The place I love best is a sweet memory
It’s a new path that we trod
They say low wages are reality
If we want to compete abroad. – Bob Dylan
A word about the title of this blog. Evening Haze, as you may be aware, is a reference to the song “Working Man’s Blues # 2 from Bob Dylan’s Modern Times album. “There’s an evening haze settling over town..” It also refers to the vision of the sun setting in the hazy sky caused by distant forest fires, a troubling sense of beauty. The opacity of the sky in subdued glory bearing witness to the burning earth. Finally it is meant to reflect the mood or sensibility of the dying West. Under the watchful eye of Captain Derrida the ship of modernity is sinking into the sea of mourning and insanity.
The bright day is over. The glory and ambition of the modern epoch have long faded and with it, in some ways, we have become dulled to the edge of its raw horrors and violence. Now we are left with its nostalgic memory, presented to us in soft colours against the backdrop of a burning world.
Sweet memories are, of course, a little comfort against the onslaught of death. The sun of evening is a time for reflection of memories sweetened and softened by the passage of time. It is a bittersweet passage, however, and, as Dylan Thomas reminds us, at times demands a more vigorous passion than the complacency of sentiment:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage,rage against the dying of the light.
So it is that the close of the day brings us not only the sweet sadness of closure, but with it an anger that burns anew. Our days have not all been good and we have not always lived well. All the more reason that we should be angry at their passing. Optimism has no place in us. We have lived too raw and violent and have become too dull and callous for serene acceptance to be open to us. All we can do now is despair, rage, repent and hope violently for a new path and a renewed humanity.
As we approach the end of the day, the closing time of the West, we are afforded a certain distance to reflect on its good and bad, its pain and its glory. Yet we cannot become trapped within the bittersweet comfort of the past, for the world is now as raw and real as it ever was and demands to be lived in.