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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


jean's african violet

Years and years ago I made an attempt to grow an African violet and it didn't work, right away. Overwatering rotted the roots and that was it. I was apprehensive of the one above when Jean left it with Jr not long before she died, something for him to remember her by. He kept it on the kitchen table and I looked to the watering. It baked in the sun, which I didn't know worked against it. I thought it had to acclimatize. I've been told it was a desert plant, so I figured sun was good for it. It is, but not that good. After watering it looked good. The day of Jr's funeral I asked his niece to take it home with her. She'd professed to have several. She's good with African violets. Like everything she says, I neither believe it nor disbelieve it. I wait and see. A few weeks later when I went to the house to get some water when my pipes were frozen, I saw she'd left the violet, meaning, I suspected, she didn't know the first thing about violets and was not the violet gifted one she professed for herself. I brought it home. It lived good here in quite a lot less direct sun. I didn't quite trust myself with an African violet, but I'd kept this one living for 2 years. I must have the rhythm of watering it about right. I decided to repot it and maybe improve its health. I believe Jr would have wanted me to take it. It's my memory of Jr too.

Hope wiggled its hind end in my face this morning. Nextdoor neighbor, Allan, stopped by this morning on his way in one direction or another. He said he had come in the back road last night at 11:30. Approaching Tom Pruitt's empty house, he saw cat eyes on the porch. He pulled his car into Tom's parking place shining the headlights onto the porch. It was a black cat, a black skinny cat, that ran under the porch out of sight. I walked up to Tom's house at 9 this morning, walked around the house calling TarBaby. Perhaps, goes my new thinking, TarBaby got away from Jolene and went as far as Tom's house to go hang out, stay away from the dogs. It sounded like TarBaby, esp the skinny part. He does know how to keep himself in fresh meat.

Cats do have a way of going away for several weeks and turning up. I've given up hope so much I don't know how I'd handle it when he walks in the door. Yes I do. I'll pick him up, if he'll let me--he might be in his wild mind that could take a little time, a few hours to settle back into domestic mind. He might have been under the house, at least in hearing distance of my calls to him. I've seen many times in the past that when a cat is in wild mind, it doesn't recognize its name, not even the voice or the sight of the most familiar human. If that's what TarBaby is doing, I'll have to leave him to it. He might have gone to hide wounded too, to heal himself before he came home. I can't know. One thing I learned from living with cats is I do not understand cat mind. Don't understand dog mind either. Don't understand human mind. I'll just say I don't understand mind.

There are a few things I can recognize a cat's thinking when it's close to mine. We're not very far apart, except we have the forebrain, they don't. The forebrain is what got us put out of the Garden. We tend to think about ourselves all the time. Cats and dogs seldom or never think about themselves. I know they're aware of themselves by name, by wanting, by reflection in a mirror. I put a mirror on the floor, leaning against the wall, for them to become aware of what they look like. It' isn't long before they figure out it's themselves. They take an interest in it as themselves once, then never again. They see it, recognize it's self, but don't look. Yet, they're aware it's them. They don't have to look again because they've seen it. I've held one of the cats up to see self in the bathroom mirror I use for shaving. Each one gave their own eyes a split-second glance and never looked at self again. I felt like it made them a little nervous not wanting to see self.

They are tremendously unlike us in this way. When they see something once, they've seen it. Don't need to keep on looking at it. Once they see it, they know it's there, and that's all. If it's something to eat, they'll take a little time to deal with that, but when it's done, it's done. They don't fix their attention for long periods of time like we do, and they don't dwell on the past or the future, their own status, their self-esteem, or worry. They don't have the forebrain to focus their attention on themselves first and all else through that filtering lens, which distorts such that what we call reality is, indeed, the same as a dream. Each individual's reality is her/his own dream. It wasn't very long ago that Western mind believed the earth was flat like a table and the heavens revolved around it, which time lapse photography of the night sky illustrates. All the stars, planets, moon, sun, go around us. It kept shipping lanes close to the coastline. Now, anyone who believes the earth is flat is considered completely out of touch, dismissed. It will be like that with evolution in another hundred years or more. Before Newton named it gravity that kept everything on the ground doesn't mean gravity started that day. Planet Earth went round the sun when people believed it didn't. I'm amused by the present day Christian response to evolution, like it's something you can vote on. Vote NO on the evolution amendment. Unacceptable. Therefore, we don't have to believe it. It's not like gun laws you can say, "my cold, dead hand," about. In the 1920s, an artist in Paris, a Surrealist, exhibited a framed mirror in a show, across the bottom of the frame written, MONKEY.

My first weeks in the mountains, I was in conversation with 2 NC forestry men, about Christmas trees on the Stern land. One of them was a mountain boy and the other a city boy. While we walked from one place to another, they were talking about hunting. The mountain boy said the Bible said God gave us dominion over the animals, meaning we can kill them. My head swum a little bit over that one. I took dominion to mean responsibility to take care of, like a king's dominion over his people. They're his responsibility to look to their good. It didn't always work out that way. Some kings were benevolent and some were tyrants. There it is, dominion means one thing in theory and another in practice. Why not just call it tradition? It's tradition we kill deer and everything else. It's human tradition. This was some of my very first encounters with country people, and I found it a bit inexplicable he had the need to justify killing deer to eat by the Bible. We justified genocide on the Indians by the Bible. It was used to justify slavery.

After 2000+ years, I wonder when we will start living by the New Testament. Back then, He said the Old Testament time was over, done, accomplished, fulfilled, finished. The new time is here. It's about loving the people around us, taking care of the people who can't help themselves, basically just getting along with others as the secret to a good life. Over 2000 years ago. It didn't take that long for the humans to catch on to the earth being a ball spinning around a ball of fire. From the way things are in Christendom in this time, it's like the message of Love never took. It looks to me like it translated down through time as tell-other-people-what-to-do. I don't know what that says about humans unless it's a slow process to transcend our animal nature after so much time in animal form killing to eat, and all the territorial mind that dogs make good examples of. Evolution is a slow process. It has all the time in the world. It's ongoing. I think of it as the equivalent of the growing process, like they're linked as one. And it also doesn't matter what I think about it, like it doesn't matter what I think about gravity, or anything, really. When a big wind comes through that blows down a large number of trees, it doesn't matter that I understand the wind. It only matters that I know how to use a chainsaw. But if I'm going to fly a plane, or work on a sailing ship, I'll need to understand the wind. I guess it's whatever my reality requires at the time.

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