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Friday, May 27, 2011


caterpillar birdwatching

Today's foreign film was English. PINK FLOYD: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon. I had no idea what to expect, and didn't even dare expect. Turned out, it was better than I'd hoped it would be. It amounted to extended interviews with the different musicians and technicians involved in the album, Dark Side of the Moon. My biggest surprise was to see so much time given to Roger Waters, the bass player who left the band that kept on going without him. I don't know anything about his relationship with the others in the band and don't want to know. I don't care. Their music is the only reason I pay attention to them. I've always thought of Pink Floyd as music for space ships.

I enjoyed listening to Roger Waters talk the most of any of them. He had a great deal on his mind and spoke it well. Wrote it well in some awfully good songs too. Also Richard Wright, keyboard, had some very interesting things to say about the music and moments that gave the album some musical peaks, like the chord he borrowed from listening to Miles Davis. Roger Waters played acoustic guitar and sang a few songs. David Gilmore, lead guitar, played acoustic guitar and electric, playing and singing entire songs low fidelity. It had the same kind of feel as the Stones' album STRIPPED, recorded in very small clubs in Amsterdam and Paris. It's lo-fi with Keith Richards playing acoustic guitar, and when he plays electric, it's not the big auditorium sound, but the small blues club sound. It's more like a Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker album than rock.

The lightning, thunder and rain have been going on a couple hours. Bad lightning for the first hour of it. Second hour the lightning is in the distance. First hour, it was all around here, lighting up the night over and over. Still, every once in awhile the sky cracks and thunder rolls. Caterpillar is under the house. She was outside lying on the stone walkway watching the birds dine at the feeder when the rain started. She doesn't bother them anymore, just likes to watch. She's like an old man looking at pornography. It makes her whiskers twitch and draws involuntary squeaks out her. She'll be under the house until the middle of the night when I wake up and go to the door to open it. She'll be there and step into the house with a barely audible voice in her throat that says, Thank you, in cat language. She'll curl up in her bed in the bedroom and stay there all day tomorrow.

I've been trying to think if I recall a time of this much lightning and rain. In the late 70s and early 80s it rained an awful lot. July and August were wet. June was dry. May was wet. But never lightning every night for weeks, vicious, big bang lightning that keeps on keeping on. Two hours of it tonight. It's gone, but an occasional crash of lightning strikes by surprise from time to time. This year, I made it a point to remember that it thundered the 27th of February. We had our last frost then in May. The old lore is that the day it thunders in February is the last frost in May. People with gardens could plan ahead when to plant the garden after the 28th of May. This much lightning is unprecedented in my memory. It has surely happened before, but not in the last 35 years. I welcome all the rain. Bring it on. The ground water has been receding for several years and this year is being replenished. I dug a hole with a posthole digger about 4' deep the other day and the clay was damp all the way down. No danger of my spring drying up this year.

The lightning has become something I dread every night. When it starts, I get anxious inside. This evening I told myself to get in tune with it. As long as I see it and hear it, it hasn't hit me. I unplugged computer and telephone line, sat down, turned out the light with a cup of hot chocolate, listened to the thunder and watched the lightning flashes light up the landscape out the window. I told myself this is nothing to fear. I'll be like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, stand without fear during an artillery invasion and never get hit. There is only a guarantee of making it like that in a movie. I couldn't really rationalize the fear away. When I'd get myself almost convinced it's nothing but a cosmic event, one would bang not very far away to remind me I never know when or where the next one will hit, or the next one, or the next one. Like a horde of zombies walking through a mine field at night, one goes off here, one goes off there, random explosions from any direction.

I like to fantasize myself fearless, like I'm beyond fear. It's not so. A bolt of lightning within a hundred feet of the house can challenge any belief in a hurry. I don't curl up in the corner of a closet physically, but I do emotionally. It doesn't help to remind myself that if I hear it, it hasn't hit me. The one that hits me will give no warning, I won't feel it, just a blink of the eye and it's heavenward bound or getting onboard the boat to cross the river Styx. The funny part for me is that I really deep down believe I'm not afraid of dying. What I'm finding, however, are exceptions to what I take for the rule. What it gets down to is my mind is settled with dying. But the subconscious below or beyond the mind has its own way of seeing things. The body automatically thinks in its interconnected nervous system way of self-preservation, whatever my mind has come to believe.

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