Thursday, March 21, 2013

On a cold morning

Snow on the ground.
Temperatures in the 20s.
A young man runs out of a house.
Not dressed for the weather.
Looks like just shorts, no shirt.
Running uncontrolled, flailing.
Looks almost like someone fleeing in terror from danger -- violence, fire.
Yet I sense it's not that.
He gets into a pickup truck parked at the end of the driveway.
Drives the pickup truck into the driveway.
It's 8:55am Thursday morning.
No parking on this side of the street, 9am-noon.
The terror that caused him to run
Was fear of his truck being towed.
As he walks from his truck to his house,
I see that he's not wearing shorts.
It's just a towel wrapped around his waist.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Books

I overheard someone today say something about a book.  It sounded as if there was a book she was wanting to get from the library, was excited about getting.  It seemed like it was a nonfiction book.  It reminded me that I'm eagerly awaiting two nonfiction books from inter-library loan.  In preparation for my trip to Florida, I requested The Trees of Florida and National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida.

It made me think about what books are.  Books are a place where we record our knowledge, ideas, flights of fancy, or points of view.   When we read a book, we engage with another person's mind.  It connects us to other times, other cultures.  It expands our view of the world beyond our own first-hand experience.

There are a wealth of books out there.  Some are based on ignorance or hate.  We choose what to read.  We choose which author's minds we want to engage with.

Didn't humans used to be interesting?

Didn't I used to like talking to people? Wasn't it interesting? I remember building on each other's ideas, talking for hours. It was exciting.  Now when people talk to me, they go on and on about such things as:

  • Reciting a bunch of clues and answers from a crossword puzzle.
  • Listing which parts of their bodies are affected by a shingles rash.  
  • Describing all the pros and cons of each necktie which was for sale online which was almost but not quite what they were looking for, so they did not buy any of them.
  • Describing the process of buying a plane ticket, including which airlines they considered going on, and which airline they eventually decided to use.

Haven

Walking home from work. Tired. Hungry. I want to cry.  Feel so alone.  Song in my head is "Drop Me Down" by Tres Chicas.

I go home.  I nourish my body with food.  I nourish my soul.

Enough of  to do lists.  Enough of reading.  Enough of  writing.  Enough of being constructive.  Enough of getting things done.  Enough of trying to fix my problems.

Enter a world free of such things, a world not of words and thoughts, but of movement, sound, and color.  Play the ukulele.  Listen to music.  Move to the music.  Or don't move to the music -- just lie there.  Don't think about whether you ought to move to the music or ought to rest.  Just follow where your body takes you.  Color in your Celtic knots coloring book.  Light a candle.  Gaze at the flame.  Meditate.  Visualize a forest.  Imagine you are basking in sunshine, feel the sunshine of your imagination warm your flesh.  Gazing up at the bare white ceiling, seeing in your imagination that it is painted in patterns of leaves, layer upon layer of leaves, many shades of green.

This is my haven.  Tonight I find it in my home.  But my haven is in my mind.  I carry it with me everywhere I go.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reminiscing

Gave her a ride. Through the countryside, then through another small city.  I drove this route last fall.  Remembering that day.  Incredible fall foliage.  Listening to opera music.  Tears streaming down my cheeks.  The mountain came into view. The peak disappeared into the clouds.  Mount Olympus.  Home of the gods.

It was good today too, seeing the beauty of the countryside.  I should come out this way more often.  It's too small, just going the same places all the time -- home, work, dance practice.

And I remember, was it ten years ago? When we rode in my car back then, there was a particular tape I always played, and there was one particular song she always interpreted. Each time, spinning a new and diffferent story about what the lyrics symbolized.   I told her back then, "You should go to college, because that's what people do in college, they make stuff up like that."  Now she's in college, and as we drive along, she talks to me about how tragedy was a development in Greek literature, that prior to tragedy, Greek stories did not have morals or negative consequences for bad behavior.  She tells me that Aristotle was Alexander's tutor, and what would the world be like today if Alexander had had a different tutor.  She says Aristotle is famous because Alexander conquered the world.  If it had not been for Alexander, maybe we would have forgotten Aristotle.  Maybe someone else would have tutored Alexander, and we'd be reading that person's writings.

I love being around intellectuals.

Yesterday she humored me. For five minutes, she let me read aloud to her from Winnie the Pooh.  I wanted to do it because I was thinking back on those days.  The days when I was in my 30's.  When I had a group of friends.  That's what I think back on.  It's not my 20's I miss.  In my 20's I was in a romantic relationship.  It was like a coccoon.  It was cozy, but I didn't go out of it.  That's not what I want.

When I was in my 30's, I had a group of friends, and there were always new people and new activities.  Having that solid base of friends made me comfortable to reach out to new people.  That's what I miss.

