Google+ Followers

Saturday, November 30, 2013

FUNERAL RITES

alban berg quartet

I put on some Dvorak quartet music by the Alban Berg Quartet. I heard the ABQ driving home from town yesterday. They were coming on with a 30 minute piece just as I was driving up to park at home. In the house, I turned the radio on right away, and ABQ played for almost an hour. I have several ABQ cds, the ones I love most are the Dvorak quartets. While they were playing String Quartet in E flat, Op 51, I was sitting here just a few minutes ago thinking I'd like this to be played at my funeral. This and nothing else. If it plays out, play it again. No preacher. No singing. No announcements. My Bose sitting atop the closed cardboard casket on two sawhorses playing Dvorak by ABQ. Have a seat. Sit as long as you like. This is music I never tire of hearing. Dvorak by ABQ is some of the only music besides mountain music that can make me shed tears for the beauty of it. The song that made me weep the first time I heard it was Jascha Heifitz playing violin in Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. It threw me down onto the couch weeping. Only time that has ever happened. It's beauty wrung me out. Dvorak quartets bring tears of joy to my eyes. Especially with Alban Berg Quartet's crisp, clean edge. Back in the years discovering some classical music after high school, I found I was drawn to quartets way more than orchestras. A big bombast orchestra makes me want to go home. I like hearing the individual instruments, in ABQ's case, two violins, a viola and cello. Don't you love it when you buy a cd and the liner notes are in English, German and French.
 
alban berg quartet
 
I'm laughing at myself. Earlier, when the thought came about Dvorak at the funeral, I told myself with grandmotherly counsel, don't write about that. Then I did. The teenager that's going to do what he wants to do anyway. Arrested development. I don't have any problem thinking about such a thing as my own funeral. It's not important and it is important. It's not important to me unto totally nothing. I don't even think past my last day, because I don't want to entertain illusory notions that I can control circumstances after I'm gone. I don't want to control any circumstances but my own while living. Can't imagine wanting to control anything after I've left the body. The funeral is a ceremony in a quiet way over somebody who left the body. I don't worry over the cold grave or the crematory fire. Best to get rid of that old mortal frame before it gets nasty. I know for genealogists of the future a gravestone makes their research easier. But I'm thinking I'll let the death record in the courthouse be my tombstone. I'd like cremation and the remains thrown on the ground in the woods. Be done with it all. I do not agree with our Egyptian way of mummifying a corpse and keeping it in an underground vault. I always remember the time at the table with Jr Maxwell and Jean Phillips. Jean was making her case for why she wanted to be buried. I made my case for cremation with brevity, I want to be fertilizer. Jr said, Y'already are. How could I not miss somebody who could tell me that and not make me mad, but make me bend over laughing? I miss both of them every day.
 
lights
 
I don't like to make Thanksgiving pronouncements of what I'm thankful for. It's like asking me what my favorite song is. All I can say is, What? Like New Years resolutions. I quit that a long time ago. It's a fun thing to think about when you're young, and then you find out there is nothing to it. You can't keep a resolution a week. And so what? If I want to make a resolution, it will be any time of the year. New Years is probably the worst time to make a resolution, because it comes from outside self instead of inside self. Or it could go all the way back to Neolithic. I saw several different people on facebook told briefly what they were thankful for. I'm grateful, thankful, that the fires associated with global warming have not started in these mountains yet. Nobody wants to hear that sitting around the table at grandma's house when everybody is supposed to be happy and you're supposed to act like you're on tv and in church at the same time, only say happy things. Wha'd'ya gonna do? Watch football on tv. What else? I did all that with my friends. We didn't talk about global warming or boycotting Walmart. Justin had killed the black coyote. It hit the ground dead. He showed it to me in the back of his pickup. First coyote I've seen up close. A female. What a beautiful dog, was all I could say. We agreed we'd both like to have a dog that looked just like that coyote. We remarked at how they look like a cross between a fox and a wolf. I said a prayer for its soul inwardly. Whether anybody else thinks that's important, I don't care. I do. I was the one there. So the coyote got it's soul prayed for. It had such a beautiful face I wanted a dog with that face. Maybe in Gloryland she will be one of my pets.    
 
blue jays in the snow
 
I'm remembering Jr living up to his last day believing he was going to get better, recover and be ready to go again. To talk about dying was of no interest to him. I didn't do any of the hospice counseling about dying, nor any of the religious thing about God and hereafter. I knew Jr was in touch with God. He was like me in that he didn't like to talk about it, because there wasn't anything to talk about. Like me, he saw it in living your life every day. I didn't have to talk to him about making him see God the same way I do. He had his own vision. I don't recall that we ever had a conversation about him dying. He didn't feel like there was anything to say. I didn't either. He had his will in order and that was the only thing important. One time he said to me he didn't know if he was going to heaven or hell. I said, Hell wouldn't have ye. He looked at me for a moment with an eye that was looking to see if I was being smart with him, and he saw it. A smile came over his face. I meant he has too much light in him. I told him he'd bounce offa hell like spit off a hot skillet. I didn't feel like Jr needed any counseling on dying and everlasting life and making a drama of it. He wanted to slip on out and that was what I wanted for him. It's what I want for myself. I don't want a preacher asking me if I've received the Lord as my personal savior. I'd be laying there on my bed thinking, What the hell's it to you? Get out of my face. Let me be in peace. Very first thing upon Jr's soul vacating the body, I was asked by the ones who had come to the house if he was saved. I told them he was  baptized where the bridge is now in Whitehead by where the old mill once stood. Women on the phone. The one who kept the church record found the date he was baptized. All knew you had to be saved before you can be baptized. All were relieved for Jr. Everyone relaxed, the big question answered.
 
seen over alleghany county
 
 
 
*
 

Friday, November 29, 2013

STAND BY YOUR FRIENDS



It's amusing that in Thanksgiving cartoons the turkeys are always brown wild turkeys. The turkeys in the oven today were white turkeys raised in huge factories where the turkeys are raised in boxes called buildings, fed by machine, gathered by machine, killed by machine, and made into the bare-skinned blob in the grocery store meat department by machine. Instead of showing wild turkeys in the cartoons, why not use one of the grocery store featherless corpses in the cartoons? This is the only way we know the turkeys. Almost nobody knows what the turkeys go through from birth to death, and don't want to know. Out of sight, out of mind. Don't want to know because it will spoil the Thanksgiving dream. I've heard it said that if you take a tour of a hot dog factory, you'll never eat another hot dog. That can probably be said of all food processing factories. I don't eat canned food much, except in restaurants, because they are so laden with salt, such that I'm eating spinach-, bean- or corn-flavored salt. I don't like to be too particular about such details in food. To be so particular, I'd have to move to a city that has a big farmer's market, live nearby and consume only fresh vegetables. I don't want to live in a city and don't want to get that involved in cooking. Cooking is not my art form. I eat whatever is before me. I figure people have lived on meat from the beginning of humanity. We've survived it thus far. I'm not going to edit what I eat by reading the ingredients list of unpronounceable words starting with xyz that tell me the product is lethal. I take it for granted and take it for the nature of the world I live in. Don't like it, must accept it.   
 
