"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

04 August 2015

In the Blood

Some attempts at creativity; a rustic sitting spot, behind the willow out back, and a trail marker up by the ruins of the Illinois Mine...

Perhaps my grandmother's favorite song was Little Boxes. She would mention it when passing through suburban wastes as we headed into the badlands of eastern Colorado to visit my parents. It was said if she felt the population density to open lands ratio was not right, she would lean over to the person closest to her and start to sing.

"Little boxes
little boxes,
And they were all
made out of ticky-tacky,
And they all looked
just the same..."

The last person I ever heard relate that tale said there was a hiss upon her otherwise always civil voice. I knew that hiss well. The intonation that you were doing something incorrect and needed to straighten up and fly right or she would make your life exceedingly difficult. You did not fuck with my grandmother. Very few people have ever intimidated me. My grandmother is one of them.

My grandmother hated two things; sprawl and liberals. I find I share her hatred of sprawl. It was one of the the things that drove my push into the mountains after the city had served its purpose.


I think it was the beginning of the year that Senpai first mentioned there were openings on the county Open Space Commission as well as HDPLC. This was taken with a grain of metaphoric salt. I felt I was busy enough.

Still, because of the retired forester of my acquaintance, who is a vice-chair on Open Space, and, come to think of it, involved in everything I've found myself involved in, save the town's museum committee, I made some inquires. The forester's companion, a globe-trotting widower who volunteers for me, was one of the people I made mention of my curiosity to. When I said I could be selfish about my free time, she shot me a look and a wry smile.

"I think you can take some time out of your precious hiking schedule to hike around for the county."

So, I went to a meeting after expressing my interest to the right people and receiving an invitation. There was another cat there with similar interests, older than me. He'd lived in the county ten years longer and dropped names. I mentioned who I was and inferred some of my family were involved in Open Space in other places, but, things like the fact there's a park named after my grandfather were not mentioned. In a place where there's a lot of historical preservation going on, there's also a lot of ancestor worship. Love and respect my family as I do, I try to stand or fall on my own merits.

I gave my song and dance and then closed my mouth. Part of it is my inherent shyness, part of it was to watch-I like to watch-the proceedings and get an understanding of how things worked. The other guy felt it was okay to interrupt. When speaking with some of my acquaintances after the fact, a great many seemed to think I took the better course of action.

"Some people do things because they have an agenda they're trying to advance," Senpai said when we discussed the subject. "You don't. You do things you do out of genuine love for it. That's why I suggested it to you. I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't something that fit you and who you are."

That was April. Things moved at the speed of bureaucracy. Don't call us, we'll call you. In the interim, the magistrate sent an unsolicited recommendation to the county commissioners and I acquiesced to being on HDPLC-I'll say it was to shut Senpai up. The commission sent me a questionnaire on being involved with Open Space and the way I answered apparently got their attention.

A few weeks back, I got the recommendation from the commission. This meant an interview with the county commissioners. More bureaucracy. Playing dress-up.


It is disgusting, but for all of my anti's, the long hair, tattoos, and trinkets, I can clean up and play johnny-conformity in such a nauseating fashion I catch myself scrubbing manically in the shower for hours afterward. I got it from my grandparents, both of whom were county commissioners of some note. From my father, who was a traveling business man for money when I was little, and, to this day, can convince a drowning man to have a drink of water. From my mother, my grandparents daughter. It's in the blood.

The interview went well. I spoke of community involvement in order to sustain said community. Of how I felt our Sahel is a magical place of many varied landscapes. Of knowing that sometimes the best way to protect a thing is to share it.

Officially, word would come two weeks later. Unofficially, the forester found me the day of the interview and congratulated me on my appointment. Over the last few weeks it's how he's reintroduced me to cats in the circles of which we travel. Yes, I knew I had this muthafucker. I knew back in April. However, a throwback superstition, I waited for word from on high, lest the whole thing be jinxed.

Word came from on high. My daughter, her boyfriend, and I went out for Mexican to celebrate. There's champagne in the fridge for when Sabina gets done at obligations.

This whole bit of madcap skulduggery has once more gotten some people I know to ask when I'll run for mayor, or, county commissioner. I growl, remind them my grandparents were the politicians. That the things I do, aside from not advancing a personal agenda-who really has time for that bullshit? Not me-is to avoid running for an elected position.

"It's in your blood," Job said one of the last times we spoke. Something I've heard more than once from more than one cat.

"So is hemoglobin and platelets," I shoot back. "That means nothing."

"It's your destiny," Sabina said once.

"Fucking what? You're Palpatine now?!? 'Come to the dark side, we have cookies' and all that?" I snarled. "Besides, you know I don't believe in destiny."

She just shot me a sly smile. The one that entreats me to growl deeper. Dig in more.

"I'd rather bear my jugular or call myself a romantic first," I said. "And since the universe shall fall to entropy before that happens..."    


  1. I'm with Sabina on this one...though if "destiny" bothers you, maybe thinking of apples that don't fall far from their trees will make you feel better...Your Honor. ;D

    1. Um, not a flora-based lifeform, therefore, the fruit analogy does not apply. Besides, I have two siblings that can deal with that brain damage.

  2. Well hell, it'll be an experience, anyway. Interesting too, possibly, and maybe even fun.
    That was one of Pete Seeger's most popular songs, about the houses in South San Francisco.
    Is that a elk or moose vertebrae that someone strung up?

    1. An adventure, to be sure.

      Elk is realistic, but also, given the side of the valley, big horn.