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Thursday, September 11, 2014

HIGH ON THE MOUNTAIN


find the spider

It has been a rainy week. Saturday evening a torrential rain with lightning and big thunder tore through here for about half an hour, the kind that runs dogs and cats to hiding places. We haven't had a gully-washer like that one in several years. I'd almost forgotten what they were like. A few minutes ago I posted on Rambling Revolution in facebook some pictures I took at the open doorway in a pouring down rain. I wrote a comment to my friend Darlene. It grew into too much and I came over here to continue. The greens are vibrant, happy with the weather this summer, never too hot, plenty of sun and plenty of wet overcast. It has been a delightful summer for the green world, or anyway on my mountain. I understand it's not quite like this in New Mexico and parts of the western half of the continent. Rather than feel guilty for having a wet summer when others do not, I'll enjoy my wet summer this year, because next summer could be so dry forest fires might be an issue. I'm grateful for the wet we have. I slipped in mud and fell to my knees on an uphill incline in a place Jack and Jenny spend a lot of time in front of their shed. It looks like an old hillbilly barn lot now. I'll see about getting some pictures of it. I love about the donkey shed and the fence and gate that it is the old hillbilly way of doing it. No new aluminum sheds or any eyesore like that. My neighbors surely are not enamored of it, but it's original. It's the way I remember it in my first years here, late 1970s, when some of the old farms continued to exist before 1980 when all that changed. The old people with farms were keeping them going out of habit while everything was changing around them. They died and their land was divided, sold, cleaned up and no trace left of anything that went before, but for what can be found by metal detector. The donkey shed and fence continue a vanished way of life. I regret seeing it go, so I carry some of what I remember in myself. 


Since a subdivision happened up the road, the road my dog took naps in is long gone almost even from memory. She sometimes curled up in the center of the gravel road and rested in the sunlight. In that time, the only traffic on the road was old man Tom's pickup. People turning land into money came in as old hillbillies died out. Waterfall Road is a highway now, all new cars but for the maintenance and construction workers' pickups, UPS and FedEx trucks that zoom up and down the road like dirt bikes. Everybody drives a new car but me. Everybody is making payments and paying a lot more taxes for their rides than I do. Now I'm the old man Tom of the mountain. Tom was a friendly sort of feller people dropped in on to visit with. Now I'm the tail end of the hillbillies on the mountain, Tom again, and I'm not so friendly. Word went around to all the new people, one by one, through the exurbanite grapevine, to stay away from that grumpy old bastard TJ. They leave me alone and that's how I like it. I'm grateful to them all. He doesn't go to parties. He doesn't participate in anything. He likes to be left alone. He thinks he's Henry David Thorough or something, bless his pea-pickin heart. I really did not commit to this my home believing it would one day become a highway to a subdivision. It's ok. We live in peace. My purpose in committing to what was then a remote place was to be away from all that. I came here for solitude. Then I needed a job and kept on needing a job. That was ok. It was part of the experience. 


It's been my rule of thumb, no parties. I've broken down in the last several years without regret, but also have been pulling back from involvements, again. I'm mostly taken for aloof and arrogant, and that's ok. Gonna be taken for something, it may as well be benign. I'm not throwing nails under anybody's tires. It's just that I have a life and it takes knowing me awhile to see it. Every time I meet new people they have a list of people I gotta meet, things I gotta do, gotta see, gotta join. They think he's sitting up there on that mountain all by hisself. He needs to get out of there and stop watching so much television. Nobody ever sees him. If you drive by he doesn't look up. He's a stuck up old shit. I've heard he's an asshole anyway. They say he came here because he was running from the law. For somebody who doesn't do anything outside my own world, there's a lot of good stories going around about shit I've done. The doyen of the exurbanite soap opera gossips lived half a mile away for a long time. She spun some good ones. I don't refute any of it. Yeah, that's me. I tend to like the company of rogues in the world of people I know. They're people with the life spirit turned on in them, every one I've known. Totally unpretentious people. Want to find somebody you can trust? Look for him or her among the rogues. By rogue I don't mean mean. I mean people who can't not act out their feelings. I'm so incredibly inhibited, I like the balance in people I know who jump right in and mend fences later. I tend to think of the fences before acting. I call it foresight, though the one who knows me better than anybody calls it hyper-vigilance. I don't know what to call it. It just makes sense to me to think about what comes next, because something always comes next. Say I get pissed off at somebody and want to burn his trailer down. Instead of flicking the Bic, I look at how many years I'll spend in prison over this, the trial and hoping the lawyer can work out a reduced sentence. So I don't flick the Bic. I deal with it. As it is, I'm just a rogue of the mind. 


I encouraged a forest between the house and the road to pull the woods in around me. I let everything grow beside the road. The state took my land, destroyed it to put through a paved road without a thank you, kiss my ass or even flipping a cigarette butt at me. So I grew up a forest between my window and the road. I love it that people have asked neighbors if that little house nobody lives in is for sale. No. It will never be for sale in their lifetime however long they live. After I'm gone it won't be for sale for a very long time. Letting woods grow up is my idea of gardening. I've planted a lot of ferns dug up over the years. I've placed rocks and found things around. Even some graves of dogs and cats. Only I know where they are. By now, these loved ones have completely returned to earth. They continue to live in my heart. Walking from the car to the house, I step under a canopy of trees so by the time I reach the house their calm has swept over me. It gets kind of eerie when I look way back into the early years, the woods were where I felt safe, comfortable among the trees and rocks. I had no privacy then. The woods were where I was with myself without the energy of others directed at me with ambition to control. In the woods among the trees with a dog my mind was its own. No outside forces. It wasn't that I did any structural thinking. My head was wound up in so many knots, a few hours in the woods untied some and came to terms with others, mostly resignation to childhood under somebody else's power, waiting, counting the long, slow years. The woods were a meditative place for the kid, a place to get away from the unreal and bathe in the real, the quiet patience of trees. For a great many years I had places in the woods here where I'd go to spend a day with a book, some writing paper and drawing paper, a thermos of hot tea and two apples. I don't do it now that I know I live in the territory of bears and coyotes are everywhere. I don't feel comfortable in the woods anymore without carrying something with stopping power, like a .45, and I don't want to do that. Hunters I know won't go into the woods without a heavy duty firearm. Now I have my meditative spot in the woods at home.  

find the spider



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1 comment:

  1. I think we are cut from the same cloth Tj...I love my privacy and solitude and always dreamt of retiring to a mountain that had wild growth all the way to the front door and only a 4 wheel drive could get up our mountain side...now I live with a paved street 100 feet in front of my house so I let my garden grow wild and my trees out front grow to cover the entry way until you have to duck to get to the front door..It is a constant argument with my son and hubby about cutting them back...but I keep firm and they are here to stay..Not quite my mountain top but better then a manicured subdivision setting like some ...

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