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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

REBELLION IN AMERICA

natural man

Kathmandu fell apart, Everest avalanched, cops at war with young black people in Baltimore, Crips and Bloods united in Baltimore to protect black people from the cops. Al Sharpton is going to Baltimore, following the cameras again. At least he has a new hairdo. Follow the news and see shameless people of every variety. Put a camera in front of somebody's face and they'll say anything you want. Seems like it would be a more certain way to get information from detainees than torture. Just aim a camera at them and they'll tell it all. Maybe this only applies to Americans. I'm glad to see rebellion against police brutality by the people the cops are most brutal toward. No matter how much it's justified, American police kill more people than anywhere in the world such that it's beyond shameless. Executioners. Maybe they like this word better than murderers. It looks more every year, and escalating fast, like the American police are at war with the American people. It's been growing since Nixon times "law and order." Next, "war on drugs." I saw something about a cop demanding respect and laughed. Took me way back to childhood, daddy demanding respect. I'd think, show me something I can respect. Didn't dare say it. Saying I'm glad to see the rebellion, I don't mean I'm glad to see the cops rally to an opportunity to beat up and torment young black guys in the zoo. I'm glad to see years of unspoken racial tension come to the surface, racism come forward and be proud. Only on the surface can social or personal issues be settled. It looks like American racism is having its day. The white robes are back, though this time they're blue. 

dogwood

The nature of the police state is racist, so racism is the nature of the police state. White people who still believe we have a democracy are freaking out over the people-of-color population now being 50/50 with whites. From here on, people of color outnumber whites. Democracy was shut down in the South after emancipation; the black people outnumbered the whites. Now, False News buffoon, Ann Coulter, mummy of an old belief system, is calling for literacy tests again for voting. Like voting matters. I have a hard time taking any of it seriously. Manipulation by corporate propaganda through television, by corporate control through legislation and the courts, including the supreme court, is how we live in America now. The land where money has been worshipped from the beginning is now ruled by money for money's interest only. Citizens are now enemies of the state, especially the poor. Fema has empty concentration camps all over the country. They are waiting for social conflict the manipulators know will be created in the near future. The police state is characterized by a dismissive arrogance toward the people, as illustrated by the governors in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Florida and Kansas, to name a few, the entire US Congress, Senate, and the White House. Mammon does not like democracy. Mammon likes police state. Fascists always destroy their own countries. The fall of America is wrapped inside its fascist takeover. Like the old apocaloptimist said, It's gonna get worse before it gets better. The rest of the world will roar with sighs of relief.

bag lady rest area

I cannot offer a solution to what I see, except the momentum must play itself out. It will play itself out and I will stay out of it the best I can. Can't stay out of the economic collapse and can't stay out of manipulated social attitudes. I can be aware, however, of the manipulation enough to recognize it and bypass its influence. My closest friends pay no attention to news, government or history. I applaud them and never encourage them to give current events any mind. The only thing I have to say to them that I feel valid is get out of debt as fast as rationally possible. I tell Justin when hard times are here, you will be all right--you're able to make it without a steady job, by taking whatever job comes up, like house painting, carpentry, auto repair, hunting and much else. You will be helping people who cannot help themselves, the people who have only money, devoid of inner resources. They'll be paying you. Your role, because you have inner resources, will be helping others. Just don't let discouragement take you over. Hard times have a way of ending. Even the Civil War came to an end, whether yankees believe it or not. Younger, I wanted to get involved in social movements, be a part of the change toward democracy, but learned in 1968 the press was complicit with the corporate coup of five years before. The manipulators own the television networks and the press. They rule. Best for me to stay home and not get beat up and tormented by cops or killed without recourse for nothing. Better to stay at home, read a biography of Van Gogh and listen to recordings of Tibetan monks singing.

