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Thursday, October 13, 2011


       trees of air bellows

This morning I talked with a woman who was recently retired military computer in-charge type role out of Washington DC. She had a brilliant mind. Fast. I was interested talking with her to get a feeling for her vibe coming out of military life in DC, working with computers. Serious computers. We spoke a little bit about politics, cautiously, peripherally, and I mentioned seeing Oliver Stone's film, W., reporting it's a brilliant film. I was beginning to see she bought the package of successful government employee belief system, and we'd best stay away from that subject. She mentioned something about Stone's "spin." To be clear before we went further, I said, "His spin is mine." I liked her, found her alert and, like I said, brilliant. When I meet someone with a good mind, I don't want to waste time on politics. Let's talk about something interesting. She left not long after finding out I'm a lefty. I don't believe it was because of that, because I took her for not of that small a mind. She wasn't. But I wanted to steer her away from politics before it got started. Or at least define where we're coming from.

It's interesting talking with people who are essentially random people from anywhere on earth. The experience with my store helped make me fluent in talking with strangers. It's such a tightrope walk in this time when a conversation between a couple of strangers often amounts to establishing our places on the status ladder. It's rare a man doesn't play rooster games. I actually don't find one gender easier to talk with than the other. It's all about individuals. Some women are open-minded, allowing people, some are shut down control freaks. Same among men. You just don't know who is what until you talk some and establish some points of view. Some people are easy, non-judgmental, relatively uninhibited about allowing true self to be seen, and some are the opposite; judging everything you say, everything you're wearing, behind mask on top of mask on top of mask. In that way, speaking with strangers is a risk, albeit minor as minor gets, setting oneself up for varieties of judgment. How you handle that is don't give a shit. Judging is what people do. Like gossiping is what people do. It's happening in every collection of people. It's the nature of what we're like as people. Judgment is self-undermining, which is why Jesus recommends against it. But if you don't care, go ahead.

And there is something enlightening in a minor way visiting with strangers. Getting to listen to and talk with someone whose experience is different from my own in about every way is a refreshing interlude from habit. Like a French doctor on vacation riding a motorcycle on the Parkway. He was kind of interesting to talk with until his inate superiority apparenlty needed establishing. I turned away and let him talk with whoever would listen. In cities you see strangers everywhere you go. The strangers here are people passing through or new in the county. It's interesting to talk with someone from Michigan passing through who played acoustic guitar and sang with Wade Mainer in Michigan, in Mainer's old age. I like to allow the person not from here to talk as much as they like. I like to hear people tell me their stories. It's a form of movie. I started to say an audio form of movie, but the visual is there too, the story teller. I love it that every person has thousands of stories that are their own. Every one a valid and good story. I don't mind when they're embellished with lies. That's part of human nature to make ourselves look better than we think we look. It's the self-serving nature of the subjective, which makes the subjective so unreliable for fact finding, but great for story telling.

The leaves have about peaked here at Air Bellows. The colors are full and vibrant. Yellows, oranges and reds mixed with plenty of greens. We haven't had a freeze yet. Like last year, they are turning without the frost that I believed started them turning. Temperatures at night have only been to 38 or 39 when it's below 40. Who knows what the trees know? This weekend past was perhaps the weekend for peak colors for the people who drive to the mountains to see the leaves. This coming weekend might be better. I doubt it. Right now is as good as it gets here on the mountain. Down the mountain it's less colorful. The next couple weeks will be beautiful colors and spaces opened up that all the leaves obscured. We'll soon be able to see through the trees again. Then the trees will be gray lines on white snow, like a pencil drawing on white paper. I'm imagining this next week will be the peak all over the county. It's beautiful landscape to drive through. 


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