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Monday, September 8, 2014


Thinking about going back to finish the deer blind Monday and help Justin mount the door. He made a frame at home of 2x4s, measured to a perfect fit, and put a piece of 5/8 inch plywood on the frame. He will have the hinges in place, everything ready to go. It will take however many screws to fix the hinges to the wall, placed with that wonderful invention the cordless drill. Zip. Done. No more wrenching a screw with a screwdriver. I saw the finished door yesterday when I went to the house to see the race. He explained the process. He made it a point to buy warped wood that costs less. He knows how to take the warp out of the wood. The 2x4s have a warp and the plywood has a warp. He said it was a bitch. He opposed the warps, put them together warping away from each other. He runs the screws in from the end where they match and gradually screws the opposing warps together along the length of the frame. Held by wood screws, the warps will gradually even out. He said it will be wet after a rain, and when it dries, the wood will dry to the new shape. It has rained all day today, light sprinkles on and off, after a true thunderstorm yesterday of torrential rain, lightning flashing and booming thunder. The weather forecast looks like rain all week. May have to wait til next week to finish the exterior painting. I'd rather finish it on the same wave of energy I painted the whole with. Which, however, amounts to druthers, and druthers don't always get priority. It's one of them it-is-what-it-is kinda things. 

I told Justin the opportunity to paint a cube in the woods, a wrap-around mural of trees, is one of the great moments of my life. Whoever heard of painting trees on a cube in the woods? At one point I made what to my aesthetic eye was a major mistake. I thought: how many art critics are going to be by here in the course of a year? Only two. Me and Lucas. At the same time, it happened outside my conscious mind. My conscious mind knows better, but I did it anyway in a moment of saying no to conscious mind for aesthetic considerations. You might say, it just happened. Because it just happened, I trusted it. I wanted to change it, but it was too pure, too spontaneous a moment to erase. I'm having a hard time starting to tell it, ashamed in a way that I did something so radically against my aesthetic sense, and see at the same time it is actually quite wonderful. Standing on the ladder painting trees on the side with the openings for shooting, I painted a tree coming out of the top of the vertical rectangle, and continued the tree down below, running a tree right up the middle of the scene. I knew better than to do that. Totally knew better. Yet my hand ran the brush in a straight line above and below. I said to self while doing it, this is really stupid. I asked self, How many art critics will see it? Me! I messed it up. I could have painted over it, but chose not to. It simply came too spontaneously and against my conscious will to ignore it. I chose to let it be. Turns out, it's a little bit spooky, woo-woo, or what have you. Every time I stepped out away from the cube to look at it from afar, I only saw that straight line running up the middle. I sighed acceptance like the art director did it and I have to accept it. I kept it to myself, telling self I'm the only one who will notice and I accept it as what happened at the moment, actually held it as a kind of special moment, a living moment, almost sacred because it came so from outside my conscious mind. All the rest of it was mind with a line of beyond-mind interjected. I came to where I liked it for its not-mind quality.

Later, at home putting the camera chip into the computer, I saw it when this image came up full screen. The cross. I about wept. I wondered what the cross was about. Justin will be shooting from the cross. It came to me the cross is a prayer that goes with each projectile for the soul of the being whose life it ends. For myself, I have issues with killing. I really don't like to do it. But that is for myself alone. I'm not a missionary, so I have no desire or impulse to advise someone else about something I hold for myself. It seems a little creepy to me to hunt from a pillbox like in WW2. It seems a bit impure. So what. The Daniel Boone ways of hunting are over. This is a time when hunters have full-time jobs, families, houses, vehicles to maintain, less and less space for hunting every year as new people come in and don't want people hunting. I'm glad to help Justin make his deer blind; I appreciate his skill and conscientious attitude toward killing. He likes to go straight to the heart in one shot, so the buck's knees give out and it drops straight down. It feels nothing. Suddenly falls asleep. No fear, no adrenaline coursing through its veins. I appreciate that in who Justin is. Hunting is about deception. The wild animals are hyper-alert, requiring a clever mind to outwit them. A box in the woods, a bait pile of apples and corn, a trail-camera strapped to a tree to time when the buck you're looking for passes through, hunting as it's done today. I'm glad Justin has a hunting territory he can call his own. The land the box is on belongs to my friends, Lucas and Judy. Justin does maintenance work on the house and does some weed-eating around. They have six acres. Justin has six adjoining acres of woods, giving him twelve acres to hunt. He has been one of the great friends of my life. I'm grateful to have a part in arranging for him a good hunting place.    

Vada is three. She will probably get her first buck next year.with a rifle. Daddy will take her with him at least a few times this year. In his design of the box, he made it big enough that he could stretch out in a sleeping bag and Crystal and Vada can sleep on the floor too. Crystal is a hunter. I applaud the good training in taking his baby along. He can teach her the importance of being quiet, of being still, of waiting. I can't think of better training for a three and four year old than being still for long stretches of time with purpose. Vada will be one of the kids who gets her picture in the paper with a buck she killed pre-school. The kid has incredible intelligence. She'll make a good hunter. She'll be a babe hunter in her teens. The guys at school who are hunters will be her friends. She'll be safe among them by way of respect. They'll know she can handle a firearm, and one thing they'll know for sure: her daddy will stomp a mud hole in their ass and walk it dry. She will be able to fight any of them and kick many of their asses. And she'll still be a babe. Probably only older girls will be able to take her down in a fight. By the way, country kids still fight. They all survive it. Parents don't sue other parents over their kids fighting. Here, when a boy turns up at home with his face banged up, his daddy might say, Did you kick his ass? Instead of grounding him for a month. He might ground the kid if he failed to kick the other kid's ass. Country people know how that behavior works among kids. The thing daddy's understand that mommies don't seem to get is that two boys mad each other get into a fight and try to hurt each other, after which they're best friends. I was never a fighter and see no glory in it whatsoever. I bring this up by way of saying I'm in full acceptance of Justin liking to do what he likes to do. I like to do what I like to do. Why shouldn't he? I don't like to kill things. He does. So what? He's feeding a family. I'm not. I'm satisfied with a can of tuna from the grocery store, which comes from a far more questionable source than arrows from a box in the woods.



  1. I love that the cross brought tears to your eyes and that you are acceptable of other's ways of life...I love the images of boys fighting and parents kicking butt to defend their girls...and lack of law suits...the bane of our society...Vada the that image and admire her day for bringing her up as such...Great place you call home Tj...a dying way of life...

  2. Darlene, I don't know if you get notice of my reply, but I had to tell you Justin will be a nervous wreck thru Vada's teenage years. He will find a way to get the word around school that Vada's daddy means business. When he was in school, jr hi and hi school, he ran with the rowdy boys and he told all of them that old man up at Air Bellows is a crazy emeffer. He'll kill your ass. He don't care. He did it to keep them away from me. Didn't tell me til bout a year ago. Before jr hi he had already seen Pink Flamingos at my house with his daddy. He sometimes laughed so hard he fell down on the floor holding his belly laughing out of control. To this day, all I have to say is "egg man" and Justin breaks out laughing. We've been friends since he was Vada's age. Before he was born I'd heard an old country sayin, Be good to a kid and you'll have a friend for life. I wasn't even testing it and it bore out.