bridge and shadow

I'll give carrots to donkeys, hold my cat friend, Caterpillar, give sunflower seeds to birds, be a communal food kitchen for my near neighbors. If they eat anything in the christmas tree fields two-thirds of the way around the house and donkey meadow, they die. I suppose that if I give them plenty of what they like, they won't need to explore into the christmas tree fields for something to eat. Keep them close to the woods across the road where they live, away from the bugs coated with herbicides etc that have already killed everything that lives in the water. The world I live in is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual poison. I have no choice but live in it, but I don't have to be of it. Like in childhood under arational control, I'd think, You can control my body, but you can't do shit with my mind. My mind is my own. Of course, quite a lot of warping of the mind occurred that I've spent the rest of my life recovering from and reparenting. My search for innermost self, who I really am, is my spiritual path. I found an affordable (then) little hermitage on a back road to walk my path. I'm here for my own spiritual reasons, none of them social. I like to contribute to my community, though only in meaningful ways with purpose, not the frivolous. Justin told me recently when he was in high school he told his buddies to stay away from that old man on the mountain--he'll shoot your ass--he don't care. He said he did it because he knew them and wanted them to leave me alone. I treat others right, don't draw attention to self. A few days ago I was buying a pack of white paper for the printer at a new corporate store in town, the only place it's available. At the counter I was asked if I had my card. If so, I don't know. Was told to punch my phone number into a key pad. I asked, Why? To see if you have a card. I said, "I don't care. I just want to buy this." She looked at me like she couldn't believe somebody would refuse a three cent discount, if any. I said, "I am not of this world." It actually flowed out of my mouth without thought. There it was. She let it go and rang up the sale.

rock face
photos by tj worthington


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Monday, April 27, 2015

DREAM WRITING


rock face

Trip to town for a periodic doctor visit, had blood pressure read, interesting talk about blood. I like to arrive a few minutes early and have to wait some. Today I took glasses and a book, thinking I was prepared to sit for fifteen or so minutes in a room of chairs lined around the walls. Right behind me came somebody who wanted to talk. We talked about donkeys. He had a donkey and a horse. We had a good visit like people who knew each other. He was called to his appointment. A woman walked in I slightly knew about ten years ago. We had a good visit talking until I was called to my appointment. In the next room I was weighed, aghast at what I saw and not caring at once, Answer a few questions. Went prepared to pay and wasn't asked to pay. Told by doctor to buy a blood pressure mechanism and keep track of it at home. Evidently, this is a new recommendation from AMA, that people read their blood pressure at home. He said in a doctor's office one's blood pressure is unnaturally high. I told him every time I return from a trip to Sparta, I collapse in bed and sleep for awhile. It is such a pattern that I plan for nap time after a trip to town. Maybe it runs my blood pressure up to drive there and back. Maybe it's the psychic energy of so many people in town. I like driving less and less. Next stop, drugstore. I was glad to see they had blood pressure devices with digital push-button reading. The kind with a dial to read on the needle's descent I'm no good at. I've never been able to figure it out. I've tried it so many times I don't ever want to try it again. Frustrating. The digital numbers are the key. The thing cost twice as much as the old style, but I was willing to pay three times as much or four. 

rock monster

I was so anxious to return home, I forgot to go to the grocery store for carrots and the hardware store for sweet grain. If I wake early in the morning, I may run to the grocery store before carrot time. I don't see myself doing that, but for the donkeys I would. After the nap, I took grain out to Jack and Jenny a bit later than usual. They saw me and Jack came running and braying. I stumbled on a stick and took a quick step to catch balance. The gesture, merely a change of rhythm in my walking. Jack turned quick as a polo pony and started to run away. It was like he drifted the turn. I said, "Donkey Jack," he drifted a turn again and ran to me for the grain. Jenny was walking behind. She saw me pour the grain for Jack and she started running. I poured it in her place. Jack came over to see. Jenny snorted, ears back, diving at him with her forehead. Jack's chin over the top of the fence, he followed me back to his pile of grain. I made a gesture like I was pouring the grain and he went to eating. Jack is a bit out of sorts recently. He's wanting to be frisky with Jenny, but she's pregnant and doesn't care to mess around. I saw her give him a good thrashing with her back knees earlier in the day. He stood firm and took it like a tree. I see him with his dinger hanging down fairly often recently. Jack is psyched, ready to go and Jenny is having none of it. He's been absent minded recently, explaining him leaving his grain to go after Jenny's. I always put hers down first, she's so demanding. I wondered if feeding Jack first fried his circuits, rattled a habit pattern. 

