Thinking of you

Mar 31, 2007 at 5:12 PM
My blog posts lately and your comments have given me the idea I must be wittier and more soulful than I thought I was. My friends are responding. Which is great. Really. I thought I was mostly writing to myself, until I started hearing from you all. It's nice to know that the responses are favorable, rather than "you're mental, you know", or coming across as non-sequitor.

It is nice to have a place where I can freely think out loud in a way that lets you all ponder and respond in kind. Yeah, we're used to blogs now, but I try not to take it for granted.

I never plan any of what I write. It doesn't match the medium. Much as your technique must shift fr a canvas as compares with a sheet of vellum, this blog is different than a manuscript would be. There are no edits. I write free form, unfettered by rules, without worrying how it sounds -- I let whatever thought arises place itself before me unbidden and POP out the end of my fingers into this blog. I usually don't know what the general subject will be when I'm logging in.

That's the brilliant thing about blogging, for me on a personal level.

Far from what YOU get from it, I think that it lets those of us who've always picked up a pen and paper when we got the urge to purge our souls -- well, we pick up the pen publicly now. Remember when we all sculked in the corners at coffee shops with our notepads or wrote into our diaries at home instead? I like this much better.

And I hope you do too. Start a blog if you haven't already, it's easy.

There are some things that are different from writing in diaries - there is certainly less sulking.

But my mind is jelly today, so you're SOL as far as my internal meanderings go.

All you get today is my wish that you are well.

concatenation of atoms

Mar 29, 2007 at 1:31 AM
Tonight I found out that a good friend of mine has a kid (as in teenager) who has BLAMO become a serious hardcore neo-Nazi punk-ass. His myspace page gave me stomach cramps.

In my experience, this usually is a faze relating to the "how badly can I piss off society?" urge that is a consistent - if bothersome - trait in modern teenage-ness.

I wrote him the most compelling response I could, about how everyone's ancestry is a miracle, about how the concatenation of atoms that make up our bodies could be completely torn asunder and none of those atoms would contain our souls, about how a varied planet is a strong planet, about how personal ancestry is nothing compared to accomplishment. I was trying to woo him back to the world of compassionate one-world, "everybody's welcome at my party" kind of people.

I'm sure it won't work immediately. He's not going to strip off the SS armbands and start singing allelujah tonight, but I hope it impinges a little.

I know it's part of his way of being pissed off at the world. He might even decide that my words have no value because they are spoken by a person of muddy ancestry, I'm sure.

None of my pain, my joy or my thoughts are as important to a racist as their own. That is the thing that makes them so foul.

Because it doesn't matter what race they favor, I'm not in it. I'm pure-blooded MUTT. And my kids are even more so.

I'm proud of it. I read history books, and no matter what they're saying, nine times out of ten someone in my family has got an ancestor that was part of it.

It's just so sad. I've known this kid since he was little, watched him growing, learning. What happened to the little boy who loved using my camera and looking at little bugs in the grass? Who is it that messed with the head of this awesome person?

There's gotta be one heck of a suppressive situation going on.

'Cause I know in my heart he's not a bad guy.

Tonight I mourn the loss of common sense in someone I admired.


Mar 26, 2007 at 8:30 PM
I had a lovely, hyper-productive weekend. And not work-wise, but just generally. A big piece of life happened.

I hope you are as well as I am right now.

Those of you who've known me forever (or at least 15 years or so) know what the biggest screw up of my life was. Well, I'm fixing it now. And it feels good.

Woo hoo!

Adam's apple

Mar 19, 2007 at 5:17 PM
My next door neighbor is a strange fellow.

When I first met him, it was because he wandered into my orchard to pick an apple, which he cut up while introducing himself. My dog wanted to attack him, but I told Tucker to go in the house. Tucker didn't know what to make of a person who smells so wild.

And Adam is wild. A mountain man, like the stereotype you see in the movies.

Adam is over 60 - gosh knows exactly how old. But old. Most of the time, he wears long john bottoms of an indeterminate color, bare feet, bare chest and a beard that runs down to mid-neck. If a breeze picks up or it's cold and rainy, he'll wear more clothing. Nothing more than he needs to wear to stay warm. He's thin, wiry, but not unhealthy.

He lives in a shack that he made all on his lonesome out of scrap, most of which he found on the ranch. He built it right next to the barn that technically goes with this house. It's about a quarter mile up the road. All the land on the ranch is owned by his relatives, so there's no issue with his ramshackle structure being there.

It's actually good he's next to the barn. He cares for the older pack animals on the ranch that are relegated to that barn. They don't deserve to be put down but aren't useful anymore.

He doesn't shave. He has a simple little knife with a bone handle which acts as combined grooming/screwdriver/cutting/utensil/all-round tool. Sometimes he cuts the hair from his head, but his beard is what it is.

He's not clean, but he's also not so filthy that it's disgusting. He has too much sense to get so dirty as to become a health hazard. He doesn't smell bad enough to be offensive. He bathes only when necessary, as in before family visits. Mostly he just uses grass to wipe his feet and hands clean when they're dirty.

