Nob 27, 2002

The First Place

"Call me Dennis."

How does that sound? Let's say I got my November 2001 back and I could begin my journal in some other way. Would I be well-advised to start with a pretentious take at Melville's immortal opening line? I think not. Let Moby-Dick wreak havoc where he may and Ishmael drift to his elsewheres in his life-saving coffin; I have other fish to fry.

If I had an inkling of the trouble I'd get myself into, I may have just simply commenced with "Let's get ready to rumble!" Or the more forthright "Let's get it on!" However, the charging bull opening brings no rush of blood to my veins. It just alerts me to watch out for the point when the whole thing loses steam. I'd rather go straight to grabbing the wild thing by horns or balls, depending on which end of the beast I must wrestle. I'll go ahead and gut it and cook its parts. Then I'll begin with a little feast!

In the absence of some sacrificial bovine, I could begin with one of my all-time favorite ending lines, "Omnia mutantur, nihil interit". Everything changes but nothing is truly lost. That's a nice way to begin. It reminds me of the grecian postulate that we never really cross the same river twice. It also intimates some form of immortality beyond all the projected posterity of man. It is a subtle expression of faith. It is human hope in the face of all the thermodynamic evidence of entropy.

I cross November again, my fateful river. The current is a bit more swift, and the water, more fleeting. I bring a different leg into this river. I bring a different man. I have more scars now, all the more reason for washing. It also means I have gone through more healing than in any previous point of my life.

Call me Dennis.

I can never more begin except in the way that I did. That holds true for all sorts of beginnings, I guess. From where I stand, chest-deep in a watery contemplation, I look up to possibilities diverging in thought like the branches of the trees on the bank. In the world of deeds, despite the richer world of speculation, there is only one end as there is one beginning. There is an advantage to a singular beginning. I can come back to one home and easily remember what I set out for in the first place.

In the first place, I struck out to serve some dishes. I'm in this river for a reason and so I must quit my idle, aquatic ruminations. I came here for fish.

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