Mondrian, View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers,
I love the swirling gold-tinged fogs—I seek their amorphous caresses.
Like a woman of the mists or a mermaid of the depths, they come to me in some darkened sanctuary where I steal a few moments away from the glaringly visible and concrete workaday world which crushes, which touches my skin with clamps. I wish to float away in them, or lay in their brackish hollows until I dissolve. It so happens I either can’t—I am moored, I grab but my grip won’t hold—or in the moment of truth I discover my fear of floating (and flying)—or wake from my half-dream with a start, wondering what I was thinking—realizing the ugliness of partially-decayed flesh trapped in a tidal pool. (And in this case, it’d be my own—yuck!)
Forsaking the golden-tinged fog I return to the concrete. As I stroll down the concrete (sidewalk) I do not require the question: what is the concrete? I only need to get where I am going—I need to punch a clock punctually and concretely—the concrete I stride upon is certainly helpful in getting me where I must go (this ‘must’ a necessity also requiring no questioning,) –the friendly ooze of sand on a beach would unnecessarily impede my hurried walk, to say nothing of the temptation to dawdle the beach and the sand would present to me if I was on my way to the place I must be going. Hardness supports me in my hard undertaking, rigidity is the structure of my rigidity. I will dream in air, but I will labor in the concrete.
Or will I? What if my labor is to fly free? What if the purpose of labor is to touch the sands with naked toes, as if the first time, each time toes touch sand? How would the concrete help me here? Not so-- I would require a jackhammer to even reach the sand.
Is the option now given me as given so very benign—to hurry down the concrete to where it abruptly ends at land’s end a narrow band of white still wild, take off my shoes for a toes'-moment’s refreshment before returning, without full satisfaction, to “the concrete.” Goodbye, mermaids and mists, who only come to those more patient....Concrete mists and mermaids waiting stationary beckon to me as substitutes, but in this realm of the concrete where they sit without smiles, are really getting me down. With concrete galoshes on, I sink to the bottom.