 
Finally, by noon today, the temperature had risen to about 35 degrees from 14 degrees it went down to in the night. The donkeys and the calves are lying down, full sides to the sun, thawing out their bones. It may take all day. The day's full sunlight must feel good to them after last night's bitter cold--it had wind in it, too, wind full of air dragons. Down here in my little valley between ridges, air dragons seldom fly through. Late in the day I went to a neighbor's house across the road and on the ridge where the wind blows freely. I was in the kitchen area and heard the sound of the glass storm door like somebody had opened and closed it. I looked. Nobody there. The corner of the house creaked at the same time. I realized it was an air dragon. I heard several roar through while I was there. The air dragons seem to like it up on top of the ridge where they can fly eel-like through the barren trees, then *BAM* into the side of a house. I visualize the air dragons something like what we call dust devils. In the summer on a dry dirt road, occasionally the wind will whip up a miniature tornado that goes spinning along the road surface a ways, and it's gone. I'm seeing air dragons spontaneously stirred up, swirling through the air maybe a few hundred feet, then flying apart. Or flying into the side of a house like a bird flies into a window.



The temperature has been so bitter cold that outdoors is good where it is. I was glad for the donkeys the meadow beside the house breaks the wind for them when it comes in from the west like it did the last few days and nights. I'm glad they had a good day of sun with temperature above freezing to dry out from the rain before the temperature drop. Marsha told me not to be concerned about them keeping warm. Marsha is my contact for horse nature. Wednesday morning I went into Farmer's Hardware for a Christmas present and some turpentine. Sat with Marsha in the back of the store with the coffee pot and we talked about horses and donkeys for an hour or more. Marsha is also my contact now with the old-time mountain culture that is going away with the wind. These were our subjects we could have gone on all day talking about. I enjoy conversation with Marsha. She knows these mountains and the mountain ways as somebody who has paid attention with appreciation, seeing it slip away in sorrow, We talked much of our own particular appreciations of these mountains and old way of life. It is hard for both of us to see a society that once was truly classless be swept aside by the country clubs and middle class people moving in here, making the mountain people the working class, the people on the wrong side of the tracks. The same happened to the Tibetans when China took over Tibet and moved people from overcrowded cities in eastern China to Tibet where they outnumbered the Tibetans that stayed behind instead of leaving for refugee camps in India. The Tibetans in their own land are the lower class out of sight, like the American Indian, like the Australian Aborigine. And now the mountain people are becoming outcasts in their own homeland.



I don't believe I'll ever get over seeing my friend Harold Hayes disrespected, talked to like a dog by an urban Florida woman who thinks living here is such a good place to raise the kids. I've fallen into the weave of life in a community where you have to be careful who you talk about, because it might be somebody's cousin or sister or aunt or grandson. In the mountain way, I don't like seeing my friends disrespected. I take it the same as it happening to me. Harold and I have a special bond. He was one of my friend Jr Maxwell's closer friends. He played bass in Jr's bluegrass band, The Green Mountain Boys, for several years. Harold appreciated that I took care of his friend Jr in his last year unto his dying. Our handshakes are the same as a hug. Harold is in his 80s and does not understand political correctness. Doesn't even know what it is. He has some nutty ideas about political subjects that everybody knowing him accepts as "that's Harold." The people I know who know Harold have a deep affection for him. He's a good example of what I call a good man. All the way around. Wherever I am when I see Harold, I stop and visit with him. He speaks to me by a different name every time I see him. He can never remember a name, so he makes one up and that's your name for now. Then you get people who are insulted because he can't remember their name. I always plead his case. I suppose, to put it simply, Harold is someone who cares about the people he knows. And the people he knows care about him. I'm one of the people who cares about Harold. To see him disrespected is hard for me.



I'm of the attitude that where my friends are not welcome, I am not welcome. It takes me back to the day I came up with my maxim for living in the mountains: Anybody too good for a Pruitt is too good for me. A Pruitt, here, can be anybody of these mountains, anybody not considered on the social ladder. It has served me well using this rule of thumb to identify people to stay away from. My maxim applies to mountain people generally. I've been told a few times I'm wasting my time with people of no consequence. It only makes me laugh and think: there's nothing psychic about you. I've been told it would be to my benefit to pay more attention to the exurbanites moving into the mountains. Again: not very psychic, are you? It amazes me when somebody who doesn't know you at all starts telling you what's best for you, what's right for you, A Rolling Stone lyric comes to mind, "I'm giving you a piece of my mind, there's no charge of any kind." What do you say?, Yeah, thanks--What do I owe you? The way accent crept into my voice after years of living among people of a certain accent, various aspects of the culture have rubbed off on me. One aspect is standing by your friends. It runs all over me to see someone I regard a friend disrespected, someone I respect about the highest. I have a hard time respecting somebody who disregards Harold for not knowing the new people require political correctness in your language, just like in church. I can't help but think anybody too good for Harold is too good for me. My friends are my friends for multiple good reasons.

 
 
*

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DONKEY KICK DANCER

jenny and jack

Feeling kind of wound up today. Tried to take a nap and it didn't take. Nothing special about the day except it's twenty degrees outside and about a half an hour of freezing rain an hour ago. I'm wondering how the donkeys and the calves are working out the shelter of the donkey den. I've an idea the calves were the first ones in the den and possibly donkeys next. I might be romanticizing. They all might have stood in the raining ice, though I doubt it. My feeling is that in extraordinary circumstances, all four would fit in there more or less comfortably. Like at a watering hole and a bait pile, the animals seem to declare those places safe zones where nobody attacks anybody, except the crocodiles with a brain the size of a pea. Possibly the calves and the donkeys could snuggle in there together for the warmth especially. Every day I'm raking out the night's leavings by the calves. It's not much. It's frozen making it easy to rake. I don't want them having to sleep in a toilet. It's something I can do to make the going a little easier for them. They know each other very well. They share the meadow. Raking out the shed is a good chance to visit with my friends. I see the fur on the donkeys is thicker than not long ago. The calves have thicker fur too. I've seen calves and cows packed into stalls in stockyard situations and they manage to find their own space. On a cold night, I imagine they are making the best of it. I think about going out to take a look with a flashlight, but don't want to disturb them. By now, they're in place and possibly sleeping.
 
