“‘Rigor of beauty’” is what sort of quest and what for and for whom? “Why even speak of ‘I,’ he dreams, which interests me almost not at all?”
I come from a place called Creve Coeur, Missouri. Creve Coeur, loosely translated from the French as broken heart, a sleepy heartbroken suburb of St. Louis. The namesake originates from a dubious myth— a tortured love between an Osage woman and a French fur trapper, presumably Laclede, in this case, the founding father of St. Louis, and it ends with the woman’s suicide. Sadly, this legend is retold about a lot of midwestern lakes and it lands not too far from Disney’s Pocahontas— the 11th member of the Disney Princess line-up. Legend has it that when the lovers were torn apart, the woman leapt to her death off the waterfall and into the bottom of Creve Coeur Lake. The body of water, then, formed the shape of a broken heart. Hmm, the face of the Falls groans: it’s a story I have to live with. A thin stream trickles gently down the forehead of the Falls like the steps of the Uthina amphitheater, slick with some vague Missouri silt, a layer of green scum. The Creve Coeur Falls has many names, including Dripping Springs, but it’s more like a ledge than a waterfall—it’s not very high nor impressive. It never seemed ideal to me, or even possible, for a suicide— lovesick or otherwise.
The Falls is anxious to address other Creve Coeur myths: a corrupt citizen’s advisory committee on parks, the 1917 race riots and massacre, the infamous Pruitt-Igoe disaster, whatever atrocities hatched at the Creve Coeur Monsanto Headquarters.
Power walking changes lives. The best way to describe power walking is to think of it as a low-impact alternative to jogging. Basically, it takes regular walking and ups the intensity. If you put two walkers next to each other, and told one to move at a moderate pace with their arms at their sides, and told the other to increase their speed while simultaneously pumping their arms— that’s the technique! Known in these parts, the Creve Coeur walker, powers up the sidewalks, at dusk, in the softest of soft shoes, speeding past sleepy residents who are still nestled in their soft bedrooms in the softest homes on Earth. God willing. Powering onto the sprawling Monsanto Headquarters service roads, he adjusts the volume on his Walkman and lifts his chest to the sky!— managers, engineers, chemists start to roll into the vast parking lot. Swoosh! is the sound of the walker’s poly-cotton track suit,
also called Tipped Fleece, a deep burgundy offset nicely by his stark white just-out-of-the-box New Balance. He picks up his pace: powering onto the sidewalk at Schnucks, onward past McDonald’s and into a future Creve Coeur.