He's usually in some state of undress. I have been warned not to visit him unexpectedly in the summer.

He is rarely seen anywhere outside the ranch. His tobacco habit is one of the major reasons he ever needs to go to town, to buy cans of roll-your-own tobacco. He doesn't drink alcohol, eat any sugar or dairy, and won't let me make him any food that's processed.

He basically lives off the land. He saves seeds, and finds wild edibles and replants them in his garden.

He has a ton of wild turkeys that he raises in a turkey condominium that he built himself. He slowly releases many of them into the wild, acclimating them to living in trees and foraging for themselves. He's taken it upon himself to help with the local wild turkey population. See, there used to be lots, but they got hunted away.

He has no amenities beside a radio.

His house is no larger than my kitchen.

There is no bathroom or kitchen. Their is running water, though. I gave him a roll of carpet last year, which he promptly put on his roof. It goes well with the wooden chair up there. I asked whether he ever sat in the chair, and he laughed and said of course not.

So, then why is it there? I don't know. All part of the mystery that is Adam.

I gave him a blackberry pie last Fall - I left out almost all the sugar on his pie - which he said was too sweet for his taste and fed to his turkeys instead.

He cooks on a fire made inside a half a barrel with a grate over it. Everything he owns is second or third hand, and he won't accept gifts that aren't well worn. He keeps all kinds of odd junk around - for instance he had a piano bench and a bunch of replacement piano ivories when I needed them. He collects bits of twine every time he finds them, saving them up - so that he'll never need to buy rope.

He uses his solid waste as compost and his liquid waste as a territory marker to deter wild animals.

This man lives on less per year than most of you make in a month.

He's got a job, but it's mostly just caring for the animals and finding wood - which he'd do anyway. He grows or hunts all his own food. He raises turkeys, often bringing the babies indoors. But he's not overfond of them, he'll eat them, too.

He was recently given an old laptop by his visiting kid. He's using it to write a book.

He does a lot of hard work for a man his age, and all of it without complaining. He's disabled, missing most of one hand. It never stops him. He can even play piano, which I've seen. In his youth, he played jazz piano in bands.

Sometimes he comes down to my house to use the phone. I'm told he's been known to use my bathtub when no one is home, but if he does he cleans up after himself.

He's friendly, totally harmless and quite interesting to talk to. I've got a bit of a soft spot for him. So does everyone else around here, I think.

While most of you would be miserable with that life, He's remarkably happy. And he's healthy. He's very old, but he hasn't got a thing wrong with him.

You'd expect someone living alone in the woods to be a recluse, but he's not, really. He usually leaves people feeling good after talking to them, which is a pretty good sign of a person.

I've seen people with everything they could possibly want who are utterly miserable. Who leave everyone they talk to feeling worse.

Adam has been a bit of a lesson in humanity for me. If not a lesson, the certainly a reminder of a basic truth.

You see, Adam OWNS his own life. And that's why he's happy.

It doesn't matter what your circumstances are - wealthy or poor, alone or surrounded by people, young or old. What matters is how much of the life you are living is purposefully created and participating in by YOU.

The Paradox

Mar 6, 2007 at 2:14 AM
Well, I have a beautiful fire with coals glowing away, with a blanket and a comfy chair in front of the that. My house is permeated with the clean smell of pitch and cedar from today's kindling. The breeze is perfect tonight, so I sat on the porch for a bit, looking forward at the forest and the creek I can hear but not see. I can sense the crisp beginnings of spring. I have a gorgeous valley sprawled out around me, chockablock full of budding life, babbling water, water springing from the rocks. You can watch the green and soft things burst from the ground.

In the meadow beyond my porch, an old mare grazes, and a white mule glows in reflected moonlight, reflecting a reflection of the sun. By moonlight, all the dirt is gone from everything. Fence posts are silver and white scratches on the fields. Gravel speckles the driveway in white and black fragments. The oak trees, not yet expanded with leaves, are twined up in curly white and black ropes, coiled out toward the creek - the moss shining bright and eerie.

Then my gaze wanders up to our bright full moon illuminating the wisps of silver cloud against a decadently starry sky.

The sky is the kicker, here. I am so affected by it. Only those who live as I do, many many miles from major cities, not near the glow of even a small town, where the distant light from the night sky has nothing to compete with, those people know. I can't even explain it. The milky way was a theory until I came here. I never understood the human connection to the moon so well as I do now.

I sat on the front porch and breathed it in. "Treasure this" I thought to myself. I drank my cocoa and wished I had my daughters here to share it with.

And I know I do treasure it. I absolutely adore the amazing wealth of green fuzzy rotund difficult wild nature that I am surrounded with. It's just not the same without my daughters here. I haven't anyone to call, either.

All of my friends are on the East coast, and it's obscenely late there. My children are not here to wake up so they can see this beautiful view. They're visiting their father in Florida. Since I'm just bursting to show someone the splendour of a beautiful night in the wilderness, I decided to write this post instead, so all you friends of mine can get the idea, but at an hour better suited to your needs.

I feel both very fortunate and very lonely tonight.

I wish the weather would hurry up and get awful again.