Talking in a Darkened Lot
Conversation Galante by T. S. Eliot
I observe: “Our sentimental friend the moon!
Or possibly (fantastic, I confess)
It may be Prester John’s balloon
Or an old battered lantern hung aloft
To light poor travelers to their distress.”
She then: “How you digress!”
And I then: “Someone frames upon the keys
That exquisite nocturne, with which we explain
The night and moonshine; music which we seize
To body forth our own vacuity.”
She then: “Does this refer to me?”
“Oh no, it is I who am inane.”
“You, madam, are the eternal humorist,
The eternal enemy of the absolute,
Giving our vagrant moods the slightest twist!
With your air indifferent and imperious
At a stroke our mad poetics to confute—”
And—“Are we then so serious?”
I took a drive tonight to find a photo. In the skies overhead, lightning flashed sporadically and I considered abandoning my quest, however the warm air and the wind blowing into the car as I drove down dark roads convinced me to continue. I ended up in Shipshewana, Indiana once again – it seems to be my most frequent night-time destination – and walked around with camera and tripod. I found a window reflecting hundreds of lights, a clay pot with a long shadow and this, the red signal light on an Amish buggy parked on a side street.
As I walked back to my car, a woman was leaving the back entrance of the Blue Gate and we greeted each other. She thought I was with another local photographer and was quite surprised to find that I was just taking a photo for today. Well, I don’t seem to know a stranger, so I stood in the warm air and had a lovely conversation with this woman, whose name I never learned, finding that I am “just like her cousin,” that her daughter goes against the normal flow by staying single and having a career, that her sons are extremely easy-going and that her co-worker grew up in the same geographical area I grew up in, among other things. She and I have mutual acquaintances and my husband’s family “has hung” with members of her family. It has been a long time since I have just stood in the warm evening air, chatting with a stranger for the sheer pleasure of the conversation. I need to do it more often.