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Friday, June 3, 2011


underground lake in Mexico
Isaura: refers to an ancient mountain district in Asia Minor.  I can't efficiently summarize the article--or don't want to--so will leave the reading of it to you.  Application to the vignette?
  1. As it seems always to be the final line that offers the framework, we'll start there.  Isaura being the city moving ever upward, we might be inclined to think it a metaphor for deep spirituality and religiosity.  That cannot be the case, as I see it, as their gods are, whether in the wells themselves or the provenances that draw up the water, below them, in which case, are they not always moving away from their gods?  Thoughts?  Compare this to the more common religions whose gods are above and hell or the underworld (hence the name, duh) below.  In which direction is the majority of humanity heading?
  2. As it appears literally impossible to draw ourselves away from Kim, I'm not going to bother trying now.  We've spoken once before of windlasses (such a cool word; but even better: noria).  Would it be untoward to ascribe Christian symbolism to the wells/fonts of Isaura?
  3. What of the calcareous sky (seashells and coral reefs, by the way, are calcareous, as well as many of the more striking features of caves)?  It seems it's the "sky" to the underground lake.  If there are indeed gods below, their only egress is the holes--the wells--poked into their heavens, and put there, not by natural sources, but people.  T.E. Hulme described the night sky as a star-eaten blanket, indicating holes; as lace, again riddled with holes and fissures; and, unlike the previous two, as the white, wistful faces of the village children.  I don't know where I'm going with this, but the image I'm getting from the dark of the lake's surface looking up at the wells above is magnetic.
  4. I lived in a city built over an underground lake, called Treviso, in the Veneto region of North-Eastern Italy, just a half-hour outside of Venice by train.  It was nicknamed "Little Venice" for it's many canals.  In a rather drab corner of the city (which was otherwise absolutely beautiful) was a single spigot that tapped into that lake.  While we were encouraged to buy our drinking water in all other cities, we were actually recommended to bottle water directly from the spigot in Treviso--if we could wait out the line always queuing up behind it.  Again, not sure where I'm going with this, but thought you might find it interesting.
  5. Finally (and I almost forgot), why "Thin Cities"?


  1. 1. I think that I saw it differently. To me, the first view of the gods is that they are some mysterious, unreachable beings far removed from them. Kind of the type of god that you'd fear instead of having as a friend. The second view is that the gods interact in their everyday lives, the divine mixing with the mundane.
    2. I think that there's a play there, but I'm not sure that the point that Calvino is getting across is Christianity. But wells are rampant throughout the Old Testament and even the gospel of John, so Calvino has to know that people will think of that when he associates religion with a well.
    4. That's pretty cool.
    5. I think that it's all the talk of the "slender" pipes/drains. But not really sure.

  2. 1. That's really interesting actually. And if the gods are in the water-drawing implements, then it says something about them that they are bringing the gods to themselves.... (I LOVE that there are two views, and they are both feasible.)
    2. I agree with you. I guess I was playing a little of the devil's advocate because of the [thin] allusions to Christianity earlier. Christianity is certainly not the only religion/cult/mythology (quite the contrary) that uses water at the forefront of at least one facet of their belief system.
    5. I'm not sure. It's possible, but it's pretty ... thin.


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