jenny and jack
 
I felt Jack's hoof today. He kicked me thinking he was kicking Jenny. I barely felt it, merely a tap on my right hand. I was a bit surprised, because I didn't believe Jack would kick me. He didn't. I happened to step between them at the same time they swung their ass ends to each other. Each one had a bowl of grain. They get jealous over their grain and the carrots. I thought I had the bowls far enough apart to avoid a kick dance. Another time Jenny was feeling the pocket of my shirt, and bit the flap sticking up from it. I let out a yelp and she pulled her head back. They talk to each other with a grunt kind of sound that says, get back. I've been watching their kicks and they've looked like little more than light jabs, their way of saying, don't get too close. It's only when I take them the grain and carrots, or when it's just me. They both come to me, then they're right there together, each one wanting to be number one, then the dancing starts. Grunts and kicks. I've been thinking if one of them kicked me during one of their kick dances, it probably wouldn't hurt much. It looks like they're fairly lightly touching each other. It's a swift move of the leg, but I'm seeing that the force stops at the time of contact. Jack kicking my hand today gave a measure of what the kick dance is like. I felt like he'd let go of the force of the kick just at contact. And I don't think it was because he recognized at the last split second he was kicking me, not Jenny. It's a light sparring they do. The kicks are not to hurt, just a gesture, speaking without words. Acting out.
 
jack and jenny
 
I feel more at ease among them now. I'm not so apprehensive about getting kicked. I've seen the subtle control they have with their legs. They know every grade of kick from a tap to sending you over the moon. I've seen Jenny lay into Jack with both back feet making a loud slap on his ribs. He didn't even blink. He took it like a tree. If she'd kicked me like that, I'd have gone flying ten feet and landed on my face in Jack's manure pile . I'm still not certain about Jenny when she turns her back end to me. I step out of the way. I don't move away anymore when Jack turns his rear to me. I've not had a chance yet to know Jenny as well as I know Jack. Jack and I were friends for a few months when he was in the meadow alone. The arrival of Jenny put Jack on another planet for awhile. He is back now. The friendship we had before is still with us. Though it's a new Jack. The Jack I know now is Jack the stallion. Before Jenny, Jack was a boy. Now Jack is a man. Jacques le Baudet. He seems like he is under a bit of horse stress having a woman to keep his eye on. He feels very strongly toward Jenny. It's a domination obsession he has with her. Some days he looks so stressed I think of Mike Tyson's face after years of getting battered by powerful men. I've seen Jack look like he'd  been kicked all over the head. He had that dazed kind of look I see in Tyson's eyes. There are times he seems worn out from the stress of dominating Jenny. She's bigger than him, and she's no easy one to kick around. Jack's happy with his woman. And I'm happy with my donkeys. Both are good natured, have intelligent minds, and make good friends.
 
jenny
 
I feel better for Jack now that he has his partner. Their marriage was arranged by chance. One day Jenny's name was Daisy and she had a happy life living with some goats and some humans that took good care of her. Three humans showed up in a truck and a trailer, wrestled Daisy into the trailer she did not want to go into. She rode up the mountain of endless curves, was released, it almost dark, and this buck donkey was suddenly on her back. She took off running, saying, I don't even know you. Jack right behind her saying, Stand still and you will. She says, What kinda donkey you think I am? Jack says, A babe--I love you baby--be still a minute. They are so Ottoman. They make me think of the pasha, or whatever he's called, reclining on enormous cushions with his belly dancer slave who dances for him and no one else. Treat her man right and he's the best protection she could have. Leo Tolstoy raped his wife on their wedding night and freaked her out about sex with him the rest of their lives. Jack has taken Jenny for his own. She goes along because he can break her down if she declines his attention. This is neither matriarchal nor patriarchal what they're doing. It is pre human by a long stretch of evolution. They are not that far away in consciousness. The consciousness of humans is only one great leap in consciousness from the four-leggeds. That's our fore-brain, our blessing and curse in one department of the brain's evolution. Put verbal language aside and they are right here with us. They have a complex language of reading eyes, body language, even grunts and other vocal utterances, and telepathy that we've lost the ability to pay attention to and have to relearn it. I like to make contact with a consciousness the other side of the forebrain divide. I don't think they are like us as much as we are like them. I don't mean details of behavior, because that is species specific, but the consciousness that transcends biology.

donkey jenny
 
 
*
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

OUT OF THIS WORLD

 
 
It's a week of JFK review every time I turn on the radio. I don't listen to it. Fifty years later, we're getting the official mythology. That part is interesting, but it's the samo-samo. It's interesting to see the official version told like in school where we don't question, we take notes toward the test. I found the emphasis on Oswald curious. The temperament of the South in that time was incendiary about Kennedy for the same reasons the republican ku kluxers are openly wanting to pop a cap in Obama. American racism is a powerful force. Then, it was a dynamic force. It is not something you go up against lightly. Obama has corporate cover. Kennedy did not. My sorrow for my country regarding the coup that killed Kennedy is that I mark the date the last day of democracy in America. I see it the beginning point of the corporate police state that rules us now. I've not heard anything about the Warren Report Part 2 that was held in time capsule for fifty years. It's fifty years. We already know it has nothing new. Or if it does, it will go through censorship before it is published in book form for the libraries all over the land and the paperback racks in grocery stores and drug stores. It has about as much chance of spilling the beans as the official 9/11 report. The difference is, then, they didn't know democracy was over. Now, we're well into police state, television the ring in our noses. When propaganda central becomes reality itself after more than half a century, the false becomes true and ignorance becomes knowledge. More and more I hear talk and see articles about the downhill run on greased skis in the dumbing down of America process that is going faster than ever now. I never hear anything about television hypnosis, violent attitudes, intolerance of the other, whoever the other may be, casual attitudes about killing.
 
