"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

30 June 2015

A Backbeat for Nada

Runoff has started to abate. I no longer hear the Leviathan, grinding river rocks to bowling ball smooth. Some of my lower demarcation rocks begin to peep above the swells, and my oh fuck! rock has become completely dry. Other places in town, I see evidence of drying out. It will be safe to traverse the water crossings of Grizzly Gulch soon enough.

Out back, by the willow, there is still ankle deep standing water. So it goes. Old beaver bog. Runoff always gets the Talking Heads song Swamp playing in my skull. Because we like to anthropomorphize and imagine the universe has a sense of humor-and the giraffe and platypus certainly make a strong argument for this-it's vaguely funny how the monsoons come on the coattails of runoff. During some deluges, William Elliot Whitmore's Lee County Flood seems so fitting.

Then again, I have a constant backbeat within the walls of my skull. The stereo is always on in the house. My daughter once said she thought I'd be overjoyed becoming deaf, because I'd not have to listen to people. Truth is, I'd be depressed, because I'd not be able to hear music, be it that made by humans, or by impassive universe around me.

I hath smote my first mosquitoes of the summer. An omen the ticks have most likely gone. One blood-sucker for another. I am not amused.

The strangest happenstance has come to pass over the last week or so; I've not been so much in the mood for tea. There, I said it. Water, cool, clear water-water-has been my go-to. The other night, winding down for bed, but trying to finish up a conversation with Sabina, I'd decided I was done with libations, and my wine glass became a water glass.

Queer. I wonder if this means I'm pregnant. If so, then who's the daddy? Sabina, for having never wanted or had children, is perhaps one of the biggest mothers I've ever met. Do you find it strange that one of the last times I told her this she entreated me to fuck off? I know I did.

Last week I saw Senpai all but dancing the jig a few times over the state of society. Even and especially over the events of this past Friday, he has quite the right to be happy. There was irony that a trade agreement was pushed through with the help of a political party whose agenda has been to block the sitting president at every turn. Although, for every leap we make as a society, there comes that moment of catching the evangelicals getting into a truck with Missouri plates, one wearing a t-shirt that reads; Fear god, love thy neighbor.

And Social Distortion's Don't Drag Me Down starts in my skull...

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am one of those cats who finds existence a constant state of becoming. Evolving. Owning up. You adapt or you die, this is the imperative and gospel of biology. The dynamic of change is just a given. One of those songs that I hear even when I'm not playing it on the stereo with varying degrees of frequency is Memphis Minnie's I Got to Make a Change Blues. That jam's been playing a lot recently. Part of me, feeling slightly silly-superstitious, wonders if it is an omen of bigger changes upon the event horizon, and, if so, I curiously wonder what those changes will be. 

08 June 2015

Twisted Arrow

"You've been reading
some old letters,
You smile and think
how much you've changed,
All the money in the world
couldn't buy back those days..."-The The

Long ago now, when my siblings and I helped my father put his mother in the ground, we ended up at the wake. It was a grand southern affair with casseroles and libations. Having lived at higher elevations for so long, we felt we were drinking alcohol-flavored water whilst the southern relatives got hammered and mourned. One remarked out of all of my part of the family, I was the one who'd changed the most.

To be fair, some of these cats hadn't seen me since I was fourteen or fifteen. I'd not started growing my hair long, and certainly was unable to sprout facial hair yet. It was before the braces fixed that overbite I had through childhood and the idea of a tattoo had not entered into the mathematics of my thoughts.

That summer was when Sabina and I decided we must move to the mountains. I have mentioned more than once how that shocked my city friends. Even Jezebel was a little gobsmacked. Recently, as I mentioned hating crowds and flat places, she reminded me of how I once wanted to be so urban. I thanked her for the call-out, but reminded her of where we were living when we first became pals; the badlands of eastern Colorado. Flat and khaki with fuck all to do.

See, I knew I'd one day leave the greater metroplex. It just seemed to be the way of it. However, as I told another acquaintance who, when I first spoke of Kashmir, I had no intention of going back to the badlands, or even North Carolina. Fuck that noise.

Never back. Forward. Ever forward.

In a sense, I've only gone back twice in my life. The first was when my family moved back to Colorado. My seventeen year old delusion was it'd be back to the very first farmstead on the very western edge of the metroplex, just a few miles east of the hogbacks and Front Range foothills-I like to call them wuss hills these days-by Morrison, when that was still the countryside. My friends, some of whom were my friends only when in that one neighborhood, would pick up where we left off three and a half years before.

What a fool I used to be...