And what else I miss is that we were kids. We frolicked and hiked and dressed up for Halloween and read Winnie the Pooh to each other and sang songs.  Nowadays most people are grownups.  I miss having fun.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Following the call of the soul

In her post "Slowing down, again, more," Nimue Brown writes "T Thorn Coyle explores the importance of desire, of following the calling of your soul."  That's what I loved about going on the walk today.  I was following the calling of my soul.  I saw things that called to me, so I drew closer to them.

She goes on to say, "I’m so used to pushing my body to exhaustion and beyond."  Yes, that's what I have to do every single day.  I can't live if I don't.  For my survival I depend on income from a job that demands more energy than I have, so I have to keep pushing myself past exhaustion.

And then I go home, and I have to prepare food and wash dishes and get groceries and do laundry and pay bills.  My body says no, but I have to do it.

So that's what my life is every day.  Pushing  my body.

When I get to follow the call of my soul, those are rare and precious moments.

A walk

I went on a walk today.  When I go out in nature, I get caught up in it.  No more thinking of goals and to do lists.  I see a pond down a hill.  I want to get close to it.  The hill is slippery with snow.  I follow the draw of the pond, and make my slippery way down.


Water from cascades down the hill, into the pond.

video


Where the water enters, there's a circle of water in the pond.  Surrounding that circle of water, the pond is ice and snow.


The warmth of spring is beginning to melt the ice.  Will the warmth of spring thaw me too, thaw all the bitterness, hurt, and hopelessness?

I remember coming to this place 12 years ago with friends.  It was a time in my life when I was thriving.  That was a high point in my life.  Things started to go downhill a few months after that day.  They kept going downhill.  The lowest point was 7 years ago.  Since then, I've been trying to put my life back together.  It doesn't fall into place with ease.

But some things can't be forced.  If I don't have health, if I don't have friends, so be it.  Sometimes I just have to keep walking with what I've got.

I've come here with other people other times since that day 12 years ago.  Twice last year I came here with someone.  One time, I frolicked on the playground with my sister.  I love it when someone will go on the swings with me.  The other time, my friend scaled a tree to bring back a sprig of alder catkins.  That's how I know that those trees beside the water with the catkins are alder.



I've been here with people, and I've been here alone, and I love it both ways.  I don't like going on walks with people who make too much noise and don't see what is around them, but I like going with people who let nature be a part of the conversation.

What I love about being out here is the timelessness, the way the rest of my life slips away.  I think it's no more than a mile from my home, and yet, I'm a world away.

Look, that stump looks like a head with wild hair growing out of it.


I start to make my way back.  I'm still out in nature, but consciousness of the world I'm going to return to floods back, and I fill with sadness.




I'm heading back now, set on my goal.  But then my attention is caught.  A flash of color.  In the grayness of March, there's a splash of red.  Once again, nature draws me in.  I follow the pull, drawing closer to the splash of color, slithering down the slope to the edge of the water.




Now I'm practically back to civilization, walking on a paved path, and suddenly I realize that I can see the world in a puddle on the pavement.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dream about dancing

I had a dream about dancing.  First, someone was teaching me the dance.  It was similar to a waltz in the way that you hold your partner, and in having three counts.  The difference was that there's a way of crossing one foot over the other on one of the counts.

In the lesson in the dream, first we learned it side to side: three counts to the right, then three counts to the left to get back to the starting point.  Then three counts to the left, then three counts to the right to get back to the starting point.

Then we learned it front and back: three counts forward, three counts backward to the starting point.  Then three counts backward, and three counts forward to the starting point.

Then we learned it as a turn: three counts to make a circle.  That is, the woman makes a circle going under the arms, while the man does not turn, same as many dances I've done in my waking life.

This lesson was taught on something sort of like an air mattress, an inflatable surface.  It was bigger than an air mattress though.  It was maybe three or four feet tall, six feet wide, and 10 feet long.  I don't know -- I can't estimate such things when I'm awake, let alone when I'm asleep.  Also, this giant air mattress type thing was invisible, so it kind of appeared as if we were dancing on the air.  Not as good as it sounds because it could be hard to tell exactly where to step.

So the lesson went well and I learned the dance.  Then I was no longer on the air mattress, and doing the dance rather than learning it.  I had a wonderful partner.  Then we were no longer dancing.  He was trying to seduce me, and I was happy.  Then I learned that he was under some sort of curse such that if he did not succeed in seducing me, he would become stupid -- lose his intelligence.  It was like the intelligence he had was not part of him, it was just added on as part of this curse thing he was under.  Then I was no longer interested in the seduction.

Then I woke up.  As I lay there drowsily trying to re-create the dream, I was thinking through the choreography.  I was thinking that the place in the dance with the crossed feet should be on the second count.  But that was just what made most sense when I was awake.  Step right foot out to side.  Cross left foot in front of right.  Step right foot out to the side.

But I don't think it was like that when I was asleep.  I think the crossed foot was on the first count when going to the side, and on the third count when I was doing the turn.

My conclusion from the dream: I need to dance more. Once a week is not enough.