 
 
This is the America I have seen come about in my lifetime. I got in on the tail end of democracy. I got in on the end of the Old South, and the tail end of mountain culture. Even saw the tail end of the big band era. USA has become something set on self-destruction. It's a skyscraper made of imaginary playing cards and everybody wants to watch it fall on tv. I'm grateful my intuition throughout this lifetime has kept me out of political involvement. The world of politics is every bit as vain, fickle and self-important as Hollywood. Both are about money only. I don't believe anything I hear anymore. Again, I'm reminded that the people near and dear to my heart deserve more attention than the world of lies. It makes me want to go outside and work on the donkey den, enjoy that the donkeys are unaware of the collective mental construct that occupies the human mind with nonsense the humans take for reality. Donkeys are free of that thinking. Right and wrong doesn't concern them. They live in the present moment. No fear of the future, no regret of the past. They have memory, they are conscious, they have mind to think with. I've learned this from dogs and cats I have known. I see the same consciousness in donkeys. I look into an eye when I talk to one of the donkeys and see right away they get what I said. Yesterday, I was talking to Jack. I told him I'd love to have the experience of riding him. He listened like he was in agreement--he'd like me to ride him too. I said, but I don't want to hurt your back with my weight. Jack snorted and bobbed his head. It felt like he was saying, thanks for the consideration.
 
 
 
I feel so much better in the meadow with the donkeys than I do hearing the daily soap opera called the news. Every day updates the collective mental construct. I have a friend who went into a monastery in the 1950s and came out in the late 1980s. He was lost. He left the world in the Age of I Love Lucy and returned in the Age of Beavis and Butthead. He was a long time adjusting. It was a different culture. By the time he understood it enough to be more or less comfortable in it, he went back to the monastery, happy to be back. I have chosen for my path close involvement in what we call the world. The spiritual path is about living in the world of humanity. Like the Dalai Lama said, we live so close together we have to get along. Seems to me the spiritual path is about living at peace among other people who are not necessarily at peace in themselves. We represent every level of consciousness, every level of intelligence, every degree of emotion. Of course it's difficult for us to get along well together considering how radically different from each other we are. Like in a herd of zebras, if they can't get along with each other, they can't function as a herd, their defense, their security. We function in herds, too, for security. There is really no way to live among countless other humans, each of different experiences, different belief systems, different musical tastes, different educational levels, different degrees of compassion, different levels of tolerance. Scriptures from every religion give sound counsel on living in a world of other humans; honesty, humility, forgiving, generosity, unconditional love.
 
 
 
Then the scriptures get hardened into rules and regulations by the human mind. Punishment and killing become justified by scripture. American whiteman genocide of the native Americans was justified by scripture the same as slavery was justified by scripture. I look for the path of being in the world, not of the world. I'm fine with being in it. I know a lot of enjoyable people, have some good friends, good memories, good music, art, good reading. I have friends in the world of the four-leggeds as much of the heart as with two-legged friends. Of the world, I think of as climbing the money and influence ladder, serving self-interest, ego. It leads to an old man in a roadside diner asking people at a nearby table what they think of Obamacare. It leads to a lifetime of acting out a false persona. Of the world takes me down, down, down. In the world takes me up. I read a play by Harold Pinter and feel elevated inside experiencing art in a pure form, not produced by corporate formula for box office. If the world around me is satisfied with television for intellectual and spiritual input, I'm of a mind to be free to regard it what they want for themselves. They allow me what I want for myself. This is how I live in the world, not of it, by allowing others to follow their own light, and allowing myself to follow my own light. Not wanting money has been a great assist for not getting hooked by the world of wanting more. I'm enjoying wanting less in this time of the life. I'm thinking that wanting is the greatest hook of all. Not wanting, I truly feel a degree of peace of mind.
 
 
 
 
*

Friday, November 22, 2013

DONKEY DEN OPENING

jenny says come on in

donkey jen in her kitchen

donkey jack looking in 
 
 
This was another learning day. I put hay on the ground of the donkey den thinking it might make a nice place for the donkeys and calves to lie down on the cold ground. I was reminded how far equine behavior is from any animal behavior I'm acquainted with. They are fully aware. I think of Jonathan Swift's, Gulliver's Travels. I look into their eyes when I speak to them and they have shown me time after time they understood what I was saying. My relationship with them is about like it would be with two big dogs too big to let in the house. Marsha Wagoner told me in the beginning they are like dogs in many ways. I know Jack very similarly to how I know a dog. The first counsel Tom Pruitt gave me about working with animals was to talk to them. He said they like to be talked to. Jack and Jenny are settled down in their understandings of each other. They are well acquainted now. They can stand side by side with me there and not go into kicking fits. It means I can feel safe in the meadow among them. Jenny is not completely broken by Jack. My impression is that she doesn't think a great deal of this male domination activity that has forced her sumission. At the same time, she's not too annoyed. She's not in love with Jack, but he's a friendly feller. Jack is playing out his stallion role and Jenny is playing out her mare role that goes all the way back to North Africa a very long time before humans were throwing spears. Donkeys have walked with humans since the first stirrings of civilization in Africa. They like us in the same way dogs like us. It's such a natural attraction it seems genetic.



jenny in the new den
 
southern living donkey den
 
I think about questions such as how donkeys, equus africanus asinus, spread from northeastern Africa to the entire earth as a beast of burden. A month or so ago I rented a French film, Au Hazard Balthazar,  a life story of a donkey from being raised a pet by children, then sold for a beast of burden, sold again. Nobody treated the donkey right, but every once in awhile the donkey got a bit of a break. I couldn't stand it for the donkey and turned it off not far into it. I was seeing Jack mistreated in my mind's eye multiplied by all the donkeys in the world down through all history that humans have used  for nothing in return but a shelter and something to eat. And many donkeys have had a good life. They have as wide a variety of possibilities living among humans as we do living among one another. I want these donkeys during their time in my care to have happy lives, comfortable on a donkey's terms. The day's great learning was how silly it was to put a bed of hay in the den for them to lie down on. The two calves found it and started eating. They spent the night sleeping on it. All day they grazed on the hay inside the den, shitting on it, pissing on it. I had not foreseen the need for a pitchfork and took the rake to clean out the mess the calves made of all the hay. Jenny didn't want to pick up any of it. The calves had ruined it. I raked the hay out with the droppings. They put back everything they ate. I saw that keeping the dirt floor in there cleaned regularly is what I do from  here on. That's ok. I like participation with the donkeys and calves. I like the scent in there. I like barnyard scent near the house. I'd like chickens, but too many coyotes and dogs roam around here.  
 
