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Sunday, September 12, 2010


air bellows barn

The barn in the picture was built by Tom Pruitt. Cut the trees, hauled the logs to Whitehead to old man Richardson's sawmill that Jr Maxwell was operating. Tom cut the wood. Jr sawmilled it, and Tom built it. Barns all over the mountains have fallen down. This one continues to stand. It's a good place for the cats. I keep the doors firmly closed. There is nothing inside that hasn't already been taken. What's left is old wood. The upstairs would make a good meditation place. It's a special structure for me. Two men I've known well enough that they told me their lives over time created this little barn. I've felt partial to it because Tom built it, and then all the more when I learned Jr sawmilled the wood. These men were my teachers who taught me the culture and Jr taught me a great deal about the music. Neither one of them knew they were teaching. They were just talking. I was paying attention.

Yesterday was cold and wet, today warm and clear. The cats spent all day outside. I don't know where they go, but it's not far from the house and not far from a hiding place. I don't know what kind of catfood to get for them. Whatever I put down, Caterpillar will go to it, look at it and walk away. In the night when she's hungry and can't hold out being particular any more she'll nibble at it. It's that way with wet or dry catfood. Her weight testifies that she's eating something. Last week at Food Lion I was talking with a woman at the catfood display. I asked her if her cats were peculiar about eating. Lord yes! We exchanged stories of how our cats turned peculiar at the same age. Her cats were 13 yrs old too. She was doing like I do, buy different varieties, but nothing satisfies them.

They don't even catch mice any more. Tapo and Caterpillar have come into a wary stillness since TarBaby has been gone. After he'd been away a couple months there came a day they realized he wasn't coming back. I could see their sorrow in the way they walked and looked at each other. Going outside for them now is an adventure in wariness. Only a couple days a week are free of a dog or dogs the other side of the door. On a day without dogs they creep outside and disappear all day. On days with dogs they stay inside all day and go out at night.

I'm in a time of realizing I'm getting older, infirm, not as able as before for just about anything.
I'm learning why older people drive slower. We don't want to drive too fast for our slow responses. Sometimes I'll be driving along and 50 will feel on the verge of out of control. There are times it feels like it takes all the attention I have to keep it in the road. I saw a billboard years ago on the interstate around Spartanburg announcing to drivers that your guardian angel isn't watching after age 65. I didn't believe it then. Still don't believe it. But something does happen around that time where driving is concerned. For me, it's like having to pay much closer attention than before. I paid attention before, but now it takes double the effort to have the kind of attention I had before. It's all right. Natural process.

My guardian angel hasn't gone away. I feel closer to God than ever. That far outweighs faltering attention, forgetting, seeing a thought fade away. My mind is relaxed, my heart is weak yet overflowing. This time of looking at mortality in the mirror is perhaps the most interesting time of my life. I never know if I'll make it through the night or through the day, and prefer to live as if it's not an issue. In the passing of spirit from body, I feel like that will be so interesting I won't even think of coming back for any reason.

Once that line is crossed it won't matter if I take medication on time or avoid huffing and puffing. It won't matter if vegetarian or carnivore. It won't matter if somebody pisses me off or if I piss them off too. I suspect crossing that line will be like opening a door, seeing brilliant inviting light and perhaps a host of angels. Gloryland. When doctor talks to me about avoiding death, I understand what he's saying, but come away thinking we have different ways of seeing leaving this world. This world is not the ultimate, the only, for me. It's a schoolhouse for learning. Avoid learning and you miss much that this world has to offer. Like Jr said, It aint the world that's crazy. It's the people in it.

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