"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

27 November 2017

Decades

My father turned seventy a week back. The year before, there was question whether he'd make it past sixty-nine. It was good to call him and wish him a happy birthday.

When we spoke, he mused how each new decade is a new adventure. A new lesson to be learned. My father was glad to be out of his sixties finally. His sixties were about sickness; my mother's and his own. About loss and learning to live with it. About death; my mother's and his own, although, his was a brief and he got back to this side of the grave with some quick medical intervention. My mother was not so lucky.

This got me thinking. Well, I'm always thinking, the penance of a mind that never quiets. I caught myself meditating upon the decades of my adult lift, and the lessons contained therein.

My roaring twenties, as I so poetically call them, was where I learned, as if there was any doubt, that I was not like the other boys. The idea of a suburban house, a lobotomized wife, two-point-five kids, a dog and a career was not success, but perdition. Team sports were phallocentric soap operas for morons and the social construct of reality was for squares. I needed to find my own way.

I knew my end-all be-all was not to be a parent, any more than whatever it was I was doing for money at the time. I do love my daughter beyond measure and believe I have done things for her, but I did not put my existence on hold for her. She was just a new factor in the equation of me finding my own way, and, most likely, that way of thinking was a contributing factor in my divorce from her mother.

That's not to say I don't have regrets. Everyone regrets. I like to believe my daughter understands, or at least, accepts, what came to pass, but I don't pry. We have our relationship in which we get along and have our moments. Sometimes I wish for more, sometimes it's just enough.

So it goes...

Here and now, I theorize my thirties were about a sense of place. I rocked living near downtown in the big bad city in that little historical district. There were the other places I wandered through the greater metroplex, like uptown, Little Asia, Capital Hill, and the Highlands. Downtown itself, where I would go to monkeywatch, was neon magic and mystery and koo-koo-kachu.

Then the mountains happened...

Oh, the mountains. Kashmir. I am now five years and change away from anywhere in my thirties and this landscape sings to me upon esoteric tongues. I live in the mountains of Colorado! I live where other people come to vacation

To get here, I was relentless. I all but created a myth around it, if  you believe the words of others. Here, I put down roots and found my Homeplace. Here, forever and a day later, this place does not fail to fascinate. To resonate. I fall in love daily, if not moment by moment in ways language cannot articulate.

Five years and change into my forties, perhaps I am learning about community. About being involved in something rather than passively being a part or observing with that cold reptilian detachment. I am on the board of a historical society, a museum committee, a stewardship group for a historical structure out in the Backcountry, two land-use commissions, and I've counted ballots in a few elections along with the other random bits of volunteerisum.

Me. Yeh, the not a joiner for fear of lynch-mob mentality. Me. Yeh, the solitary one. How the world has turned and isn't it funny how it's all played out? And, no, I do not bring up my involvements to whip it out on the table and have the live studio audience marvel at the magnificence of my genitalia. That's rude.

By fifty, there is something I have intended to accomplish, although, the price is admission is something, which pains me grievously. However, when I look that now four years and change ahead, I wonder what lesson, what adventure awaits me at the half-century decade. As intriguing a mystery as that is, I am not in too big a hurry. After all, I still have the rest of my forties to play out, and, that lesson, that adventure is far from over. 

14 September 2017

Sixty-Six

You would've been sixty-six today. Seven years to the day, we gathered at that one bristle cone between the ruins of Waldorf and the bones of the Santiago Mill to scatter your ashes. Me, the heretic, reading the requiem I composed for you, playing preacher-man because of that zaniness with the Universal Life Church, but that's another story.

Nine months and nine days before that, your youngest, my brother, and I stood over your cooling body. The stench of the disease that devoured you was still heavy in the air. My brother did not understand why I asked for two coins to cover your half-lidded eyes, and, in the moment, I was not in the mood to deliver a mythology lesson.

It was that night I truly cast my lot to the winds of chaos and let's just roll them bones...