donkey jack
 
donkey jen
 

I'm converting this little shed to a stable, a donkey den, to give the donkeys a place to get out of the weather in winter especially. I built it for a chicken house in my first summer here, 1977. Had chickens for ten years until too many dogs came in and keeping chickens became a problem. I didn't want to kill all the dogs, so eventually they killed all the chickens and I gave up chickens. In the old way they killed a dog that killed chickens, but the mountain is an exurb now and different rules apply. Tom Pruitt has been gone from the mountain several years, more than twenty, leaving me as the old man of the mountain, the keeper of the mountain. It's a role I take seriously in my heart. I was looking at the donkey den while taking pictures of it, thinking this old-time way of having a dirt-floored shed for the stock, a meadow with two donkeys and two calves, is keeping the old hillbilly style alive surrounded by subdivisions. I feel like my great grandmother whose farm was initially out in the country, a long ways from the city, surrounded by houses as far as you can drive in an hour any direction. She got her water from a hand pump in the ground behind the house. She kept a milk cow and chickens, had apple trees. From the street, her house, the original house in the area, was just another house in a continuous line of houses. The last time I saw her, she was sitting on her porch swing. I sat beside her and we talked. She was in her dementia, then senility, and took me for my uncle Sonny. I did not correct her. It didn't matter who she thought I was, she forgot a few seconds later. Grandpa gave me all kindsa hell when I told him I sat with her and let her think I was Sonny. He took it I was making fun of her when I was not. I couldn't explain it, a totally inarticulate teenage boy with red hair and freckles. I let grandpa believe what he had to believe.
 
donkey jen
 
donkey jen
 


 I suppose for the exurbanites inhabiting the mountain now, I'm the old turd of the mountain from another time, like Tom was for the generation before. I'm connected with the history of the mountain, knew people born here, who went to school in my house, who worked the fields here, who hunted in the woods and made liquor in the woods. The road once a gravel road and before that a wagon road for horses and walking. Before that, a walking and a horse trail. And before that, a hardwood forest for so many thousands of years it runs into multiple millions. I have a couple of spear points I found nearby from 4,000 to 8,000 years ago. I feel like they are my contact with the people of this mountain that go way back, with the mountain itself. In my first year, I suddenly had some chickens I did not anticipate and needed to build a shed for them over a weekend. Finished it in three days. I went to Tom Pruitt and asked him how to put up a shed. He told me about planting four posts for corners, connect them across the top and the bottom with a board, and nail vertical boards to them. He told how to frame the roof. I went home and did it. I wanted to learn the old-time ways and this project was a good beginning. Tom told me to get the used wood from an old shed we had recently dismantled. The wood of this donkey den was sawmilled on this mountain, on the Caudill farm, which my land was once a part of. I feel like the donkey den is one of the remaining living traces of the hillbilly way of life.   
 
donkey jack waits outside
 

donkey jen says see ya round
 
 
*
 
      
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ROB COPELAND FACEBOOK FRIEND

new facebook face
 
Facebook has become a part of my life, and it has become a part of the lives of several people I know and people I don't know. I even have facebook friends I don't know. Not many. I'm not one to collect facebook friends like autographs in the high school annual. I prefer just people I know. An awful lot of my facebook friends are people I call friends out in pre-cyber world. I don't have the greatest, longest list of friends there is, but when I look at the list with pictures of my facebook friends, I think they are really neat people individually. I feel rich in the people I know. Again, not numbers, but fullness of caring. It's taken a long time for me to fall into the flow of writing comments that are more than a few words. Sometimes I'll write a paragraph in the comment box. I like about facebook too, that I have become acquainted with some folks I think are cool people, people who think about things, who see fresh perspectives, both visually and conceptually. I've recently become friends with a guy in NYC from Chester, Virginia, outside Richmond, who has been taking b&w photographs of New York with his cell phone. They are gorgeous photographs. Color pictures too. He gets the curved reflection on a bus windshield of buildings across the street, and through the reflection can be seen the driver's open side window framing a section of the same building  without distortion, inside the windshield reflection. I like that he leaves somewhere a clue to help you see that the image is the back window of a car, or the roof of a car, the hood.

rob copeland
 
To go straight to the point and not beat around the metaphorical bush, I love everything about Rob's photographs. Every detail. The compositions I see first. Then, looking at the composition, the details take over and pull the eye deeper into the picture. For my eye, this picture above of a Manhattan street satisfies my eye all the way in the distance to the last trace of the buildings. It's perspective he plays with in a lighthearted surrealist way. Surrealism was originally lighthearted. Rob's images have a lightness that makes them float in place. I'm not trying to sound fancy. It's the best I can put into a few words what I feel visually in his photographs. Each one exists on its own. It's like it has its own existence. This is the quality I call art. I've seen so many by now that when I see a movie filmed in contemporary New York, it becomes a story Rob's photographs illustrate. His visual appreciation of Manhattan is there with Woody Allen's. Rob's photographs catch a glimpse of personality in the city. In my own experience, I sometimes like to make close up photos of donkey faces, looking for a portrait that gives a sense of the donkey's personality, same as I do getting a portrait of a person I know. In a lot of the donkey pictures, the eyes somehow express the personality. Jenny's eyes are so alive in photographs I tend to speak to her like her consciousness is there. This is what I mean about Rob's photos glimpsing the personality of New York City, day and night, cars, people, architecture, compositions found in pavement, stairways, subways. His pictures somehow depict a living presence I find unusual. He is making quite a catalogue of strikingly beautiful images of the city, new ones every day, contemporary as it gets.

ai wei wei

 Rob posts the day's new pictures on facebook every day. I love to go through them, image to image, the day's catch. He plays with the art of the reflection, the art of the shadow, the art of the blur. Other photographers, of my limited experience, sometimes will use a reflection in a larger image, but I've never seen anybody make an art form of reflections that makes me "reflect" -- why did it take so long in the evolution of photography as an art form for the obvious to be noticed? These reflections have been there all along, varieties of them, everywhere, and we tend to look through them. When I go to the Mexican restaurant in Sparta, it has glass all across the front, curtained on the inside, I tend to look through the reflection at the decorations they have in the window and notices in Spanish. I miss the panorama reflected image of the parking lot behind me, the houses in the distance and the sky, selfie in landscape. It's there in front of my face like standing in front of a movie screen, and I look through it. I've become aware of reflections since knowing Rob's photographs. In store windows, I see what is inside and the reflection on the glass of the cars going by and stores across the street. Instead of wishing for a way not to see the reflection, now I welcome the reflection equal the display in the window. When I see the reflection too, it makes a kind of Rauschenberg silkscreen of one image over another. I started noticing the reflections I had been seeing through and it was almost like a new dimension, new awareness, seeing the first time what has always been there. It's a Duh moment. The kind where you slap the palm of your hand to your forehead and say, Where have you been all your life?

