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Saturday, May 19, 2012

GETTING OLD

        joan miro, 1925, siesta


I skipped going to Woodlawn tonight for whatever music was playing. It was a quiet day at home with Caterpillar and no problems. Watched a Spanish film, THE GRANDFATHER. Quite a story. Looked like it might have come from a novel. The story amounts to the old man who took care of a lot of people in the community along the way, helped the church out with big money, was generous with the people around him. In his old age, they become the vultures wanting to shut him up in a monastery, a nursing home for the wealthy, because they wanted his money too. His sorrow in his old age was seeing everyone he had helped along the way position themselves for his leavings. The story amounted to the various people in the film finding opportunities tell every one of them in no uncertain terms they are ethically without any foundation. His daughter-in-law tood the chance to tell him off, he told her off. The tellings off alienated some and drew others to him. He was like a grumpy old character, but he was also not. He'd been abused and had undeniable right to say what he said, which was always more understated than overstated.


His story was an example in a life story of one of the reasons I never wanted wealth. I did not want my friends to be the sort that abandon me when I'm down and out. Hail far, I've been down and out all the way along, so nobody I know as a friend has an eye on my status or money. My friends take me for who I am, as I take them for who they are. Nobody gets any status points for knowing me. That's for sure. It's more like anti-status points you get for knowing me. You don't tell people you know that curmudgeon old crackpot on the mountain without a disclaimer. I love the freedom in having no money beyond skeletal necessity. Nobody rubbing up on me with a cheshire cat grin wanting whatever they perceive in their imaginations could rub off on them. I really love that. Relatives aren't sucking up to me, gathering around like buzzards around a dying buffalo waiting for it to quit breathing. I have no power anyone else would want close to. I've found when I make my own decisions everything flows smoothly, more or less. When I let other people make my decisions, they're never right, what comes of them never has anything to do with where I am on my path. It's the same when I make somebody else's decision.


By this time in my life, I don't let other people make my decisions. It irritates the hell out of some, and that's ok. Whatever it takes. Nobody has a right to make other people's decisions unless for someone in their care who is unable to decide for self. Somebody comes along I've recently met and in a little bit start telling me what I'm going to do, and then I have to tell that what I'm not going to do is what, alas, they intend for me to do. Every time somebody comes along determined to make my decisions, I have to make it clear according to context that I make my own decisons, too bad if you don't like it. I watched very closely while taking care of Jr that I allow him to make all decisions he was able to. I was his servant. I was there to allow him to live by his own power, even when it's so dim as to be no more than the ability to decide whether or not he felt like eating when it was time. Clock time and body time are not always the same. I was never there to rule him for a moment, only to serve. Jr only had one or two buzzards and they went their way after finding no hidden money.


The old boy in the movie, The Grandfather, showed me what a blessing it was for Jr to have a caregiver who was there to help him live by his own decision making as long as he was able. When he became unable, I knew him well enough to anticipate his decisions so I could continue with his flow. I would like to have seen Dean before he went out, but he was in serious hospital in Boone on the verge for quite awhile. I'd been thinking about calling to see if he was home so I could stop by and visit. That was when I saw the yellow Cadillac in the procession. It didn't seem right. It never seems right. Dean is one of the people we need more of on this earth, not less of. So was Jr. So it is with a lot of people. Since I've lived in these mountains I've known some mighty wonderful people, people who don't laugh at basic human values, people who want to be real by their own definition of reality. Sincerity and authenticity matter to the people of the mountains. Dean and Jr were of the generation that is the hair on the tip of the fox's tail, the very end of mountain culture is going away with them.


They are not the end of mountain culture. When someone I know dies, it used to seem a major loss to have a whole lifetime of experience come to nothing in dying. I'm seeing now the soul is having our experiences, the soul is where they register in who we are, individually. It's true to say we are our experiences. If the soul, then, is the repository of our expriences, we carry them with us when the soul leaves the body, or anyway the impressions of our experiences. Like maybe if one dies in a car wreck, he might be somebody next lifetime who refuses to learn to drive a car. That's a conjecture, not putting it down as a rule or guideline. Thinking "out loud," thinking through my fingertips.


I want to read some more Surrealist poetry by people like Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Jacques Prevert, Louis Aragon. Somewhere in the house is an anothology of 20th Century French poetry I will find soon and read some amazing poetry. One I like quite a lot that I'm looking through now is a 1955 edition from Grove Press, edited by Wallace Fowlie. Loaded with poetry so far off the wall it's out in the middle of the room. In my way of seeing, the French and the Americans ruled the world in 20th Century poetry, in very different ways. The French are the heirs of Rimbaud. We are the heirs of Walt Whitman. That Prevert poem I uploaded yesterday woke up that facet of my interest. French poetry has that je ne sait quois that sets French cuisine apart, that je ne sait quois that is French and French alone.        


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