Whaling

I had a boyfriend who refused to read “Bartleby the Scrivener.”  Over and over again he refused.  Some people get that.  Some people don’t.  I’m in a Melville mood lately.  Forgive me.

I was at Silver Dollar City last weekend.  The weather was perfect, and people were making things with their hands.  If I were to be relied upon to make things, the whole world would look like Bedrock.  I appreciate manual skills.

We stopped to visit the knife-maker, and the bead-stringer, both of whom are very familiar to my family. As we picked through the dangling tresses of her wares, the jewelry maker told us her dream was to travel to Lascaux, France, and see the ancient cave paintings.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  Then I watched the knife guy hammer red-hot metal, casually stab a steel drum by way of demonstration, and lightheartedly insult Oklahomans.

Either because I had taken this neurological medication, or because I’ve had these mysterious chronic headaches messing with my brain, I would occasionally drift into thoughts of doom.  Like when I was watching cheerful people tromping through a song and dance number, I thought, Why do they bother?  Don’t they know how death makes everything meaningless? I have encountered these types of thoughts before, since I have a moody temperament, and knew that they were just thoughts, not directives.  The next day, this particular type of madness seemed to have passed.

I hadn’t seen the glass blowing since I was a kid, and I didn’t really see it this time, either.  I sat down on the floor because my feet hurt, and so I only caught a glimpse of the molten glob on the end of the lance, only for a second saw the man turning it to whirl it into a bowl.

I wasn’t sure, suddenly, how it all worked.  Was there sand in there?  They dumped a vat of sand inside there, and then pulled out glass?  Really?  After the demonstration ended, I walked up and looked into the furnace.  It’s just like when the Nazis take the lid off the Ark.  It was wonderful and terrible.

In the adjacent shop, I found a cobalt blue whale.  The chemical cobalt is the basis for vitamin B 12, which humans and whales, all mammals, require, and which the nurse injected me with last week, in the hopes of making me slightly healthier.  Adding cobalt, the glassblower explained, makes the glass blue.  My whale is cool and from the depths of the ocean, heavy and calm as eternity, and straight from the firey furnace.

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