rob copeland


Rob and I have never met and may never. We've become friends by way of the comment boxes on facebook. Writing back and forth  we're acquainted such that we could have extended conversation were we to meet. As it is, we have extended conversation by way of facebook over time instead of compacted. I believe we know each other well enough now to speak freely over the phone like with someone we've known for years. I started seeing Rob's posts when I friended a friend of his, also Rob, and Rob Copeland's photographs began to appear daily. My thought was that this is somebody in New York like Robert Frank, Gordon Parks, Gary Winogrand, and probably has a book of photographs in print. I went to amazon.com to see if he had any books. Not there. I took it for granted he had been at New York photography several years, was well known and respected in NY photography world, someone whose vision of the city is particularly his own and at the same time obvious. Until you see it, it's not there, and it was there all along. His photographs have different dimensions about them. He's not satisfied with only one dimension in his images. It turns out Rob Copeland is a guy in NY who has taken photographs for years and years, a lot of really good ones, but few that touched art. Then he bought his cell phone and started taking pictures with it, discovered reflections a little at a time until one day he saw them everywhere. He asked facebook friends to vote on possible names to call his pictures for the blogsite. Much interest in the word reflections. My anti-poetic suggestion was the word reflections is way overused unto meaningless. It was just a vote, no intent to persuade. He chose UPON REFLECTION: A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE OF NEW YORK CITY. When I saw it I lit up with joy. Just right. The word needed to be there, and he took the Vaseline lens poetic out of it like somebody who has written a good bit of advertising copy. It's clean and straight ahead. It's a headline that tells you in a few words what his pictures are doing. Rob, that was truly a poetically inspired moment, upon reflection. It's beautiful.
 
rob Copeland
 
I don't mean to be an ongoing commercial for Rob's art, but can't help it. I feel awe when I look at Rob's photographs, the same kind of awe when I see images by Joel Meyerowitz. I've said that before and mean it so much I'll probably say it again. Rob's photographs  have a stillness about them, a window onto metropolis in high-speed motion silent as a still life. I like knowing Rob through his art form, his new found art form in a time in his life when he felt like he needed something to connect for him. I don't want to make any wishes for Rob and his art that he would not want to make himself. And I don't know what they would be. I don't wish anything for him. I feel like Rob is in his flow and doesn't need the static of other people's wishes and ideas about what he oughta, except for when he puts out an appeal to his facebook friends to give him some feedback and ideas on a given decision. The best I can do for him is encourage. Feedback is important to artists of all varieties. Feedback does not mean advising, but giving honest thoughts on the matter. Not criticizing, but addressing, talking about. 

http://robcopelandphotography.blogspot.com  This link will take you to Rob's photographic blog quick as thought itself. It's just a click away.
 
rob Copeland
 
 
*
 

SURREALISM IN AMERICA AND DONKEYS IN THE HAY

donkey jen
 
 
The last few weeks I've been training myself to hear the misinformation of the day, aka the news, with dispassion. I want to be able to hear American news as unengaged as if it were North Korean news. The part of the news that matters in Washington DC is of no relevance to me. I cannot be a participant in democracy because democracy is over. I enjoy listening to BBC international in the night to hear about events in the African countries. Only because Africa is the only part of the world American news never mentions, except for American military involvements in North Africa. Something the government in Sierra Leone did has the same relevance to me as the latest foothold in the American right wing's takeover of the US government. A few of the democrats are attempting to alert us to what is happening, but I'm thinking most of the democrats have their hands in the same pockets as the republicans. What's really going on is taking place on the top floors of skyscrapers and we the people are the ants crawling inline on the ground. Of course, they can't take us seriously. We, the non billionaires, are the same as ants. Step on them--so what? Scorch them with a magnifying glass--so what? Destroy their economy and take all their resources--so what? Pour gasoline down the hole and throw a match on it--so what? I do like to keep abreast of what is behind a sudden surge in yard sales, selling used clothes on facebook, daycare centers closing. Paying attention to current events I have come to see the people playing the headlines game, keeping their faces on the cover of Newsweek, are ruthless and devoid of caring. They're from the dark side. Their way of life is the dark side. By way of life, I mean consciously bleeding our economy. Why should I give them so much attention?
 
donkey jack
 
 
At Sri Aurobindo's center in Pondicherry, on the southeastern coast of India, the room where the international newspapers are read they call the Room of Lies. Gore Vidal's summation of why we have no history is it is written from diaries, journals, letters, memoirs, all of which are self serving, and newspaper articles, which we all know are inaccurate. 1-2-3-therefore: we have no history. Why do I take it as anything but what it is? The news is a corporate daily soap opera that is bigger business than tv football, basketball, baseball, the works. It's a big money tv show. Corporate news has the stamp of approval by level headed businessmen that have our best interest at heart. Like Godzilla had Tokyo's interest at heart. I haven't paid attention to tv news in so many years that when I see something inadvertently at somebody's house or in a restaurant, I'm stunned. They're not touching any subject seriously. Their haiku brevity telling it in the least words possible with a moving picture of a familiar face, an explosion, an image of military might, is impressive when I listen to the script as a concisely written brief documentary poem. Very well paid script writers work backstage. Headlines and images interspersed with commercials for tires and hyper expensive cars, razors, underarm deodorant with ingredients hardly a computer could spell, a peek-a-boo shot between a hot babe's legs on the beach at Cancun with a guy that lifts weights--they're having a rare, expensive beer. When you don't see tv for a long time, it's as hysterical as Sponge Bob Square Pants. We surely are in a time of surrealism. I think of the Hangover movies. They are Marx Brothers funny, and every bit as surrealist. 
 
donkey jen
 
 
I watch the race with my friends on Sunday, a commercial comes on, the channel is switched to a football game. A commercial comes on, we're back at the race track, or if commercials are still on the race channel, switch to another football game and watch until the next commercial, then back to the race. I have a ball. I don't know what they're watching, but I'm watching surrealism in everyday life. As I let go of the belief system that more is better, I see the surrealism that comes to us through what we call media. I cannot go there. I can, however, see some tv every once in awhile, like looking at an exhibition of surrealist paintings. It's like watching a movie of tv trends of the present. I cannot give myself over to hypnosis by the corporate media listening to them tell me over and over I'm no good unless I have fill-in-the-blank that I can't afford. I don't want it in my mind and don't want it in my consciousness. Last Sunday I chose not to go see the race because I was in a relaxed place and did not want to enter that mind of coercion to buy something I don't want. It's so bad that after a pit stop, the announcer is required to say, "he filled up with Sunoco racing fuel." Sunoco is funding the race with big money and they want the product mentioned a certain number of times per hour. I know it's all business, it's how things are done, we couldn't have the race without it. Sometimes it's over the edge. I see tv as bringing a continuously changing billboard into my home, my quiet space. I'm not filling up my space with noise about potato chips, mattresses, crappy tacos, windshield wipers, cellphones, stuff, stuff, explosions, none of it anything I want. Sunday was a day I did not want that belief system in my head, even as a folklorist observer.
 
