Friday, June 15, 2007


If we are to believe the Hindu legends, the human race will end in fire, before it all begins again. At that point the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers.

So what else is new? Virgil, my beloved, transrealmic alligator-muse, prefers to disappear and take a break whenever he sees me getting my knickers in a twist over what he calls the "Oil Wars." He spent this past week hanging out in the Louisiana bayou with Barbara Hurd, the woman who wrote his most favorite book in the whole world. The book is called "Stirring the Mud," and it's all about swamps.

In her book (which I've read, too, since Virgil insisted I learn more about his native habitat), Hurd describes swamps as places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds for organisms and ideas at the edge of civilized thinking. Swamps exude a feral magnetism and a raw mythic power that are good for the soul. Perhaps because they are so primordial and shapeless, they are places where you can wander and lose your bearings.

"Swamps," she writes, "will not lead you back the same way you came in. The trick is to learn how to wander there without intention, to float eye-to-eye with fringed orchids, to make yourself available to what lives there...."

Hell, she makes it sound like blogging!

Virgil has come back full of excitement about poling on the north side of the cove with Hurd and her Cajun boatman, Cyrus. At one point Cyrus tossed a few marshmallows into the water as bait. After a while he pointed suddenly with his finger to something waterlogged and fastened in the mud. It was an alligator, twenty feet long.

"That's Oscar," Cyrus said. And then Oscar and Virgil (who has political connections everywhere), immediately began hugging, as if they hadn't seen each other in a hundred years. It seems that he and Oscar go way back. Then they both angled downward, wriggling and diving and playing in the opaque broth of the swamp.

Sometimes Virgil acts as if he belongs in the real world. He's become such a good wriggler that I guess he can wriggle any way he chooses now.

"I'd love to be able to convey to you the sensational sense of freedom the wriggling experience implies," he tells me, "but no amount of words can really explain it."

Still, based on the buzzy look in his eyes and galvanized by his recent encounter, I think he's glad to be back blogging again, living as it were in a fool's paragraph.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Big smile. Virgil cracks me up.