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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


air bellows

I believed I could handle loss better than I can. Over the last year I've seen I am not capable of quite a lot I believed I was before. I am not handling the loss of TarBaby and Jr well at all. I know better than to wallow in the pit of loss, but it happens anyway. All day today has been timeout for mourning. This morning, I had my coffee, watched the last half of a documentary about Evo Morales of Bolivia I saw the first half of last night. Talked on the phone with Carole, went back to bed and cried for an hour over TarBaby. I was not ready. It blindsided me. I can't believe he's living anymore. I can't stand wondering anymore. Two friends, perhaps equally close to me in spirit, snatched up and gone. Jean continues to swim among them in my head and heart. I drove to town just to make myself get out of the house. Bank, PO, drug store, etc. Ran into Jean's preacher daughter int he PO lobby. We hugged. She asked if I'm living in Jr's house. I said, No. She said, I thought you'd want to live closer to town? I thought: Me? Closer to town? And said, No, I want farther from town, not closer. The encounter brought Jean to the front of my mind again.

Back from town, I sat and watched INTO THE WILD, the film made by Sean Penn about the guy just graduated from Emory who went into the wild of Alaska leaving everything behind. As a film it was 10x better than I was expecting from what I'd read and heard, and expected it to be pretty good. I saw Sean Penn's artistry all the way through it. Penn is somebody I've watched over the years without really watching him. Just paid attention to things he did over time. In the time when he was married to Madonna and playing the Hollywood bad boy, I couldn't take him seriously. Then, years later I see something and it makes me pay attention. Then he's in Sam Shepherd's THIS SO-CALLED DISASTER. By the time I put the dvd in the slot to start the film, my respect for Penn was solid. What I meant above by 10x better, Penn has matured as an artist at least tenfold since I was first aware of him. He likes to play with the edge. This may have something to do with his choice to make this film, and then how he made it, following this young not necessarily rational guy going off into the extreme.

Back at home in urban Virginia, we see what his absence is doing to his mother, dad and sister, people who have lived inauthentic lives to a degree the boy went flying off into the unknown to look for something real, something authentic. Dad and mom are suffering within daily, not knowing anything about where he might be, if he might be. After a year and a half out on his adventures, daddy William Hurt breaks down in anguish and sat down in the road, acting out for me what I was feeling inside over TarBaby, not knowing, not knowing anything. The film left me ready to find a new experience to take hold of my interest and get me going. For the last 3 weeks I've felt like the lead sinker, a temperament that's holding down something that wants to be light-hearted and float. The part that bothers me most is what this is telling me about myself. I'm actually happy to see that I feel that deeply. I spent a large part of my early life clamping down on feelings. Now I allow them. Sometimes they overwhelm. I try to look at myself psychologically, like expression of neuroses that go back to no telling what. None of it clicks. Then I take a long, hard look at it, I miss TarBaby. I miss the cat that much. I remind myself this intense feeling of loss is shared by about everyone. Everybody I know and perhaps have ever known has suffered from loss at least a time or two. I've found the one's hardest to take are the ones that happen by surprise.

Going along, thinking we have a good rhythm going, then surprise happens. Lots of surprise things happen all the time. I talk with myself about attachment, but that's just part of it. It's most and foremost that TarBaby is my friend, my close friend. We had a connection of understanding I found remarkable and loved, enjoyed the person TarBaby is as I enjoy the person of someone I know, like Jr. It is a strong connection of the spirit. I'm understanding how old people feel, losing ones close to them they've known all their lives. Jr at 87 had a very few people left he's known along the way. The new faces are people he doesn't know. He became a stranger without leaving home, one of the few left of the old generation. I'm moving into that zone of losing my dear ones more and more; some by gradual degeneration, some quick. I'm inclined to believe quick is good. But I don't know.

I don't believe any more in shutting down my feelings. I do in public when it's necessary to keep the peace or avoid looking too much like the dopey fool I am. After I'd moped about all morning and early afternoon, there came a time I said, I gotta get outta this house. I need to get out and ride with the window down, listen to the Flatt & Scruggs tape that came with the car. A Jimmy Martin tape came with it too. Good music for driving anywhere in the mountains. Even better in the flatland for reminder of the mountains. I'm looking at taking off one morning on a drive someplace, leaning strongly toward the Ralph Stanley Museum. I want to see it. I want to go to the country music museum in Bristol too, maybe another trip. Now that I have a good highway car, I want to take some drives. I love driving anywhere in these mountains. It might be a good feel-good thing to do, too. There is nothing like driving on the highway several hours for the mind to ruminate without interruption (radio off) on whatever puzzles are whirling around in that infinite space. It might be a good thing for the mind to have several hours on the road to sort things out.

I have projects I want to do and no motivation to get started at anything. Mortality sits on my shoulders telling me the future is uncertain, absolutely uncertain. Always has been, but nothing like now. My friend Jim Winfield has projects too, but he gets at his. He wants to get a certain amount of things done before he drops off. And I'm of the mind, Going into what we can only see as nothingness, I can't help but want to loosen my attachments to stuff. But it's our relationships with others that make standing upright worth the bother. When it gets down to what the NT is about, I tend to see Jesus telling us how to get along with the people around us, advising that the good life is having friendly relationships with the people we know. That's heaven. They say hell is here on earth. If so, then heaven is too. It's our choice which one we want to go with. It's our own creation. In my case, I'm allowing the sorrow inevitable from loving so much, but would only love more, not less, foreseeing inevitable loss. The sorrow goes with it and that's ok. I've seen sorrow that never lets go. This is not that. This is just the blues.

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