donkey jack
 
 
I rested and worried in the bed between spells of sleep about the donkeys in the cold at night, in the cold rain. I wanted to convert small chicken shack to a shelter for the donkeys. Had to tear out a rotted floor I put in at least 25 years ago and a wall. It's not as complicated as it sounds. I borrowed a power jigsaw that cuts through nails easily. Opened the wall up, no problem. Backed the car down to the barn, tossed a heavy, tightly-packed bale of good hay in the trunk, left the lid up and drove up to a place I could throw the bale over the fence and roll it down to the donkey den. Parked the car, went back to the hay bale, cut the twine and opened the bale for the donkeys. Jenny buried her nose in it. I think she'd eaten baled hay where she lived before. She played with it, loosening it with her dexterous lips, ripping out a mouthful to chew on, chewing it like I'd made her day with a box of chocolates, and it was good hay too. I watched her taste it with her first nibbles, assessing the flavor. A smile came to her face and she picked up another swatch and started chewing. Jack acted like this might have been his first hay bale. He may have eaten from round bales before. He approached the hay with some hesitation, needing to check it out. He saw Jenny chewing on it and he pulled out some to chew. He seemed to be discovering the dried grass, unsure how he was going to like it, and it turned out he liked it. I covered the ground in the shed with hay for them to lie down on through cold winter nights and when the weather is bad. I know they like the ground, but I thought a little insulation might help keep the ground from being so cold. They might decide to eat it. They're welcome to it.  
 
donkey jen
 
 
*

Sunday, November 17, 2013

PILGRIM WAY


The quotation, Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, from the red letters in the NT that I quoted yesterday, stays with me. Pausing to think about it, I realize it has been in my head every day for a number of years. We have people who call themselves Christians ranting about taxes, demonstrating, attempting sedition from the inside, talking ignorance so blatant it embarrasses them, and they don't get it. It's not necessary to mention names; they're all over the headline-with-picture corporate news. I used to wonder in my youth why Jesus talked about love and compassion, yet the people in the church didn't even like each other, certainly not their neighbors. Love never came up as an issue. It is one of those issues you don't mention when you're a kid, because adults don't take kids seriously and you learn early, don't make adults think. How else can a warrior society adopt a message of love and peace to themselves and only adhere to OT you-better-not mind? Didn't Jesus say that old way of following rules is over? I already hear a particular voice, That's not how it is at my church. I say, Hooray. I'm not talking about any church but the churches of my experience. I would actually like to go to a particular church sometimes, but can't do it by my own inner guidance--I have to follow the rules. Told I'm expected to attend regularly, I never went back. And will not go back. I've had to clarify for a few preachers in the past that my life and my decisions are my own, whether or not he believes I have the right. I don't ask for permission to live my life as I see fit, nor do I accept guilt for not living by somebody else's opinion of something they know nothing about--another human being. They don't even know themselves.


It's a sight, looking back, how many people along the way have believed they knew better how I ought to live my life than I did. I heard so much in youth and younger adult years from people who believed they knew better than I do what's right for me, I confess to reaching a place of confusion such that I couldn't see a way out. Everybody was using their authority voice to show they know what they're talking about and I don't. By the time I was 30, I had not yet learned what was right for me, what direction to go in, what to believe and not believe. I have chosen for myself to call my path my Pilgrim Way. A solitary pilgrim who walks his own path and lets the group-think people go their own way. I used to be told by the group-think people that I'm unable to make an intelligent decision for myself without the guidance of the group. There was a time I believed that. Then I learned to my satisfaction that God indeed Is. No more group-think for me. I am so far removed from the fundamentalist churches of Kansas, it is like another lifetime, except I remember it. My mother is of group-think mind and cannot allow that I will make my own decisions. A few times I've had to jerk the illusion of reins out of her hands. She has serious control issues, the reason I live half a continent away, her control backed up by being a Christian. I'm reminded of a joke told by the VW Boys bluegrass band's guitar player, a stage joke. "My wife, she's an angel. She's always up in the air harping."


 She pushes the same issues without end, and one day I said I am never going to do any of these things she continues to ride my back about tirelessly. I removed my saddle and took it to the landfill. For years, it was: I wish you'd find a church. My answer: I know you do. There came a time, when I passed fifty, the year I found the freedom to say no, I woke up and said, I will not enter another church the rest of my life; all the church going in this lifetime is in the past. All of it. She cut it out. Now when we talk it's like she's holding her head under water unable to say the only thing she has to say. Choked. All I can say is I'm sorry she has control issues to such a degree. I've spent my adult life usurping control of my life by moving as far away as land allows. Since I won't go to church, I'm the same thing as an atheist, an atheist that doesn't take care of his responsibilities. Now that she has added Faux news to her faith, a greater divide is opening between us. She's given up on controlling my life and has no more interest in me. As I knew would be the case when I left for the coast all the many years ago. I knew then that who I am had nothing to do with anything--only the control mattered. Take away the control and nothing is left but sorrow she can't make me obey. It's been a big struggle along the way, much like dealing with a drunk, somebody drunk on an agenda, the one and only way, through Jesus Christ The Lord. Like Jehovah's Witnesses at the door pushing their agenda. I finally learned to open the door enough to say, I don't want it, and close the door. All they have on their minds is pushing their agenda. Take it someplace else. 
 


A friend I sometimes watch the races with said, "When I want to really be judged, I'll go to church." I had to say, Amen, brother. I don't care that my mother believes differently from how I believe. I don't even like to use that word, believe, because it's a long spiral like DNA. We both believe the same at the core, but she's bogged down in dogma until "the word" and the dogma are the same. I had to run for my life from the dogma where she stays mired down like a rock in mud. And wants me to do the same, to settle down, go to church, get married, have kids, buy a house. I tried to follow her demands to keep from disappointing her, making her feel bad. But it was not my path. My parents gave me such an horrendous example of a married relationship, I could not live my life in that kind of way, never saying what I mean, never admitting to anything but obeying. Punishment amounted to worshiping God, another word for Fear. Now that she's plugged into Faux tv, I'm not only the same as an atheist, but a liberal too. She says she prays for me. I say, Please do, I need plenty of it. But it's not going to buy me out of my intractable nature. She's a believer in duty, and, by example, taught me duty is not where it's at. She taught me marriage is not where it's at. She taught me church is not where it's at. She taught me group-think is not where it's at. She taught me controlling others is not where it's at. I cannot shut myself down far enough to live by her will. I cannot live my life a rock in a bog.


