinating!

I was in the belly of the beast a day or so ago, but then I came up. Of course I have full awareness and complete memory of what it's like down there. With a few lights strung around, attached to electrical cords plugged into a long drop cord, I could see quite well. The shine of the central tube is most impressive. It glistens as it rises to its full length. A good word to describe it is 'insistent.' It rises and stands tall. You can look at it -- it's so shiny -- and see yourself like in a mirror. It's also fascinating to touch it, to reach as high as you can, knowing that it strains toward the surface. What's so fascinating about it? That it's so cold, for one, freezing. And knowing that it is normally so hot, scalding hot.

The scaffolding and stairs and other necessaries are around. The giant steel balls for water with all the flaming apparatus, gas jets, knobs, gauges, water pipes, and bellows rack are standing in place as well. But I've left it and have returned to the house. I locked up the works, to keep out neighbor kids, and have been in the house these hours since, meditating upon it as a beautiful thing, in fact and in my imagination.

But what's coming to me now, as I sit and stew over the details, is this, that it's also a beautiful mental construct. Meaning it can be as big and awful as I want it to be in here, while out there it is as big as it is, which of course is not bigger than it needs to be to carry out and perform its function. It's big but not spacious. And I'm even having a hard time saying it's "big," when it's simply the size it is to get the job done. There's no credit in having something be a larger size than it needs to be to get its job done. For example you wouldn't want a car that took up two lanes of traffic just for the status, because they wouldn't let you drive it; it wouldn't be practical. Similarly, you wouldn't want a dinner pail that took three men to carry it.

But size is a good quality when it comes to the imagination. You can recall it as it is, but the more you stew over it, mulling, spinning out ever widening mental pictures, the larger it can become. Until you've got Marvel Cave in your mind for width and depth. And you've got scaffolding and structure that leads off ten different directions. The central tube has to have several relay boosters, perhaps reheating units for the water along the way as it travels from the original thermal depths. The steel balls are more like massive drums, set in frames with steel bars to keep its integrity, lest the weight within distend them at any (perhaps) weakened point in their outer arc. You not only have the heating unit, with its practical size, but now it's so big and generating such heat that you know it has to be wasting fuel.

And how do I envision myself within this massive structure? As very very small. Surveying it from all points in a hard hat. Wondering how it ever happened that I, a humble local man, ever managed to get such an enormous thing in my yard. I must own the county!

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