Creek River

It was a shutout. By this time we had been stopped by a line of police at least 3 times. Now, our young leaders HAD A PLAN which they were KEEPING TO THEMSELVES because WE WERE SURROUNDED BY POLICE and probably had agitators in our midst.

(Ubers specifically) were trying to block us or keep movin
Okay, I want all of you men to come up to the front. Women and children in the back. We want to protect our women.”

but also I’m terrified of her. Her main problem is that her desires are always focussed on what is elsewhere, or even what is nonexistent. My favorite line sums up this problem: “She drifted along winding Lamartinian paths, listened to the music of harps floating over lakes, to all the songs of dying swans, to the fall of every leaf, to the sound of pure virgins ascending into heaven, and to the voice of the eternal discoursing in the valleys.” What a beautiful passage! It shows how attractive Romantic yearning is, and also how the goal of such yearning is ultimately illusory. What does a virgin ascending into heaven sound like? We can never know, but if we know that we can never know then we can survive. Emma’s problem is that she still thinks that, just around the corner, in Paris or in the viscount’s arms, perfect happiness is attainable. We see how this is killing her and driving her mad…and now she’s pregnant.

“Bony” first wife, since she’s young and beautiful and surrounded by all this country abundance (“bags of grain” etc). But right away there are warnings that beneath this healthy exterior is decay: “To decorate the room, there was a black pencil drawing of a head of Minerva hanging from a nail in the middle of the wall, whose green paint was flaking off beneath the saltpeter rot…” Minerva is a goddess of medicine and doctors, so at first it is comforting to think that Emma will be an inspiration and a muse to Charles, perhaps helping him transcend his idiocy. But the saltpeter rot is troubling, not just because it is rotten, but because at the time saltpeter was prescribed as an anaphrodisiac, or something that blunts the libido.

The line started moving. I got up, grabbed my chair and bag, and woke up Jeff. Were they letting us in the building? In the commotion I left the bag for my camping chair behind me. I turned around and the small quiet woman who had been sitting behind me had grabbed it off the ground and handed it to me. I struggled to get the chair in its bag and my blanket in my shoulder bag. The line had been pretty loose with plenty of room for people. Now we were all clustered together. From my new position I saw that there were many more people in front of me than there had been.