I tend to stay in place because my adventures are within. I don't need to climb a cliff with my fingertips to feel the thrill of living on the edge. I'm on the edge every day. Heart can stop, or not stop. I go with whichever happens. I don't like adrenalin rushes. I don't like fear. I see no point in taking chances with dying when I don't need to. My interpretation of the spiritual path is that it is one's own. My spiritual path is not about telling other people what to do. Mother's spiritual path is alienating by browbeating everyone around her about church and the Lord. A few years back, I wrote about the nature of my spiritual path. I thought she might be interested so I sent it to her. Her reaction was that I'm not afraid enough of Satan. I said, I'll leave Satan to you. As I see her recede the other side of a widening divide, I ask myself what I can do to narrow the divide. It's her divide. Now that she is married to a Limbaugh parrot plugged into Faux news, and his son is a preacher, she's gone away like a ship to sea. Bye, bye, Mommy. Her son left the fold, will not do his duty, is out of control, goes his own way in defiance of Satan. He doesn't know what to say to her anymore and she doesn't know what to say to him anymore. He can't even pretend to believe what she believes and brought him up to believe. Funny, slipping off into third person, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, separating myself from it. That's how I feel about it, third person, answering why I cannot allow myself to honor other people's expectations of my behavior where their belief systems are concerned. That's what I call group-think, and I can't go there, thanks to a lifetime of reasons why.

 
 
*

Saturday, November 16, 2013

THE DRUNK MAN AND THE PARROT

found art 


It is a hard time to take anything seriously. The mystery of the obvious stumps a lot of our  politically minded public figures. I like to think, surely they don't "represent" us, but they do. It's like the goal is now the bottom. The latest comedy I've seen several times was a quip from Sarah Palin noting that the new pope is "kinda liberal." Wildman comic Bill Maher's response: Wait til she finds out about Jesus. His jest speaks for the entire time we've had to endure the "Christian Right" harp on taxes. Hearing them makes me laugh. Didn't Jesus say something like, Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's? My take on this saying has to do with paying taxes without making a fuss. For me, personally, it has something to do with staying out of politics. The people who claim Christendom for themselves in the realm of politics exhibit little but venality toward others. Compassion among them is a four-letter word. These are people, who, if attending the crucifixion, would say, "Gimme that spear! I wanna stick him too!" I see them in my mind's eye doing this when they pat their own backs calling themselves Christian. It fails to be a bother to me, because they're only fooling themselves. Back in the 1950s I saw this coming when fundamentalist preachers started turning toward the political arena. The belief system does not stand up well to public scrutiny. Inevitably, the belief system, the fog of dogma around "the word," will be picked apart and declared lunatic. This has already happened, and the reaction has been that they're being denied the right to worship.

found art


Yesterday I spent some of the day with my friend Kathryn. We went by a local diner for pie and coffee, really just a chance to sit face to face and talk for awhile. An old boy we both recognized, but neither of us knew, was sitting at a table nearby. He had the angry white man look of somebody who listens to Limbaugh "religiously." He spoke in our direction asking what we thought of Obamacare. Kathryn said she didn't pay attention to the news. I said I have medicare, it's of no concern to me, and we went on with our conversation. We were not going to jump into that bucket of shit. Just by speaking, he told us where he was coming from. He wanted to gripe out loud. I don't like to be short with somebody, but in a case like this, I can't be short enough. We were not going to let him get started. He's the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving who keeps everybody miserable with his rant. And, by God, he's a Christian. Aint no two ways about it. Kathryn and I talked about him without talking about him, talked about the American white man's mind after a quarter century of Limbaugh mind whipping up artificial anger in white working class men. We spoke of two women we know, both going through divorce, desperate to get away from abusive white men. In both cases, the man was of the Limbaugh rant mind. We felt sorry for the old boy in the restaurant wanting so badly to rant and nobody to listen. At the same time, I felt little to no patience for him, the same as for a Jehovah's Witness at the door interrupting the day pushing their agenda.

found art


We had just come from visiting a friend of ours who had a white man staying with her at the moment. He was drunk and getting drunker. Neither of us knew him. We both read him for a wild card, no guessing what he might do in the next minute. I took it upon myself to keep him calm by encouraging his talk about himself. It could have gone off into blubbering tears over mama or throwing a fit of rage, anything in between. I didn't feel like it was a dangerous situation. It was a dumb white man drunk. Keep him the center of attention and everybody is happy. Kathryn told me later she didn't know what to do about him, how to talk, anything. I felt at home. Just another white guy in a world of white guys who have issues galore and can only address them drunk. He was tremendously hung up inside, twisted in knots probably in early childhood, needing the liquor to soften the hard edges of guilt and self-loathing. I felt I understood the guy. I can identify with somebody who wants to get shit-faced drunk. It feels great on the inside. It just looks stupid on the outside. I don't ever have a problem with somebody being drunk unless it's a mean drunk. We all have our own issues and issues don't get solved overnight, no matter how fast you go at them. It takes years on the psychiatric couch to really start getting insight into dealing with our issues. Guys growing up in a world where it's an embarrassment to expose that you have issues, or to talk about them, or even own up to them, hold so much emotional turmoil inside they often become time bombs. One unpredictable moment sets them off. Getting good and drunk every now and again acts as a release valve in a pressure cooker. The ones that need to get drunk the most are the ones with the most pressing issues.

found art


By the time Kathryn and I were having our pie and coffee, we were wondering what kind of day this is. We talked over what we were seeing and how we were feeling about what we were seeing, not with judgment of the particular individuals, but seeing people locked into their minds such that they miss everything going on around them. I'm wanting to pull my own mind away from the old belief that what I think matters beyond myself. We complain an awful lot because we believe what we think matters beyond ourselves. I want to withdraw my mind from "out there" to "in here." I felt like seeing those two men, one after the other, were telling me that wasting my mind on illusions of what is going on "out there" is distracting me from what is important "in here." I take "in here" to mean the heart, living by the heart, thinking by the heart, feeling. "Out there," I take to mean the constructs of the mind, agendas, even beliefs. I see venality comes out of too much emphasis on mind. The self-centered nature of the "Christian Right" is all mind. None of it comes from heart. The Christians operating from heart are not making the news. In both cases of the men we saw, the drunk man and the parrot, I could honestly say to myself: There but for the grace of God go I. Without the grace of God, I would be both those men in one. I don't mean to imply I thought they were bad people. I saw them unfortunate people, as I would see myself without the grace of God. I can't imagine living without the grace of God.

found art
 
 
 
*