I keep flashing on this quote from Thoreau’s The Maine Woods and then on this painting by Egon Schiele, and marveling over the splendid catastrophe that is human intimacy. I think it is because I bought wild mushrooms today at the greenmarket, and as I sautéed them with sherry and olive oil and shallots and thyme, I was struck by their great mystery. What hyperobjects fungi are, even in containment. And I thought of how everything wonderful and terrible about sex–that loud secret, that subcutaneous clamor–can only be viewed through this lens as well. I considered all this, and I considered the mystery of the bodies that I crave, and then I folded the mushrooms into a pretty risotto and poured myself a glass of wine. Middle age answers few questions but grants us the dignity of detachment. Sometimes.
Whatever is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate. –Carl Jung
This is the quote that’s been on my consciousness–collective and otherwise– all week. Sometimes we have to listen; sometimes we have to act. It’s a balance that will assert itself even when we try to tip the scales in our favor. It’s a tarot card, a tipsy aside, a happy or unhappy catastrophe waiting in the wings. It’s a Jung quote, which in and of itself settles the score.
I woke with this painting by Egon Schiele in my mind’s eye, and as the morning has progressed I keep flashing on it. I’m not sure why, except that in this image lurks the conscious vulnerability that I need in order to move forward in every area of my life. This woman is subject. She is object. She is cagy. She is direct. She is erotic. She is uninviting. She is masculine. She is feminine. She is strong. She is susceptible. She is ugly. She is beautiful. She is tired. And she is engaged. January 2016 is turning out to be a bracingly interstitial month, one that calls for patron saints who aren’t pure so much as they are powerful. This violet-and-crimson-tipped sour puss just about fits the bill.