A day of sprinkling rain that started with damp air. The air got thicker with dampness until it gathered into drops and gradually soaked into the ground. No runoff. These are the kinds of rains we like. The water table in the mountains is lowering every day. I read somewhere that the earthquake near Richmond, Virginia, last year, lowered the water table in the mountains a couple of inches. People moving to the mountains where they have a well that draws from the water table, waste water at the same rate they did in the suburbs with a reservoir system. Of course, they know nothing about water from either source. It's just water. It flows out of the faucet and goes down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind. The subdivision up the road from me, higher elevation by a hundred feet or more, using water unconsciously has lowered the water table at my spring to the place the spring only runs water while it rains. All the houses in my part of the mountain are above me in elevation. Their wells are drawing the water that once flowed out my spring. Who will they blame when all the streams around here have dried up and the waterfalls only run when it rains? No doubt, they'll blame the liberals.
I think of it a natural disaster like an earthquake or a war. I can't blame the people who use water as freely as people dump shit in the ocean. They're in unconsciousness that might be called absolute. Their heads are loaded with tv shows, worries about money, wanting things they can't afford. So many people are satisfied with tv, worries and wanting, that it can only be said they're unconscious. I'm not excepting myself, by the way. I don't use water, though, like it comes from nowhere and goes nowhere. When I came to the mountains, I came here to get acquainted with the mountains, to become acquainted with the flora, fauna, with the ground itself. This region of the mountains had not been reduced to rolling lawns yet. I feel the strangeness the old people I've known have felt, gradually being surrounded by a world of people who talk continuously about nothing (that really is an art form), watch television while they're talking, want no input they have to think about or pay attention to, focused on wanting things that money buys, status included. What the mountain people see in the white middle class people overwhelming the mountains (self included) is absence of respect; they exhibit no awareness of respect, certainly not as something important.
I came here to learn the mountains, to feel the mountains, to be one with the mountains, which I've done. I've not met anyone else who came here for the mountains, except in their minds as a Wow, We Have Another Home In The Mountains. As seen on tv. Spending is saving. We have a great view. The realtor was so nice. But there's nothing to do here. Always makes me want to say, There's plenty to do here if you could tolerate being near somebody from the working class anyplace besides Walmart. They'll call me a socialist, because they're always republicans, so I keep my mouth shut and go my own way. I like to keep it up front and clear that I'm an anti-republican. Word goes around quickly and republicans leave me alone, just like Jehovah's Witnesses quit knocking on my door several years ago. That last visit was the best. Usually, I close the door and tell them to keep moving. I let them in, said, You've come to my house to tell me what you believe. I'm going to turn the tables. You've come to my house, so I take it God wants me to tell you what I believe. They ran for their lives and never returned. And I really didn't even get started. Every time I pass their meeting place at Twin Oaks, I thank them in my heart for leaving me alone. They're of that mind, if you don't see it my way, you'll burn in hell. I'm here to save you from infernal damnation.
Makes me want to say, Hail Far, Yeah!! and give them the forefinger-littlefinger salute. They bring out the contrarian within. All I want them to know when they knock on my door is they done started something they don't want to see finish. They acted like they had fallen into the pit of Hades, simply because I made up a way that was like their own but different names. They looked to the elder among them, a guy about my age, who gave them a glance of the eye that said, It's time for us to git. In my head I hear Fleetwood Mac harmonizing, You can go your own way, get thee outta here-ere-ere. I object to their presumption that God wants them to badger other people in their homes, showing how they can quote the Bible and run references like they're the only kind of people God approves of. I respect a preacher and someone from the old-time mountain way who runs references like a pro and can quote an awful lot of scripture, people who got that way from their own self-education, not because it's something to show off that looks good. The old folks around here study at home, like Jesus said, "in your closet."
The Way, whatever name it has, whatever path it is, goes up the mountain; the goal, to reach the top. The Ralph Stanley song comes to mind, On the high, high mountain was a beautiful fountain that shone with the glory of God. Somebody whose path is up the dark side of the mountain has the same goal as someone who climbs the light side of the mountain. It doesn't matter which trail up the mountain anyone goes. The way I see it, if you're looking upward within, you're climbing the mountain. I don't see how it gets anybody anywhere gathering around a leader, who knows no more than you can find out on your own, whose only credentials are that he has a bigger ego. A friend stopped by yesterday and we talked awhile. He was telling me about some church women who had ganged up on another church woman and excluded her, not by words, but by actions. He said, That's not Christian. I said, Yes, it is. He persisted that he knew them to be serious about their love-Jesus group. I automatically said, They're not serious. He bolted, How do you know? (I don't even know these people) I said, If they were serious, they'd do it on their own without the group. The group is social first and love-Jesus 8th or 9th, if at all, whatever the group is. We broke out laughing.
We talked some about group dynamics and individual dynamics in the climbing of one's own interior mountain. Like someone climbing a Himalayan mountain starts with a support group; Sherpas, equipment, cooks, radio operators, medical, etc. The group establishes and maintains the Base Camp. The climber leaves the support group and is on his own, no safety net. First day, he finds a shelf to put a tent on to get him or her, women climb mountains too, through the night where it's way below zero and no heat in the tent. He can make a little canned heat fire, enough to heat water for tea or soup. Next day, up the mountain to the next ledge for a campsite, and carry on up the mountain into the zone of air too thin to live on, the death zone. If a climber stays too long on the top, he may lose consciousness on the way down. The way back is part of the climb too. We do live in this world. It is our home. It's where we can breathe. We return to the world with the fountain of light seen at the top to guide us through the playing field of everyday life, not to brow-beat others with you-gotta, you-needta, you-oughta, you-should. The people who have seen the fountain don't brow-beat anybody about anything. People who want to know about getting there, go for counsel to the ones who have been there.
I remember a "beatnik joke" that was going around sometime in the late 50s, a long monologue about a beatnik wanting to find the guru in a cave high on Mt Kailash in the Himalayas to tell him the meaning of life. He worked his way across the Pacific on a merchant ship, crossed SE Asia along jungle roads on foot to northern India, working for food and a place to sleep at temples along the way, and eventually found the old man's cave. Of course, the old sage had long white hair and beard, and was sitting cross-legged. The seeker asked the guru to tell him the meaning of life. The man in the cave said, "Life is a fountain." The seeker exclaimed in surprise, "Life is a fountain? Is that it? I went through all I went through, travelled half way around the world on foot for you to tell me life is a fountain?" The old feller said, "Ok. Life is not a fountain."