Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Cosmos tastes like Old Bay


I glow when I drive eastbound across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. At least that's how it feels. Now, no one is staring or pointing at me as I go by, so I may not be actually glowing.

Hitting the Bay Bridge is like a trigger experience--it evokes a certain feeling. It's an aesthetic high. When your head, heart and soul are all elevated together, lifted up above whatever plane they were previously on. And in that experience are changed, for the better.

Wordsworth and the Romantics (not a band, that I am aware of) would use the word "sublime,"  to describe this experience, which I dig as well. For Wordsworth, the sublime could be approached by the mind, but the mind would come up short. The mind can walk up to it, but can't grasp it, so the spirit takes over and can bridge it, can touch the sublime, but only temporarily.

We step into the sublime at an intense sunrise. Maybe on the beach, listening to the surf, before anyone is around. Above treeline in the mountains. Surrounded by redwoods in California. Grand Canyon. This experience of the sublime happens in nature and through art, and I am going to say throughout our lives, though maybe we've never named it or thought about it that way.

I've been thinking about this, the eastbound across the Chesapeake Bay/sublime feeling and what it is, what triggers it and why. And then yesterday I was reading Albert Goldbarth, who said, "We're the few but beautiful / units of the first day of the cosmos / densed up over time;"

Maybe Goldbarth has unearthed something here (that is generally the case when I read him, he is an aesthetic archaeologist, uncovering something new daily). Maybe in the sublime, we are reaching back, touching or experiencing something akin to that first aesthetic experience: Creation (please note the capital "C").

If we mix some Carl Jung into our Goldbarth-and-the-sublime sandwich, maybe the sublime is our soul, tapped into the collective unconscious, re-experiencing, recognizing Creation, tapping our fleeting consciousness into the Cosmos.

Dude. No. Duuuuuude. So when I'm driving eastbound over the Chesapeake, when my heart races, when my eyes and soul light up, when my brain tickles, I'm getting a hearty helping of the Cosmos, served through the Chesapeake.

Mmmm.

Tastes like... Old Bay.

4 comments:

Jenna said...

I can't imagine being on that bridge 3 times a week -- I've only been on it three times TOTAL. The first time I was on it, my girlfriend underplayed how massive it was. Now I'm scarred for life. For life!

Kelly McMullen said...

oh god, i looooove this

makes me homesick! thank you dear soulwriter friend :)

Michael Valliant said...

Jenna - made it is something you get used to having lived around it and traveled over it for almost 40 years? Seems I've talked to a number of others recently who are unnerved by the bridge.

Kelly - what fabulous adventures you are having! You always take the path less traveled by :)

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