rock monster and raven head

Back in the house. Recalling a dream I woke from just before writing the post of two days ago, Patterns Of Chance. I'd been in town and had a nap upon return at six. Slept til twelve and had one of the most curious dreams of my life. I was writing. Wrote one sentence at a time from the first one onward, pausing between sentences like usual. I sat in this seat, fingers on keyboard, monitor showing the sentences and paragraphs. In the dream, I knew what I was writing and what I was thinking. From time to time, I'd read over something I'd written and think, this is it, this is pure surrealist writing. It went all over the place, from one sentence to the next, sometimes making sense subconsciously and sometimes no sense at all. I allowed it not to make sense. I said it has its own sense that I don't need to understand. Every sentence, I wrote a word at a time, concerned about it making sense and not. Having a good time. Though it didn't always make sense outside myself, it made clear sense in the writing. In the dream I was enchanted to be writing pure surrealism inside a dream, knowing while writing it was a dream. I knew the whole time I was writing in a dream, let it flow and watched to see where it would go. Two and a third paragraphs into it, I woke up. Coming out of the dream, I thought: Oh no! I haven't finished. I wanted to see where it goes. I wanted to run it through the printer. I knew I'd forget what was written if I woke. Too late. Wide awake, I remembered the theme and some of the sentences for a few seconds and it was gone. I regretted seeing it go away, wanting to see what I wrote in a dream. 

rock monster and raven head again

The dream seems to fall in line with the dreams that interact with awake awareness by something missing from its place, or something in a place by surprise it would not be. Two weeks ago, I bought an impulse toy in the grocery store for Vada. It was some kind of stretch plastic, a line maybe ten inches long with a hand at either end. It stuck to things, it stretched, was pliable as a rubber band. It seemed like something Vada would like. I never saw it again after bringing groceries into the house. I have searched for it until I gave up looking. Sunday, on the way out the door to see the race, I paused a moment regretting I couldn't find the thing. One place I had not looked. Where I was standing, I put my hand down between the reading chair's cushion and armrest. There it was, quietly waiting to be found. Great relief, something to give Vada. I do like grandpas do, always bring something for babydoll. Having a child friend in this time of the life is ideal. She's so fresh and alert, so one with her feelings, so inventive and uninhibited, I see in her my ideal human being, a pre-school child. Her spirit has not yet been trampled by experience. She lives in a world of people who love her and want to help her learn to live in this world. I'd been at the house an hour or more watching the race. We had been stretching the toy. She'd wrap it around her fingers and wrist several times. She looked at me, her eyes had the same look she looks at her mother with, round, smiling big, and said, "Are you glad to see me?" I said, "Yes I am glad to see you." It tickled her. She cracked me up, made me laugh and she laughed. We went on pulling the toy as far as it would stretch.    

rocks talking
photos by tj worthington



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Sunday, April 26, 2015

PATTERNS OF CHANCE

four quartets: the universe
by tj worthington

This new project has been finished a couple days. Original intent was to see it sideways. It was ok, but I like vertical better. Original vision was vertical. Sideways, I liked how it looked like an open book. Vertically, I see a beaded curtain. I turned it often while applying the dots. Did not want to fall into patterns. This one was slow to take with me. I'd never done anything like this before. It was totally new to my experience. I've learned the material object does not always accord with the hologram vision in the head. The idea of it drew me to do it. Some ideas are best left to fade away, so I don't trust all my ideas. Some need to be tried before I see they don't work. And some do work. The finished piece tells me if the vision, itself, worked. I've noticed from writing about the recent projects, when I vary from the original vision, I usually return to it. It's helping me trust original vision more. All dots were applied consciously avoiding patterns. It's hardly chance, though the color arrangements in each line fell by chance. The dots were applied in a quarter section at a time. I wanted each quartet to have its own energy. In dim light across the room it looks like four pages of Chinese writing, white on black. I like the regular rows of colors arranged by apparent chance, like words on a page. If I were to go over a page of any writing in English and mark a color on every occurrence of the word the, the order of the markings would appear to be absence of order, though reading it, the words occur in perfect order.  Brings to mind a quotation from Henry Miller's, Big Sur, Confusion is an order which is not understood. I call it, The Universe, because we do not understand the universe, which has its order. We don't even understand ourselves, in which we have much order we're not aware of. 

cy twombly

I see in it a visualization of my view of the individual in the whole of humanity, or the whole of any group of people, herd of donkeys, school of fish, flock of birds. In winter, I see dozens of snowbirds pecking the seeds I throw on the ground. On first sight, the birds all look alike, slate-gray with white bellies. Watch awhile and one hops a little differently from the others, one has a wing that doesn't fold to its side just right, one has a lighter gray than the others, another has a darker gray. They vary in sizes. I go on watching and it's not long before I recognize a the same ones every day. Each one is uniquely individual. If I were small enough to see their faces, I'd see they have individual faces. Among themselves, each one is as radically unique as individual humans, like in a classroom at school, where all know each other, have their favorites and the ones they don't like. I see in the birds, too, they have individuals they're partial to and the ones they stay away from. I see in a herd of cows they have their friends they stay near much of the time and the ones they avoid. The cattle, like the birds, have no laws and they live in peace. Occasionally, two cows will have a disagreement and settle it however it suits them, a butting of heads or a head in the side, and that's it, a body language argument. We have perpetual war, but in most places on earth people are living in peace. In this county, we have peace. In the next counties, north, south, east and west, they live in peace. It is only in huge population centers where certain people are kept in poverty because their pigmentation is not acceptable in the world of business, gangs and gang wars occur. In the country, two guys get into it and they fight. After they fight, they're friends. 