The new farmstead was seven miles east of Parker, on the county line. The very edge of the badlands. Over the years my parents would move even further into those flat wastes. It was a new landscape, new people, new rules. Three and a half years is forever and a day when you're in junior high and high school. Those friends had moved on, despite efforts I made to stay in touch. Their memory effigies have since faded into obscure places within the walls of my skull I only inspect on the rarest of occasions.

The old cliché holds true; you can never go home again...

The second time was moving back in with my parents, to that first new Colorado farmstead, right after my divorce. That was a tense and depressive eighteen months. My father and I were ready to go after one another with knives. My adolescent urge to escape the badlands was trumped my adult one. When Jezebel said she needed a roommate, I was gone so quick, my pants had to catch the next bus out.

Once upon a time, my way of thinking and being was built upon the foundations of The Art of War, The Book of Five Rings, The Analects of Confucius, The Tao te Ching, and pretty well any Buddhist sutra. A friend once remarked I was the smartest cat he'd ever met, because anyone can read Sun Tzu and Confucius and regurgitate quotes to sound cool in conversation, but it takes real intellect to apply that knowledge and live it. I have not spoken to him in years. Sometimes, it makes me sad.

These days the foundations have a another layer of which is more of a go-to; Desert Solitaire, A Sand County Almanac, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Lonely Planets; The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life, and pretty well anything from John Muir. Instead of mala beads and Thai prayer stones to occupy my hands, I carry fossils and smoothed river stones. No one I hang around these days would be surprised by this, given I speak of being outside as holy sacrament.

Five years back, Lee came to stay with us to pull his head together whilst he contemplated leaving the Sons of Silence. I chided him on being a joiner, a fucking lemming. Back then, I had a subscription to National Geographic, making me a society member by default, and that was almost too much fucking effort.

A year later, I found myself on the board of our historical society. To this day, I say I did it to shut a couple of people up. From there, I've found myself getting involved with a few other things within my community. Senpai will remark how established I am. How I have become the Man, to which I mention, like Old Blue Eyes, I did it my way.

The occasions I have had to speak from someone from the distant past of high school, or, nowadays, even the city, they seem blown away by who I am now versus their rose-tinted recollections. I am saddened by their apparent stagnation and descent into a reality, which is a blur of Republicans and meat. We are far-flung aliens to one another and that probably explains why bonds are never reestablished.

Never back. Forward. Ever forward.

I too get amazed and twists and turns my life has gone along. The adventures, the mentalities, the landscapes. Even some of the things I've done for money, though, I think it is banal to measure the sum and substance of your existence against what you do to pay the bills. Cats like that should be peeled, salted, driven around on spiked planks by near-catatonic mental patients, used as a jizz-catcher for rabid baboons in heat, and left to hang in the town square for necrophile boys to play with. At best.

Although, any time I get too impressed with my own intelligence and how much personal evolution I've accomplished, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Inevitably, I am wearing a t-shirt and an unbuttoned, untucked flannel. An image of me through the ages. It's then I catch myself wondering what really has changed, if anything at all.     

02 June 2015

Signs of the Sweet Time

The falls up Mosquito Gulch, all defrosted now. A lovely spot to stand under after a hot walkabout...

A friend of mine, of whom I warn people not to fuck with, for she is short, spunky, and southern, told me she knew it was summer when she saw me wearing shorts. I knew it was summer by the scent in the air and the way everything popped green in what seemed an overnight. Let the sweet time begin.

The river, noted, if not lauded, for its clarity, is brown with silt and sings in the tones of runoff. Some of my sitting rocks, or, ones I use for marking the waterline, are submerged. I've yet to hear the leviathan, but I know it's just a matter of days, if not hours.

Sabina and I scheme to go camping. Back behind the Bull's Head is the most accessible now. Grizzly Gulch sometime after runoff abates. It's be later in the summer when we pitch the tent up above Pass Lake. I itch for the alpine, having not been up there since Sabina's birthday. That's almost six months. Half a year.

This will not do...

Walking around town, neighbors hold court on porches. Mowing instead of shoveling snow. The scent of grilling and bonfires as opposed to the scent of fire to heat a house.

I have learned to deal with and appreciate winter. Autumn's colors are always striking. Spring brings its promise of renewal. However, summer is truly the sweet time. In terms of economics, it's our busiest, richest time. In terms of life, it's the sweetest time because it's so fucking short. Lessons in cycles and impermanence.

Summer has come. A time of hummingbirds and wildflowers. Shorts and sandals. Walkabouts into the Backcountry to those places snow never melts. Of grilling and nights under a big starry sky with an open fire and not as many layers. The shortest, sweetest time of all.