|by Jim Herrington
This Earth That Holds Me Fast Will Find Me Breath by Tom Chiarella
Esquire, July 2012
"We halved the property on a footpath hypotenuse apparent only to him, gazed at his pond and his band of horses from the white, white rails of the fence line, visited his parents' grave site, peered at the house they once lived in, surveyed the trees he'd planted to soak up the drainage, walked the berm he created from earth he himself moved, regarded his ever-growing inventory of farm equipment (he with some consternation), then ambled back through the uncharged cool of his house out to his patio to settle side by side in lounge chairs on nylon cushions air-dried in the noon heat of a spring day in Mississippi. It was there that Morgan Freeman said, "Well, everyone lives somewhere." Not a particularly meaningful line, not by itself. Everyone lives somewhere. If you repeat it out loud—you, that is, just say it right here and now before you read forward—it will sound glib. Everyone lives somewhere. Displaced from this venue, the spread of Morgan Freeman's bucolic estate outside the tiny hamlet of Charleston, Mississippi, the vast tumble of his house with its seven gabled roofs, the words will likely sound arrogant, fatalistic, callow. But when Morgan Freeman says it, the words somehow minister. In his voice, in the familiar tone of a thousand voice-overs, it becomes a kind of punctuation. Everyone lives somewhere. Not to say that he meant for it to be anything very deep. He's not that manipulative. He was just saying. So, Morgan Freeman, uttering an unrehearsed breath line of regret and realization. You can hear him. This happenstance Zen, a plaintive caesura. He can't help it if everything he says sounds like a pregnant pause waiting to happen. He's saying only what's on his mind—that he's never really left, that he can't do as much as he used to, that it's comforting to have a home that lasts. He just doesn't want to utter these fat little muffins of truth. Morgan Freeman is far too grumpy for truisms. And that's probably why I can't hear the next thing he says at all; he must be explaining himself when his voice drops out. He never really stops talking, but sometimes his voice just vanishes."