alberto giacometti

In these almost daily writings, I see patterns running through them while each one is uniquely itself. I go into each one blank with no intentions or ideas. Start with one sentence, follow it with another, then another. Most often, after a few sentences, and in some cases several sentences, I see a line of thinking, then follow it to see where it goes. I learned from an old hillbilly preacher in the Regular Baptist church, to allow lines of thinking to come forward. In the old-time way of preaching, the man steps up to the pulpit with nothing in mind to say, an empty vessel, as they called it. Often, they'd apologize for having nothing to say, then it hit them and it was on. A strict part of the tradition is that the preacher go into his talking with nothing in mind to talk about, the spirit comes in and away he goes. I don't think of my writing as preaching in any way I look at it, though I like the process of allowing whatever is floating around inside rise to the surface and spell itself out. I start with what is in the front of my mind when I put down the first sentence. A flow of thought occurs and I follow it. I think of it as organic writing, a term coined by poet Denise Levertov, whose collected poems have recently been published. Organic in that it grows from inside itself. In the almost-daily writings, I'm recording the thoughts and experiences of one individual, in one place, in one time. It doesn't matter that it's me. I've cut out half the possible viewers by being so freely anti-republican politically. Republicans have become marionettes of the super-rich, power by money. I'm more inclined to honor the working class man and woman than the ruling class. I know how dispiriting working your ass off every day for very little return can be with no end in sight but death.

bill day

I used to have hopes about the fate of the working man and woman, but hope has long gone from my list of desires. I crossed the line from living with hope to living without hope after seeing the Civil War movie, Glory. Drove to Winston-Salem to see it. Friends I share movie interests with liked it. It tore me up more powerfully than almost any move has. I recall walking to my truck, then a crayola blue 78 Toyota pickup with a red door driver's side. I sat down and couldn't turn to key to start. Sat there, hands on steering wheel, unable to come down out of my head enough to drive. I told self with full meaning to give up hope, give it up now, be done with it permanently, prayed as much from the heart as ever to have hope removed from my life, meaning it enough to commit. I still have automatic hopes to some degree, but give them little attention. I watched the regiment of black men, all of them enlisted in the war motivated by belief they were helping their black brothers and sisters, wives and children, mothers and fathers. Intelligent people, uneducated, seeming naive. In the story, I saw black man in relation to white man. In my own case, it was working class man in relation to corporate man. In either case, the little man doesn't stand a chance. If I were to protest and demonstrate, I'd only get beat up by cops, hospitalized or killed. The black men in the regiment dreamed they could one day live a free life. In the end, they were all killed in a suicide attack, a lesser version of Gallipoli. The most symbolic moment of the film was one second long, a head exploding hit by a cannonball. The film exploded my head. I drove home in a new mind. Living it, I've come to see the illusion I suspected hope is, strongly enough to jump in and see. Result, mind calmed way down. Don't worry~Be happy.  




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Saturday, April 25, 2015

SAYING GOODBYE

giacometti

A few hours ago it came to me for the first time, of all my friends who have died, I've not had a conversation with any them at the end of their lives about glad-to-know-ya, or anything. It has stayed in my mind to the point I've almost come to tears a few times thinking about missed opportunities. At the same time, I can remember thinking about it, but feeling it presumptuous, or seeming so. I was with friend Jr Maxwell in his dying months. Even toward the end giving him tootsie-pop sponges on a stick soaked in water several times a day to keep his mouth wet and provide a bit of water. The times I thought about saying something like, I've held you the highest of anyone I've ever known, rationally more than emotionally, it felt presumptuous. It was saying, You're gonna die. I did not feel like he needed to be reminded. He knew it better than I did. He went with every day like this is what we're doing today. He had his own thoughts on his demise and needed no more. He didn't like anybody invading his mind. I never did with him like Hospice recommends, talk about death and God and Jesus, like nobody gets it about dying. The man was 87 years old. None of however many days he lived was spent in front of a television. He was baptized when he was 11. Grew up in Liberty church in Whitehead. We'd already talked about his belief. He said once he believed the Ten Commandments covered it all. Another time he said he prayed every day. Another time he said he prayed every day to be lifted out of this lifetime. 

