Reflective Prose: Fascination, And Dangerous Weather

Springtime hits hard in some quarters. I call this ‘dangerous weather’—like, you’ve got to watch out where you’re going. You might trip and fall. Somehow this always coincides with the rise of halters and midriff shirts.

Fascination, you know, is a universal feeling. I hesitate to call it an emotion, it’s more than that, it’s a condition, a thesis. It’s strongly rooted in our biology, I think. I’m sure our closest animal relations feel it the same way we do. It’s tough to know what’s on a housecat’s mind most of the time, but when he’s gazing at that fish swimming around that bowl, I know exactly where his head is. And it’s not “I’m hungry” or “how can I get that?” or “in a moment I shall execute my plan”, as you might think. It’s not something that rational, like when he wants something – in that case he meows, shuffles and generally makes his state of need, if not an exact complaint, known. It’s just being transported, lost in the presence of something mysterious and wonderful. It’s fascination. I wouldn’t be surprised if our more distant kin further down the evolutionary chain don’t feel something like it too. Perhaps a protozoan feels something like it for the mold in the soil. Or even a flower, for the sun.

An explorer feels it for the horizon, for the negative spaces just out of visual range. It’s no different, I honestly believe that. You’re enthralled, you impulsively long to engage it, you want to touch it and immerse yourself. Maybe to a cat killing a mouse or a fish, it isn’t killing, it’s dancing.

The difference between cats and humans is that we know a richer vocabulary of dance, not that the spark that pulls us towards a dance partner isn’t the same. Women’s bodies are fascinating, seen through male eyes. The important curves are so simple, in the right photograph the bottom of a breast, the arch of a back, the curl of a hip are enough to convey the thrill in its entirety. Yet when you see one in person, once someone takes her clothes off in front of you, it’s always more amazing than you even expected, because besides the simplicity there’s also something so complex that the mind can’t ever carry it. You can’t anticipate it. It always comes as a surprise. It’s fascinating.

Sometimes I talk to a woman, and it’s like a good song. There’s no real reason, nothing I can point to about it, to indicate why it should make me feel so good, but it does. I’m transported. And then I realize it’s probably just the flowers, and the sun.