Green Business

Green business is through the roof! What does that mean, asketh thee? (scoff) It means all kinds of things.

But mostly it means that we need to get on top of this thing before it gets away from us. That means healthcare trains between central cities; that means whole suburban enclaves recycled into biodiesel; it means tilting at chicken litter windmills and staring directly into the solar fireball until your eyes burn and night falls, and we have to feel around for Braille texts to get our daily ration of Turgenev. Yes, Turgenev.

This is from his short story Enough, a fragment from the note-book of a dead artist.

It was at the end of March before Annunciation, soon after I had seen
thee for the first time and–not yet dreaming of what thou wouldst be to
me–already, silently, secretly, I bore thee in my heart. I chanced to
cross one of the great rivers of Russia. The ice had not yet broken up,
but looked swollen and dark; it was the fourth day of thaw. The snow was
melting everywhere–steadily but slowly; there was the running of water
on all sides; a noiseless wind strayed in the soft air. Earth and sky
alike were steeped in one unvarying milky hue; there was not fog nor was
there light; not one object stood out clear in the general whiteness,
everything looked both close and indistinct. I left my cart far behind
and walked swiftly over the ice of the river, and except the muffled
thud of my own steps heard not a sound. I went on enfolded on all sides
by the first breath, the first thrill, of early spring… and gradually
gaining force with every step, with every movement forwards, a glad
tremour sprang up and grew, all uncomprehended within me… it drew me
on, it hastened me, and so strong was the flood of gladness within me,
that I stood still at last and with questioning eyes looked round me, as
I would seek some outer cause of my mood of rapture…. All was soft,
white, slumbering, but I lifted my eyes; high in the heavens floated a
flock of birds flying back to us…. ‘Spring! welcome spring!’ I shouted
aloud: ‘welcome, life and love and happiness!’ And at that instance,
with sweetly troubling shock, suddenly like a cactus flower thy image
blossomed aflame within me, blossomed and grew, bewilderingly fair and
radiant, and I knew that I love thee, thee only–that I am all filled
full of thee….
I think of thee… and many other memories, other pictures float before
me with thee everywhere, at every turn of my life I meet thee. Now an
old Russian garden rises up before me on the slope of a hillside,
lighted up by the last rays of the summer sun. Behind the silver poplars
peeps out the wooden roof of the manor-house with a thin curl of reddish
smoke above the white chimney, and in the fence a little gate stands
just ajar, as though some one had drawn it to with faltering hand; and I
stand and wait and gaze at that gate and the sand of the garden
path–wonder and rapture in my heart. All that I behold seems new and
different; over all a breath of some glad, brooding mystery, and already
I catch the swift rustle of steps, and I stand intent and alert as a
bird with wings folded ready to take flight anew, and my heart burns and
shudders in joyous dread before the approaching, the alighting

Then I see an ancient cathedral in a beautiful, far-off land. In rows
kneel the close packed people; a breath of prayerful chill, of something
grave and melancholy is wafted from the high, bare roof, from the huge,
branching columns. Thou standest at my side, mute, apart, as though
knowing me not. Each fold of thy dark cloak hangs motionless as carved

in stone. Motionless, too, lie the bright patches cast by the stained
windows at thy feet on the worn flags. And lo, violently thrilling the
incense-clouded air, thrilling us within, rolled out the mighty flood of
the organ’s notes… and I saw thee paler, rigid–thy glance caressed
me, glided higher and rose heavenwards–while to me it seemed none but
an immortal soul could look so, with such eyes…
Another picture comes back to me.

No old-world temple subdues us with its stern magnificence; the low
walls of a little snug room shut us off from the whole world. What am I
saying? We are alone, alone in the whole world; except us two there is
nothing living–outside these friendly walls darkness and death and
emptiness… It is not the wind that howls without, not the rain
streaming in floods; without, Chaos wails and moans, his sightless eyes
are weeping. But with us all is peaceful and light and warm and
welcoming; something droll, something of childish innocence, like a
butterfly–isn’t it so?–flutters about us. We nestle close to one
another, we lean our heads together and both read a favourite book. I
feel the delicate vein beating in thy soft forehead; I hear that thou
livest, thou hearest that I am living, thy smile is born on my face
before it is on thine, thou makest mute answer to my mute question, thy
thoughts, my thoughts are like the two wings of one bird, lost in the
infinite blue… the last barriers have fallen–and so soothed, so
deepened is our love, so utterly has all apartness vanished that we have
no need for word or look to pass between us…. Only to breathe, to
breathe together is all we want, to be together and scarcely to be
conscious that we are together….