Walker Percy Wednesday 76


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.


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.


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.