Walker Percy Wednesday 76

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So anyhow I began my new life then when I stepped out of my life routine worn bare and deep as a cowpath across a meadow, climbed out of my rut, stopped listening to the news and Mary Tyler Moore. And strangely, stopped drinking and smoking. The second I left my old life’s cowpath, I discovered I didn’t need a drink. It became possible to stand still in the dark under the oaks, hands at my sides, and watch and wait.

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Looking at oneself in a mirror is a self-canceling phenomenon. Eyes looking into eyes make a hole which spreads out and renders one invisible. I had seen more of myself in that single glimpse of a ghostly image in the pier mirror, not knowing it was I.

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Five, six, seven years of unacknowledged idleness (it takes work to be idle and not acknowledge it), drinking and watching TV, working at play, playing at work—what does it do to a man? My hands were open in front of my face. The fingers closed and opened. I felt like Rip van Winkle waking up and testing his bones. Was anything broken? Was I still in one piece?

Was I still strong? How much abuse will a body take? I looked at my fist.