Even memory was not usable, a landscape hillocky with gravitation but without monuments, it did not hold the eye, did not hinder its glide toward the horizon where the prose of the world gives way to the smooth functioning of fear. —Rosmarie Waldrop, “Accelerating Frame”
He marvels how, in small towns, the pleasures of routine so often register as tropisms. One awakens through irritation, producing the mucus that lubricates the social.
This explains, for example, the women who congregate to smile and whisper.
It explains, also, his ambivalent sense of being rooted, felt most acutely as he runs into yet another acquaintance. A smile. Brief greeting, Lingering sense of irritation. One wakes up this way.
He has accustomed himself to this slowness and, on occasion, revels in an existence that might be called bucolic.
Small pleasures have replaced impoverishment. His bones have become soft, his walk languid, his mind dull.
He watches these changes with a sense of wonder.