Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Passion, an unfollowed road & competition

It should be obvious this photograph is not one of mine. The quality is too good to be mine. But, since the setting for the post I have written this evening is Marquette, Michigan, it seemed appropriate to include an illustration from there. In case someone does not recognize the sight, it is the Aurora Borealis -- the Northern Lights -- as they appear over a frozen Lake Superior. It has been a long time since I have seen The Lights, and I am lonesome for them. I suppose I also am lonesome for The Lake.

How do you argue with a great kisser?

One of the long-time-ago three best friends who I occasionally write about here, the woman, and I had an ongoing argument. At times, the argument rose to the level of shouting at each other.

This was the same woman, by the way, I once mentioned in a post in the context of shock and awe. In case you missed that post, our shock and awe was not in the nature of a military sweep by infantry troops or a barrage of bombs and missiles. It was this:

A few times, after a few drinks in a saloon where we were not well known, we would begin making out while sitting on stools at the bar. In a matter of moments, she would be on my lap and our hands would be as frantic as our lips. After a minute or two of this, we would abruptly stop, look around the barroom with startled expressions on our faces, grab our belongings and literally run for the door. There, we would stop, grapple for another moment or two or three, then rush out the door.

The origin of this had been one evening when it was not an act, not a performance, but, actually a spontaneous and genuine "fit of passion." We were both married at the time, and we collected our thoughts and controlled our emotions at some point along the dash between the bar and the car. Perhaps, that is why we remained friends.

In actuality, I was the cooler head, the calmer mind. She also wanted us to "run off" together and to begin another life together. I persuaded her that was not to be our destiny = not to be a road traveled.

Back to the original story. Our argument was this: I maintained that the only person worth competing against was oneself. My point might be illustrated by running. If I could run a mile in six minutes and my competitor could run a mile in five minutes, I should not be concerned about reducing my time in order to beat him, but simply should want to better my own time in the sense of bettering my own self.

My friend spoke passionately that she would be No. 2 to no one in any manner of undertaking without trying anything and everything to win. She was a hard competitor, and did not believe in being second best.

My next point in our debate was that no one can be the best at everything. So what if my competitor could run the mile faster than I could do it? Undoubtedly, there would be other competitive feats and ordinary tasks in which I could come out the winner.

No, she would say, you have to try to beat everyone at everything.

Neither of us would relent in our positions. We never did, but I do miss the arguments -- as well as our barroom improvisations. You see, her insistence at being the best at everything included being the best at kissing.

"Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known"
The first and the original last stanzas
by William Wordsworth

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover’s ear alone,
What once to me befell.

I told her this: her laughter light
Is ringing in my ears:
And when I think upon that night
My eyes are dim with tears.


Kaya said...

Fram, I assume it's a nice photograph but I am not fan of this type photography. It's so impersonal and perfect.

I saw Northern Lights in Sankt Petersburg (Saint Petersburg), Russia. I remember how I was fascinated by this. If I tell you that was moment of bliss do you believe me?

I read your story about your friend. I read it as just another story but later I realized that you are afraid to be in love. Aren't you? Tell me that I am mistaken.

I think that you both were too rationalistic and you both desperately wanted to stay whole in your relationship. No broken hearts and drama.....

And you can "shut me with shame and failure" if I am wrong. I don't know why this verse follows me everywhere right now. Something about this verse is weird and fascinating at the same time.... I promise never to use this verse again.

I never was sure do I like William Wordsworth or not. I never had inspiration coming from reading his poems.

Old Abba???? It's nice that you found their video. I almost forgot about them. It was fun to watch and listen them again.

And U2 is good.

I enjoyed reading this post, Fram. Very much.

Fram Actual said...

It is an interesting observation that you make regarding this photograph, Kaya. It is similar to my feeling regarding some paintings. I once attended an open art show where many of the paintings were the work of commercial artists. The paintings were perfections of precision, every brush stroke exact and faultless. But, the paintings were devoid of character and any hint of actual life. Perhaps, this was the photograph of a commercial photographer.

For a few years, I ran at midnight on a country road. That is when I saw the Northern Lights most often. I can believe they created a moment of bliss for you. For me, The Lights almost became a familiar companion and part of the ordinary. By the way, midnight is a great time of the "day" to run. (At least, when you are not near city lights.) You become acquainted with all the stars and their movements as the seasons progress.

I honestly do not know if I am afraid of love. After two failed marriages, I might be now. If I were then, I did not know it. My friend and I both were married to others at the time, which was the primary reason I did not wish to fall off a romantic cliff with her.

I am not sure at what stage of his life Carl Sandburg wrote that poem. I might research it -- or, I might not. In my opinion, I think all he was doing was singing the praises of the power of love, not speaking in an actual context of his position in life. I believe Sandburg was saying, "Do to me, life, what you will. As long as I can love and be loved, I can handle anything and everything you throw at me."

William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were great friends during a significant portion of their lives, so, for me, thinking of one brings to mind the other, and it is like picking a favorite actor or a favorite football team between a choice of two. I prefer both the life and the poetry of Coleridge, which means I do not bother to think about Wordsworth in a positive sense most of the time.

I like the sound of Abba, but have a hard time not laughing when I see a video of this band.

Thank you, Kaya, for your thoughtful comment.

Kaya said...

"Do to me, life, what you will. As long as I can love and be loved, I can handle anything and everything you throw at me." First, when I thought about this verse I wanted to argue with Carl Sandburg. I thought it's extreme.

Not this morning.... Fram, I like this poet more and more. He brings you to self-questioning.

Life, do to me what you want or will, put me on streets with a hunger, make me beg for a bread, take away my shelter but if I don't loose ability to love I will be able to handle that. It will keep me alive....

Rachael Cassidy said...

I have kicked a few men to the curb after the first dreadfully failed kiss. A kiss tells so much, and from my experience, to be good at it, really really good at it, is a must.
At times, there is nothing better than an exquisite kiss.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, I suppose Carl Sandburg (and any really good poet) does that to the reader, Kaya. Create questions, I mean.

I doubt there is such a thing as universal thought regarding a particular poem, which is to say, that all readers would interpret a poem pretty much the same way, but I think most readers would agree that "love can conquer all adversity" is the thought Sandburg wishes to convey here.

Going one step further, I am not certain I agree that love conquers all applies universally to all people, but it is nice to believe that it might.

I think I should read some more Sandburg. It has been a long while.

Fram Actual said...

You know, Rachael, I think there should be more kissing contests taking place in the world. Or, maybe, the first action upon meeting someone who seems appealing and interesting should be the exchange of two or three of the "best kisses" each participant has to offer. That might be a better method for matching "ideal couples," rather than spending many hours talking and a lot of time going out on dates.

On second thought, spending time getting to know each other is at least as important as kissing compatibility.

It is very nice to have you visiting me here again, Rachael, and commenting again.

Something special ....