"Suddenly from speed I turned to lethargy. I dropped the train. I dawdled about. I slept in an abandoned freight car on a siding and made friends with a stray mongrel I knew I would be forced to abandon. Once never should do this, but I found him a little food and shared it for a day or so. I still feel the pain....
"Still, I dawdled. I moved, yes; one has to move to live. I hit the little bakeries. I lived, but in a wilderness of slow freights and sunflowers. Sometime, I knew, winter would come. In the meantime I was content to bob about in the shallows. If there is any truth about these deceptive shallows, which I doubt, I was finally among them. I was as lost as the mongrel pup I had been forced to abandon.
"If anyone taught me anything about love, it was that dog. It is almost fifty years since I last saw him running desperately beside the freight to which I clung. I didn't even have a name for him. I wish we might meet somewhere. I hope...that he survived. But I know better. I am almost seventy. I have lived a rough life.... I know that I will never see that dog again. I may have given him his last meal.
"Let men beat men, if they will, but why do they have to beat and starve small things? Why?--why? I will never forget that dog's eyes, nor the eyes of every starved mongrel I have fed from Curacao to Cuernavaca. Not the drowning one I once fished out of an irrigation ditch in California, only to see him limp away with his ribs showing as mine once showed in the cabin long ago in Manitou. This is why I am a wanderer forever in the streets of men, a wanderer in mind, and, in these matters, a creature of desperate impulse."
-- Loren Eiseley, All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life (1975)
Sunday, December 14, 2014
A Creature of Desperate Impulse
Posted by David Appell at 12/14/2014 08:11:00 PM