"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

06 November 2012

Drop-Out Day

Not a day goes by that I do not find myself grateful for not owning a television. I can get my documentary geek on through a few streams along the spider's web of cyber as well as news and weather, and the 'puter does have DVD player for the odd film. This has been the paradigm for years, and I do not feel bad about it, even if Sabina and I have gotten a concussed look of genuine confusion from people we've told when they've asked if we've watch the latest hot telly show.

However, this day, I find myself especially grateful. After my daily keeping up with correspondences and otherwise checking in-'making sure the world ain't blowed up yet', as my father would say-I have resolved to drop out for most of the rest of the day. I have my reasons and if you have to ask, you'll probably never fucking know. Certainly, it could be considered apathetic, but I cast my lot a bit ago and have no desire to be ringside to the dogfight I'm sure is going to ensue.

My grandmother, were she still alive, would be all but glued to her television set. So it goes. This, along with Colorado frontier history, was one of those things she lived for. I've always found those who can eat, breathe, and sleep a thing to exclusion of all others interesting, though, it depends on the day and my mood whether I regard those cats with fascination or disdain.

And, at some point during the day, she would've been tracking me down. She would've wanted to know my thoughts-'tell me what's new and interesting', was her preferred method of starting a conversation. Chances are, she'd ask if I knew my friends opinions as well.

In the last few years of her life, love and respect her though I did and still do, I found myself disagreeing with my grandmother more and more. The rhetoric on her side was becoming increasingly hateful. More xenophobic. More fanatical. I like to believe I am pretty easy-going when it comes to one's beliefs and philosophies; I become indignant, at best, when someone tries to tell me what to do or how to live my life, so why do that to someone else? Those who do try to impose their will upon others can get the demon that hides behind my eyes to come out, and, if they're lucky, I just growl no thank you and stalk off in the general direction of away. Otherwise, if I'm feeling gentle, they might get to limp away with just a few scars.    

So, I checked the PBS site to verify a couple episodes of Nature I was interested in were accessible to watch as well as Austin City Limits so I might hear a particular song from the Civil Wars I often hear within the walls of my skull, but cannot recall the title to. These are things to do once the sun disappears behind Pendelton's ridge line. Already, it's begun; the growing shadows. In just a few weeks, we will have entered the long dark. It can be a bitch living at the lower border of a north face.

The streaming of documentaries was not to be until later. There were other things to do. Thus, I went for my pack. The hounds watched me intently as I packed my water bottle and grabbed my trek pole and slid my fleece vest on. Chevy, having been sentenced to arthritis for over two years now just gave me a resigned look, a walk to check the post is usually too much for him. Whistler's gaze was a little more expectant and forlorn.

"Even if you weren't deciding to slow down on me, not this go 'round, mon ami," I said. I looked over at Milarepa, who eyed me with youthful expectant excitement. "You neither, I'm afraid."

The four of us went outside for a run before I left. I wanted to do this walkabout alone. It was going to just be along the narrow gage tracks down valley, so nothing overly technical. The solitude would be nice before I wandered into the off-season weekday crowds, if such a description could be apt. I was hoping Miguel Loco would be in at the very least.

Heading along the tracks turned into a dysfunctional game of cat in mouse; train employees getting things in place for the upcoming Big Horn Sheep Festival this weekend, and me not wanting to get caught trespassing walking along railroad tracks. None of the parties involved were neither caught or hurt. I did discover that my bicycle riding had gifted me with the ability to jog fairly well. Owning up, I cannot run, between the last visages of asthma and awkward movements. However, it looks like I can jog when I need to move fast on my own two legs, instead of just walking briskly. Whenever I did it, I reminded myself why I stopped smoking, oh, so long ago.

Seeing Miguel Loco was a twofold mission; the first, as he wanted me to watch his shoppe on a Sunday-will work for gear!-the second, was to get my parka I'd been working on paying off from him before a prophised coming of cool weather. Sales did not dictate the requirement of my services, but I did get my coat. We spoke to the divinity of snow for the wellbeing of our Sahel at this time of year and our respective livelihoods, and to living without televisions.

Having my parka and snowboots at home, all I could think with the worst of the snow and cold was; muthafucking bring it!

I swung by the winery to see another friend and help her through the snake's tail of a bottle of reserve wine that had been open a few days for tasting. A horrible thing, really. But, for my friends, I will drink expensive wine. It's no trouble. Honest. I do it for the team.

Stop fucking snickering...

My reason for seeing her was to bring up an upcoming historical talk on the Anasazi. Both of us having an appreciation for those cultures, it was set as a date. I sat and listened to her tales of travel in the American Maghreb, and of seeing cliff-dwellings firsthand. Something I've yet to do, but it's on my metaphoric list. Something I will do.

Later in the afternoon, my walkabout home was not fraught with the French-film complications of dodging railroad workers. It was a leisurely trek back up-valley. The sun, falling faster behind the valley walls this time of year, glinted warmly off the summit of my personal Kilimanjaro, raging against the dying of the light. I smiled at the sight, my mountain lighting my way home amongst the dimness of the canyon forest.

The walkabout began and ended in the town's cemetery. Time was, I was terrified of necropoleis, fearing where the dead sometimes slept, and sometimes, if stories were to believed, wandered. I was much more superstitious back then.

"You have all those skulls in your house, and you've kept tarantulas!" The bruja said once on the subject. "And yet you're afraid of a few gravestones? You?!?"

I've never made any illusions that my hypocrisies knows no bounds...

Perhaps it was the bruja calling me on my bullshit. Maybe it's sempi's husband, once having oversaw Oakland Cemetery back in Atlanta, and telling me stories. It could be my superstitions have evolved, and I find myself more inclined to be more frightened of the specters clad in skin and bone and the ghosts of memory then any phantasm bugaboo from beyond the veil.

These days, when coming back from certain walkabouts, I smile when I see the first gravestones, which mark the far eastern edge of town's necropolis. I do not see undead monsters coming for me with malign intent, but the gentle voices of those who have been here before; ancestors of different families, as it were. Seeing those markers means I am nearly home, and, in that, I find profound comfort.        


  1. Your Tuesday rambles are so interesting...I always enjoy tagging along.

  2. Taking one for the team, always an applaudable trait.

    I once did charcoal rubbings of ancient gravestones and then painted on top of them. Rather...dark, but they all sold.

    What a lovely walk...

    1. It was a burden, but I soldiered on...

      Those would've been neat pieces to see. Sabina, being a cemetery-phile has done rubbings before. I think it was up in Leadville, which is a funky necropolis in and of itself.

  3. Please don't let them put me in a cemetery when I cross over. I'm sure I'll still be anti-social when I die, so tell them to burn me up and throw my ashes into the wind.

    1. I'll put that on my action-item list, promise.

      If I ever decide to die, I too want my ashes scattered...