Seven years, nine months, and nine days later, I often dream of you. You're never sick then. There was a hoodoo-voodoo article about visitation dreams I came across recently, and, you know me; I get curious, I dissect well past the marrow, watching the worms beneath squirm with savage amusement. So, of course I read it, and none of those dime-store diagnostics fit.

Brass tacks and bedposts, mother, I miss you. Terribly.

27 August 2017

Double-Edge

Sometimes, when meditating upon the next phase of our adventures, I can get so restless I can all but taste the sea spray and hear the songs of whales...

Then I go for walk, whether it's about town or out in the bush. I take in my surroundings. The wind and weather, that interplay of light and shadow, those tiny details you can only really notice when moving at people speed. Sometimes, I run into a fellow walker, and, after I help them back up, we have one of those moments of simple human interaction that gets me to smile, to get me to have a little hope for my species instead of thinking we are merrily careening toward extinction.

It is then I catch myself feeling morose, as though I am being forced into exile...

An opportunity has been presented. A gift given, which is the metaphor of being handed a winning lottery ticket. What would you do? Turn it down? No, it's cool, I'll just hang here, thank you, though.

No, I don't think you would, and, though I ache, I cannot turn this away either...

Mei fei tsu. It's coming and there is little can or want to do to stop it. I stand upon a knife and my feet bite into both edges of the blade. So it goes.

18 May 2017

The Spurning

Yuki-Onna, the Snow Queen, the Goddess of Winter raged. Oh, how she raged. Snow fell heavily, snapping the branches of trees, freezing rivers and lakes, and burying bare ground. The cold cut through to the marrow and visibility was greatly reduced to a study in monochrome. As she raged, and the snow loaded, the roar of avalanches echoed her mutterings and musings.

"How can you even consider leaving me?!?" She roared.

I stood calmly, hands clasped tightly behind my back, something, which may have resembled a smirk played across my lips. When I first came here, I was chasing unfinished tales, but I then became a student. Of landscapes of weather. Of the sky and stars and clouds. Of ice and free-flowing water. Of the harshness and softness of a place that truly show indifference to its inhabitants.

Certainly, the Snow Queen had a strong influence here, but she was not my patron. I have never been one to prey, unless in the context of the food chain. What I would sometimes whisper to her on the cold night winds would hardly be considered a prayer, but perhaps a provocation. Then again, I never made any effort to hide my sense of heresy.

Yuki-Onna, Snow Queen and Goddess of Winter, hear me, and be without distraction; I fucked your mother last night. Well and repeatedly...

"I never bent my knee in worship to you," I said plainly. "That is submission, and submission is for dogs."

"I know how much this place fascinates you, and you live to be continually fascinated," she said. "Where do think you can go?"

"I intend to go where the world is sculpted by fire and water," I replied. "Where the world is still growing, by degrees, instead of being worn down."

Her cold eyes narrowed and gale of ice-barbed air struck me. I held my ground. Never once, no matter how much her cold countenance hurt me, had I backed down. It frustrated her, but it also won her grudging respect.

"Are you insane?!?" She exclaimed. "Do you really think you can thrive there?"

"Of course,"I said. "You adapt or die, that is the imperative and gospel of biology. Besides, it snows there too, so I can antagonize one of your incarnations, or perhaps cousins."

"Just like that, you're finished.? You've grown bored of here?"

"This place sings to me in ways that can fill me with endless longing. When the time comes, I know I'll miss it here, and the only other place I miss is where I spend my childhood, but that's another story."

Yuki-Onna, the Snow Queen, the Goddess of Winter, reached out to me. Her chilled fingers brushing my cheek. For the slightest of moments, she was almost tender. Almost seductive.

"Then why not stay? Stay with me?"

My gaze hardened and a low growl rebounded in the back of my throat. That, which lurks behind my eyes like some kind of ambush predator in a nameless African river, came a little closer to the surface. Quickly, she withdrew her hand, for fear of losing fingers, if not her whole hand.

