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Point of View: A Classic Rite

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:38

I had just written about a “rite of summer,” namely the first day of the 2019 junior lifeguarding season, and was inspired, therefore, to take part in another, namely the opening for the season of our outdoor shower.

To do so, I had to get up into a dusty crawl space, first springing a mouse trap placed near the entrance hole from which a slab of peanut butter had long ago been removed at leisure before scuttling in ratty attire toward the myriad valves and spigots at the far end.

The crawl space, with its soft stalactites of insulation and dark corners within which lurk who knows, is somewhat forbidding, but it’s a test of mettle that must for the aspirant be undergone: a penetration to some source of power followed by a life-enhancing return. You can read all about it in Joseph Campbell’s books on mythology.

But when I turned on the faucets outside, I didn’t experience the joyous jets of superabundance I’d been anticipating, but instead a wan flow more akin to the quotidian than to the transcendent.

Another test, then, for the Knight of the Pale Countenance.

Later that day, I returned with a showerhead, a modestly priced one, that Bernie said would do the trick. And indeed it did. I reveled this morning in all the glory of the unrestricted blast while pruning rhododendrons whose leaves gleamed emerald-colored in the sun as O’en frolicked with Penelope (you remember her, Odysseus’s faithful wife) next door.

For me, in classic manner, summer had begun.