"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

29 August 2014

Persistence of Time

One of the buildings at the Diamond Mine...

"Time moves on
that's the way,
We live and hope
to see the next day,
That's all right...
Time's short
your life's your own,
'Cuz in the end
we're all just dust and bones..."-Guns n' Roses

It bordered upon heartwrenching when I first beheld the ruin. When last I'd been there, not but a week or two before, it was still standing tall. Back when I'd first moved here, the walls were largely intact. It was only a winter or two ago that they began to fall prey to pot hunters and Backcountry vandals.

A homicidal growl pushed past my thin lips and I made no effort to stop it. I wanted to find the authors of this destruction and stab them in the chest. Thirty-seven times. Thirty-eight would be excessive.

What?!? Think of it as evangelical Buddhism; the First Noble Truth is the realization of suffering. Feel the pain?

I had to let it go. Chalk it up to people suck instead of feeding that dragon. All across our Sahel, I have seen examples of affronts both to the wilderness and to the ruins of those gone before. It saddens sickens me.

Still, we live in an extreme environment. Wind, rain, freeze, and thaw can do as much damage, if not more, than any half-bald primate with scavenger's lust or small genitalia trying to impress someone-sometimes a combination of both. Even a place like Santiago, which us mill stewards managed to get a new roof on, will one day crumble into nothing more than splintered wood and rusted metal.

Nothing lasts and everything changes. That's the way of it. Even the stars die. Immortality is a curious jack-off fantasy at best, and a cruel joke at worst.  

I used to dread the march of years. Of getting older. Old was a terrifying concept to me. Now, I sort of look forward to it in a strange way.

A man in a warehouse told me once you reached thirty, you no longer had a bad attitude, you were opinionated. I was twenty-three at the time. A few years later I found I was cultivating the attitude of some older curmudgeons I know; here I am, you're looking at it. Although, I think I've established that I have a hard time caring about the social construct of reality in context to me.

Unless we want to poke at it for comedic value...

I confess that wasn't always the case. During my roaring twenties, even and especially about this time of year, I would note my chronological age and question what, if anything, I had accomplished. Sometimes, I would get morose because I didn't have the success one was suppose to have. Other times, whatever it is that has kept me on my Tao of Chaos would rise up in defiance. It finally hit me one day that, indeed, I've gotten to be who and what I wanted to be if I got close to growing up, and that's a grand revelation to have.

The seasons change and world marches on. Ruins fall further into decay. Mountains grind down to dust. Oceans dry. Young stars hurtle closer to their million-year long death-throes. So it goes.

It only becomes depressing if you give it that kind of power. Me? I find a queer sort of poetry in the infinite finality, knowing the only thing that doesn't change is that everything changes.


  1. We have ghost mining town 45 miles or so from here, easy one mile hike to it. It's along a large creek, built on the foothills of the Pioneer Mts. I've visited it every couple years for maybe 15 years, each time it's fallen apart more, not from vandalism, all that happened years and years ago, but just weather, several feet of snow in winter, thawing, etc.

    As to aging, and our part in it, Seems we all have our different methods, some succumb to the rocking chair easily, some don't. I don't attach any 'superior' tag to either; it's a choice, it's how we can go on.
    I swear that it wasn't until my late 40's that I gave up the hope of pitching in the bigs....I had a curveball that would freeze you like a deer in the headlights. I would have switched from medicine to the minors in a heartbeat.
    It's like springsteen said: "Glory Days", except one doesn't live there, just visits occasionally.
    Enjoy these years, big world out there to explore.

    1. I am actually a huge fan of the present moment, because that's all one really has. It is interesting to understand how one got to that moment, and where that moment might propel one. That's just me being all philosophical-like.

      I am comfortable with my age and stage in life, instead of dreading it and regretting what I could've done. To my mind, content does not mean complacent. There is still so much to do. You're right; the world's not so small there's no longer a need to explore.

  2. I don't suppose the collapse of a few boards and beams mean much in the whole scheme of things...although it's much easier to accept when it's nature's destructive hand rather than a primate's.

    Sort of like life then, really...

    1. Indeed. Nature's destruction, whilst terrifying and/or saddening, does not lead to murder thoughts like it does with humans.

  3. My friend Indira has a saying for this. "It's a wonderful world. Or at least it would be if it weren't for all the assholes."

    1. There is profound cosmic truth in that. Your friend is very wise.