On the sunlit paths the reaching crooked shadows of trees are growing, signaling the coming doom that is the grip of summer. So much, then, for the weather. Daffodils still nod on stalks, the startling forsythia fades, and hyacinths have gathered all the rain.
Pages rustle and coffee rushes into the eager cup of the afternoon: a clear, a gold edged brown, steaming, the smell slow-rising, the satisfaction of another cup. Books are understood and finished.
It was a conversation about Barth, developed gradually, attempted meticulously, with moments in which the current eddied, held back by asteroids and wandering orbital debris. We swooped and stalled but eventually achieved the intergalactic void. It was night all around us then, the night of radical voluntarism, the purified supralapsarian darkness, the collapse of revealed and revelation because of the gravitation of a dark star that our ship orbited. He who would not affirm nor yet deny universalism, such was his agnosticism, suggested it in strange flashing colors. We saw it through our windows: that radically perspectival and constricted cosmos. We were among flat stars, peering through thick panels of glass, glancing back at the instruments in the diminished light.
There was a conversation on the winding descent through the greening gorge, under the towers, over the waters, three ways to four destinations. The first was of dark wood and white walls in a solemn, absentminded library. The conversation was a friendship like water rushing in the sunlight, clear and quick, and sometimes murky. It was swift as the road was swift, as the swallows of the evening winding between the pillars and piers over the glinting waters, chasing insects. An ancient building received us as the sun gazed laterally. This was the interrupted conversation without theme that continued afterward expressing what it had been expressing all along and always will. Unaided it proceeded and was cut off at last while still brimming, un-ended.
The last was an evening conversation. I had much joy of it, much joy of it indeed. Old men, old settled men who could discourse of anything at all: this one Hegel, this one Cusanus, this one Kierkegaard. A catholic and humane conversation in its proportions. The difference between Aquinas and Eckhart is that Aquinas tends more Peripatetically, and Eckhart more Platonically, you see. When in gazing one has lost self-consciousness for the exclusive consciousness of the object–as in Plotinus’ Intellect–is one not in that way one with the object, and does not then the eye through which I behold God become the eye through which God beholds me? An overabundance of words, a persistence in interrogation, an indifference to appearances and neglected but not altogether unkempt hair: my people. I entered into the clarity of a single drop of water, and the wonder of those molecules became altogether an infinity.