"Because it is where my fascinations lead me," I replied, it was my turn to be cold and unforgiving. "It is an opportunity and a gift  of which would be folly to turn aside. There is nothing that can convince me otherwise, not even the adversarial acquaintance of a mercurial snow deity."

 Yuki-Onna, the Snow Queen, the Goddess of Winter turned away. Ours had never been an easy relationship. I heard her sigh heavily and noticed the snow lightening ever so slightly.

"You are one of the most relentless creatures I have ever met," she whispered. "Perhaps there was something to the guru telling you the only time you don't get what you want is when you decide you no longer want it."

"If you wish to give into such superstition," I said, not hiding my heresy.

"When will you go?"

"I don't know. It could be a season, it could be in a few years. Do you ever tell me exactly when you're coming or leaving?"

"Fair enough. I think I might miss you once you're gone."

"Doubtful, given I start my conversations with you by mentioning what I do to your mother."

Yuki-Onna, the Snow Queen, the Goddess of Winter chuckled. Oh, how she chuckled. A laugh of bitter sweetness and frost-covered mornings. And just like that, she disappeared into the snow. And just like that, with a sigh, I looked up at the breaking storm clouds to behold the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon.

22 December 2016

Holiday Meditation

Get to know me well enough, and you realize I don't get into holidays much. At some point, I began thinking of them as a sham. Why should one day have greater importance than another?

This time of year, especially, has had a tendency to fill me with a special kind of vitriol. The hypocrisy of goodwill and thinly veiled cruelties. Blatant materialism. On a personal level, I've gone through bad break ups, deaths, and drama, both with blood relatives and social acquaintances, this time of the year that have left a fair amount of psychic scarring.

For those just tuning in, the day after Thanksgiving, for twenty seconds and four chest compressions, I was an orphan, My father, with pneumonia and septic shock was sentenced to the sickhouse. Now, that would plumb rattle some folks. Me? I kept my reptile zen, because someone had to. My sister has her moments of melodrama and my brother has his moments of jerking his knees, which can make you go blind, because when you knee-jerk, you do not see reason. Someone had to talk to doctors and nurses and sign forms and make grotesque decisions. That someone ended up being me. I have been lauded for it, but I'd rather never go through it again.

Three, getting close to four, weeks later, my father is home. He is on the mend. Trained medical professionals are dazzled by his recovery and drive to walk in the lands of the living. One of my southern relatives says her prayers were answered. My father will say it wasn't his time, but god taught him a lesson. I call it luck. In a cases of twisted symmetry, three doors down in the MICU was the loco drunk I called EMS on six days prior. Both men left the unit on the same day, the difference was my father went to MedSurg. The loco drunk was in a box.

Christmas is in three days. For the first time in so-long-I-can-no-longer-remember, I am looking forward to the holiday, We mean to gather at my sister's house. She's got the biggest place and it is the most centrally located. We shall eat, drink, and antagonize one another, because that's what we do when we get together.

At one point, I shall contemplate whiskey with my father, because that's what we do when we get together. Perhaps we shall toast, or maybe we'll talk about music and a thousand memories from forty-four years of acquaintance. It doesn't really matter. When it gets down to brass tacks and bedposts, it will be a good day.

    

20 November 2016

Dead Man Walking

The loco drunk said he was sick, his face ash gray, his countenance that of a dying man. Two former nurses were about, one, saying his pulse was thready and breathing labored. He was refusing help, just wanted a case of water and to go back to his camp, a burned-out trailer up the mountainside.

We debated and agonized on what to do. Since he was refusing help, should we ask for it anyway? They looked up to me, well, because I am six and a half feet tall, how could they not? In the end, I called senpai for advice and he said unto me to call EMS with the disclaimer the loco drunk could refuse treatment. When I told said loco drunk that, he spoke of someone helping him.

"That is exactly what we are doing, Sir," I said as I went to call EMS, my voice reptilian, detached, cold as the airless void between the stars. Hou lain, hei tsin-thick face, black heart-ask Sun Tzu.

