Em­brac­ing your phys­i­cal side

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Editorial - Rus­sell Wanger­sky

The light is go­ing now, and I’m up­stairs look­ing at how the maple leaves have come out on all the trees now. And I’m lis­ten­ing to B.B. King singing “I’ll Sur­vive,” the notes climb­ing and fall­ing on the pi­ano he isn’t play­ing him­self, but one that runs right with him ev­ery sin­gle inch of the way.

And I’m struck again, both by how in­her­ently vi­o­lent the blues can be and also how deep­rooted all the truly phys­i­cal plea­sures are.

Food, drink, good mu­sic, the feel of a warm hu­mid wind on your skin on a sum­mer night. The vice of the vis­ceral. Stay with me now.

Pork belly, siz­zling and hot on cast iron when it comes sweat­ing to the ta­ble. Mus­sels and clams, fresh out of the wa­ter and steamed over the coals of an open fire lay­ered with arm­loads of io­dine-laced low-tide sea­weed. (I haven’t done that in years, haven’t done that since a beach party be­low Dan-dan’s Woods, a place and a con­cept so con­vo­luted I can’t pos­si­bly ex­plain it to you now, but suf­fice to say it was a mos­quito-bit­ten evening that hap­pened when I was a child with un­cles and aunts and cousins, a won­der I will never for­get.) The rich first bite of lob­ster or scal­lop when there’s still plenty left.

But you know what I mean. You know the lure of it. You know the taste of it, and if you say you don’t, I know you are ly­ing.

Like the car. Like driv­ing in the car, the ra­dio on loud, the win­dows down, the smell of the hot bar­ren lands blow­ing across you in all its com­plex­ity. A quar­ter falls in the cos­mic juke­box, and it shoots right into you. A song you haven’t heard in years, a song you can’t even re­mem­ber hear­ing be­fore, but some­thing like Bruce Spring­steen’s “The River” just about put­ting you off the road. He’s go­ing down to the river with Mary, and then, “For my 19th birth­day, I got a union card and a wed­ding coat.”

But maybe that’s not thing.

Maybe it’s Lyle Lovett’s “Sim­ple Song” head­ing you un­err­ingly to­wards the ditch. To each their own. What I’m say­ing is that we play at be­ing log­i­cal and rea­son­able and eth­i­cal, but we some­how can’t help but like ba­con. your (That’s an over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion. On pur­pose.

If you’re ve­gan, it isn’t ba­con, but it’s some­thing just like that. The thing you want and need and want to not need.) Be­cause we for­get. We for­get — or try to deny — that we have a purely phys­i­cal side, and how­ever much it might bring us acres of doubts and fears and re­grets, it’s al­ways right there at the core of us, push­ing.

My ad­vice: Go out there some­times and get it. The an­gel’s on your right shoul­der, but I’m on your left, I’m dressed in red and I’ve got a pitch­fork. Horns on my hat. Hiya.

For a sim­ple rea­son: You might not be here to­mor­row. Have it, the way good ice cream coats your mouth. The way the third hot dog is bet­ter than the first. The way Ruth Moody makes “Danc­ing in the Dark” the song you want to hear when the moon starts to rise, an­gling up through spruce tree­tops and mounded clouds and the pil­low­ing wood smoke from an out­door bon­fire.

The light is gone, and B.B. King has gone as well, and now I’m lis­ten­ing to Brandi Carlile and I can hear the traf­fic flow­ing out­side with the win­dow open and my heart has opened up so wide that the sky wouldn’t fill it.

I don’t even know you and I’m wish­ing you the best of nights.

Like the car. Like driv­ing in the car, the ra­dio on loud, the win­dows down, the smell of the hot bar­ren lands blow­ing across you in all its com­plex­ity. A quar­ter falls in the cos­mic juke­box, and it shoots right into you.

Rus­sell Wanger­sky’s col­umn ap­pears in 39 Saltwire news­pa­pers and web­sites in At­lantic Canada. He can be reached at rus­sell.wanger­sky@thetele­gram. com — Twit­ter: @wanger­sky.

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