Despite the gaily decorated evergreens and carolers, and even though there was the annual Christmas Market and I've had tourists ask me about a particular forfuckssakemutherfuckingJohnfuckingDenverfuckingfilm, the full implication of the time year hadn't start to settle in until a few days ago. I was at a party for the narrow gage railroad, and 'merry Christmas' and 'happy holidays' were more commonly heard than 'see you later' or 'have a good night'. Someone who knew I was Buddhist asked me what my ilk did this time of year. Not having been the first time that inquiry's been posed to me, I merely smiled, mentioned Rohatsu-which I didn't even realize happened until three days later, remember, heretic-and going to family gatherings and parties out of respect at the very least.
"Happy holidays, or whatever it is you celebrate," a tourist said to me the other day, I was wearing my fleece vest at the time, and there is an Om patch on it. I merely chuckled.
Sempi has harassed me for not at least having a tree. Never mind our tiny house, we should have one. He even went as far as saying it didn't have to be a Christmas tree; it could be a Bohdi tree, or, in my case, an exotic tree.
And, yes, insubordination be damned, I did call him a pigfucker. Twice. Wouldn't you?
With the socially acceptable excesses that accompany this time of year, I could joke that it's all gay and fine for me to indulge in great amounts of wine and/or whiskey at gathering instead of hanging back in a corner, trying to look comfortable next to a potted plant. Of course, I'm not given to attending to many parties. My paradoxical misanthropy, see? Something, which Sabina thinks has gotten a little better since we've come to the mountains, but, sometimes, I wonder if it's not gotten worse.
This is the time of year when I oscillate between depression, anger, apathy, and the occasional smiling at moments of simple humanity. I could, for the uncounted time, wax venomous about the commercialism or the theology, which spending three Christmases around southern evangelicals did nothing to help, that I am not a part of. There are the recent psychic scars of my mother and the bruja and other small tragedies, affronts, and unmentionables over the years, resulting in emotional baggage that bubbles up to the surface during a time of socially constructed peace and goodwill.
With my mother walking on this time of the year, I've been able to get out of some Christmasy things. Once, I mentioned feeling like I was moping too much. Of course, sempi reminded of something he told me back when we first became acquainted;
"That's your mom, you get to keep that." I guess at the end of the day, he's not always such a pigfucker.
Whistler has been showing growing incontinence since the last walkabout he took with me. Time was, as a champion show dog whom had traveled the wide world with my mother, he could stand to be in a crate for twelve to fourteen hours and not even blink. Lately, eight hours is pushing it, and I often try to let him out every four to six. When he has an accident, I wonder what sign I missed. I get frustrated; not at him-I cannot call him growing old his fault on a clean conscious-but at my own impotence on the matter. After all, this is the same dog that went up my Kilimanjaro with me.
I recently mentioned the First Noble Truth, and along with the realization of suffering comes the realization of impermanence. Nothing lasts forever. Forever is that fairy story lie we perpetuate to keep from screaming that one day it's lights out, and there's no way to escape it.
Whistler and Chevy, the Grumpy Old Men, my monkey's paws from my mother are not going to be around that much longer in the grand scheme of things, and the thought troubles me, as though another link to her memory will be lost to the belly of oblivion. Then again, Milarepa, the cats, and ferrets will one day be gone as well. Sabina and I don't get a forever, because, if one or both of us does not tire of our shared company, then one of us is going to be on the other side of dead, and that's just the way of it.
Such horrific black-shaped thoughts ricochet through the walls of my skull with the ferocity of summer lightning out on the tundra and across the highest peaks. The knowledge that all there is a series of moments and no happily ever after is terrifying. Understanding that even the stars die, therefore, proving as the old song goes, that we are only immortal for a limited time.
Wisdom from a celluloid sangha;
"There's no point to any of this. It's all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedies and a series of narrow escapes. So, I take pleasure in the little things..."
Perhaps this time of year, I find myself focusing more on the tiny details, lest my cynicism and baggage gets the better of me. I understand the reality of chaos, and just ride its storm winds, making note of those simple moments, which get me to smile. Whether that's a sweeping view or the stars overhead, the smile from a stranger or a hug from my daughter, I revel in it. This time of year, despite the socially constructed auspice, I seem more prone to notice the unremitting horror of a cold and indifferent universe, and I work especially hard to find those little bits of levity, as to keep myself from screaming.
This almost makes that crappy Toto song bearable as an example...