arman, viola d'amour
Meeting someone new here, I'm expected to know as little about the place as the one here less than a year, which makes for delicate tiptoeing until I'm at a place where I have to explain that I don't go certain places and don't know certain people for reasons of my own, what we call history, and everybody who lives around here has their own circles and their own histories. Somebody comes in new and sees none of the network that would look like spider webs going everywhere that the people who live here see as clearly as yellow lines in the middle of the road. I'm recently in such a situation again. Yes, again. So many agains I'm used to it and have learned to address it as soon as possible before it gets into misunderstandings. The deal is, it starts out with misunderstanding, and it's really something to handle, about like a basketball made of jell-o. I do the best I can and let it go. If I piss somebody off, I piss them off. If I don't, I don't. It would not be my intent to, but sometimes it happens, so, whatever.
This never happens when I meet someone from here I didn't know before. Right off we find out who we know in common, who to go to for references, Hey man, tell me about so and so. He's cool. He used to get some of Johnny Wayne's old lady. Oh him! Hell yeah, I remember him. Bout got his ass killt. No shit, he come damn near it. When it's somebody from off the mountain new here, they know people in the church they joined to get to know people. Discovering this, discovering that. Wanting me not to miss out on this great whatever it is, can't be missed, I gotta go see it. There is all this great stuff going on out there in Sparta world I'm missing, wonderful people I need to know, until my mountain back starts going up and I start snorting like Taurus the bull. It closes in on me in a claustrophobic way, pressing in on my space, getting in my face. Then it's time to announce that I am not here to party. I know a lot of wonderful people, I have wonderful friends, I have so many good friends I don't need more. I'm not that brutally abrupt. But I have to be straight forward about it, or it doesn't take.
I have to explain that I came to these hills not knowing where I was going. I was getting away from the past more than I was going to the future. The past was everything that went before, from birth to present. Confusion all along the way. Stepping forward to join the middle class and make a respectable living, I found it was a world I did not want to live in. My resistance to temptation was weak, and I was thinking if I went to the wilderness for a few years I could get in tune with my inner self and live my spiritual path consciously. I came to the mountains to have a go at solitude. In the beginning, it was crazy-making. I couldn't stand too much solitude. Needed knowing people. Needed to work. It took a great many more years for getting in tune with inner self. I don't want to say it if it's not so, but it feels to me over the last few years my inner self and outer self correspond as one. I am happy on the inside. It helps to only see people I particularly enjoy seeing, not just anybody. I don't like being around people who like conflict, or major drama, or being down all the time chanting aint it awful. I don't need any of that in my life. Have had plenty of it in the past. Didn't need it then, don't need it now.
As I've lived on my mountain 35 years, my home has become my spiritual retreat where I stay all the time. I don't need to go someplace for a retreat. It's right here where I am. With my painting, writing, movie watching and having coffee at Selma's, I feel a good balance. Painting and writing is done in solitude. I'm not sure I'd call watching a film solitude. So many films I see as something the director has to say that's worth me paying attention to. It's a kind of communication through an art form. But then, reading is something done in solitude that is the same kind of communication, just another form. Anyway, my social life is at Selma's about twice a week. There, I visit with educated middle-class people from away and many of them read books. Very enjoyable people I like conversation with. It's a different kind of conversation than with my mountain friends. I like both equally.
This last run of inflation with gas prices advancing toward $4 has cut into my essentials. There's not enough to make it all the way through the month now. So I'm having to cut out 4 roundtrips to Woodlawn per month, $15 for gas a trip, $60 for the month, which I need in the last half of the month for groceries. If I can get my trips to Sparta down to two a week, I'll be progressing toward the goal of solitude, plenty of time for painting. Not that my painting is anything special except that I do it to honor the musicians of the area. That's important to me. I'd like to get as many done as I can before it's my time to go with the angel band on their snow white wings. I don't have to even think about somebody carrying it on when I'm gone. What I don't do won't get done. That's ok. This doesn't mean I have to be in a hurry. I want to get more distant from the news, from the way of thinking in the media, from that belief system. It makes a lot more sense to put the time I spend hearing the news into reading scriptures. That is a wholly different feeling. I listen to the radio less while driving, not from willing it, but from not wanting to hear it.
I find I like silence more and more at home. Silence is coming to me on its own instead of me willing it. I like lying in the bed at night with nothing in my mind. I don't have worries that I'm aware of. Of course, there are some, like when am I going to get county taxes paid? I don't worry about my heart, don't worry about 2012. I worry about the republican party having power, taking power again. But not too much. I've become so disillusioned over my adult years, beyond disillusioned, way beyond it. Some people call it cynical, but I see the cynics the people playing the system, George Bush 1 especially. He used to make my skin crawl with his obvious lies, then puking on the Japanese Prime Minister's lap! It's on YouTube if you want to see it. Write in the box: BAD SUSHI. It will take you there. Another of our Texas presidents. YouTube is a gift from above. I am amazed every day at what all is on YouTube. Good reason to stay home. Wanna see Bo Diddley in concert? It's a long list to pick from. It's so much more fun than living to other people's expectations. You know what? When you stop being concerned about other people's expectations, they quit expecting. It's a natural law, like if the cat doesn't run from the dog, the dog won't chase it.