They could not even find a blood pressure, and, thus, took him away. My documentation took me back to days as a triage coordinator in the field of transplant. The feeling-more than a feeling-I have is we will be burying someone from our community very soon. I hope I am incorrect.

Here and now, I meditate upon the reptilian...

15 November 2016

Pendulum

Well, it's been a week. The has been anger and cheers, smiling and tears. The Onion, as it is so hip to say, killed it with their coverage of events. The fact satire makes for more honest coverage speaks volumes to the absurdity before us. I wonder what the reportage would've been like had it gone the other way.

Victory is an interesting point of view. By the popular, the will of the people, one person won. The electorate says otherwise, and that's the cat running the show. A reason I get cynical about politics past a loco level, but that's another rave rant for another time. And the protests; if you tell me the winning side wouldn't have cried foul and protested had things not gone their way, I'll call you a filthy fucking liar to your face.

Boy-howdy, it would've been nice to see a woman in charge. After all, we are oh so advanced and enlightened as to have had a black man-half, technically-run things, and it was not that long ago they could only aspire to be the help. Not long before that, they were bought and sold as beasts of burden. So, why couldn't or shouldn't we? We are, after all, supposed to be the best.

In the past few days I have heard some compelling and intelligent arguments that, other than the genitals, nothing would have really changed. Sure, a girl would've been on top of the sand pile, but otherwise, status quo. Just some rich older cat in a suit. Another career politician.

History was made a week ago. Someone who rocked not being a politician won. Now just how not-politician he stays remains to be seen.

I'm not happy about it. He's a bigot, a bully, and a bro, which are aspects of the human affliction I dislike. However, he got the prize, and all the petition signing and protesting isn't going to change that I don't think. My liberal friends and acquaintances got eight years of sitting pretty, and now, perhaps, it is time to suck it up and survive not being the popular kids for a bit.

That being stated, in two years come the midterms, and I hope to see more blue in the legislative branch. I know my conservative friends and acquaintances snarl at the idea, but, to my mind there is far too much red in the hallowed halls of power presently, and that is an imbalance. We need the equilibrium in order to properly function.

Of course, and this is probably political-imaginary-land, but it would also be nice to elect cats on both sides of the aisle that will work together. That whole cliche of being there for the people. Saying you want your leader to fail or block him/her/it/whatever at every turn, even if they might have a great idea because your ideology doesn't gel with theirs is a dick move.

Wait, maybe I should retract that dick move line. That kind of jackassery is an insult to moves made by dicks. Or people named Richard.   

09 November 2016

Cyclical

There it is. My dimestore guess was off, but I am no prophet. One ideology rejoices, the other mourns. So it goes. Congratulations, I'm sorry. With one exception I've observed, it seems that eight years is the dinger for one ideology to be in power, then people want a taste of the strange, but, really, what is the difference between Repulracrat and Democrican? Aside from the spelling?
The sun rose today, and it will set. Strap in. Rejoice or mourn, but remember, four to eight years is really not that long of time.

24 August 2016

A Case of Mistake-Jem Identity

Sooo, at a meeting regarding county trail maintenance and interpretive signage, the executive assistant to the commissioners called me a jem. Me.
This is a true story as told by a preservationist of my acquaintance and admiration. I inclined my head respectively in thanks, the whole time thinking they've got me mixed up with some other tall lanky bastard who likes to play outside.

12 July 2016

Fun Facts About the Leadville Boneyard

We were speaking of roadtrips and fun places to go. Leadville came up, because we both think it's a funky little 'berg, because you gotta have the funk. I mentioned having picnics in the town's cemetery with a bottle of wine, which was lauded as a good idea. Although, when I mentioned people were just dying to get to the cemetery, I was greeted with a groan and an eyeroll, and I don't know why.

"Of course, the people across the street from the cemetery can't be buried there," I said.

"Really? Why?"

"Because they ain't dead yet," I replied.

"Goddamnit," She snorted, burying her face in her hands, "I have no words."

A sociopath, or, perhaps a sadistic man, would have found glee in her reaction. Of course I am neither. Aren't you thankful?