giacometti

He didn't need a conversation about him dying. I went with the attitude that my behavior tells my meaning more clearly than talking. I felt like he spoke his version of the deathbed chat the day he said to me a few weeks before his mind went away, "We're more than friends. We're more like brothers." I felt his meaning. There was something to it. In one way of looking at it, close to his way at the time, all of his friends had betrayed him in one way or another in his last years. A niece shouted in his face one day, like louder is better, "Yer loosin yer MIND, Uncle Junior!" There wasn't much he could say. I said, "He doesn't need reminding." She was the same as the one who asked me on the day he died, "Where did Uncle Junior hide his money?" She'd already stolen so much from him, hidden money was all that was left of what she wanted. She wasn't the only one who believed he had hidden money. He had no money at all, lived as cheaply as I do. Every time she was in the house and he wasn't there, she'd find his liquor and pour it out. She thought she was stopping him from drinking, when she was only costing him a lot of money he didn't have much of. She, who lectured him about drinking as if from on high, was a pain-pill and "oxy-codeine" junkie. The ones who wanted money they believed he had hidden were suspecting me of being there to take advantage of him and get his money. They didn't notice their obvious motives were transparent. 

giacometti

Two half-great-nieces were the worst. Neither one of them knew him at all. I called them the Absentee Police. They dropped in for three minutes every month to inspect the house. One day they called Social Services and said there was shit in the bed. SS came to inspect. No shit in the bed. He knew they were there by, "Hello Uncle Junior," and, "Goodbye Uncle Junior." I'd see them drive up the driveway, go to my reading seat and pick up the book I was reading. They came in with such arrogant attitudes I learned to ignore them. They'd go all over the place inspecting while I sat and read. Going out the door, it was, "Don't work too hard TJ!" And I'd reply, "Don't worry about it." Calling them the Absentee Police was my PC way of calling them bitches. I saw one of them around five years later and was still so enraged I couldn't speak. I looked at the ground to say leave me alone, I don't have to put up with you anymore, and will not. Didn't have to put up with them then, though assessed it easier to let it go by than get more bitch-games going. I often remember what an aunt told me years ago, If you don't want it started, don't start it. In the time his mind was fading, a social worker said he seemed down that day. I told her he'd learned too many times who of his friends are not his friends. She looked at him for his assessment of what I'd said. He affirmed it with a nod. Then she turned sad. Every one of them had abandoned him or betrayed him. And then there were the surprises, the ones who showed they really cared about him, ones he had not known cared so much. 

giacometti

Toward the end, these were the ones I called to say if you want to see him one more time, come on today. One of the most moving moments for me was when I called his cousin, Richard Joines, the day before Jr's spirit left the body and told him today is your last chance to see Jr. He was there right away. He lived just over the hill, but two miles by road. They'd made music together, worked bulldozers on big projects together, known each other all the way along. That day, Jr was lying on the side of his bed farthest from the door, where he never slept. Jr was lying there, mind completely gone, body too weak to sit up, like a newborn baby aware of light and dark and not much else. Richard walked around the bed and Jr watched, puzzled by who this could be. He recognized him when Richard approached. Jr's arms went straight up toward Richard and I saw with my eyes two beams of light go from Jr's eyes to Richard's when Jr said, "Richard." The beams were like from a pocket flashlight. I left the room saying to self, this is for them, not me. Richard was moved deeply and thanked me from his heart later for calling. When Jr still had his mind and I had the radio show, I'd play his music from time to time and ask everyone who remembered him to give him a call or drop by. Those weekends he had phone calls all day and sometimes somebody from the past would drop in. Though I never spoke with him about how much I appreciated who he was/is, I was aware at the time of letting my behavior tell it. I asked people in the grocery store who knew him to call or stop by. Every call and visit gave a little light to every boring day waiting to die. He understood better than I did that dying is what we do.       

giacometti himself


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

DONKEY POWER

jenny eats her sweet grain

Yesterday, a brake line sprung a leak. Appointment for 1:30 today. Drove the eight miles carefully, plotted the route uphill the first mile, downhill four miles in a gentle slope requiring little brake activity. Downhill another mile, rather steep at the beginning, drop down into lower gear to keep from needing brakes, a gentle downhill grade levelled out for the next three miles with an fairly long uphill toward the end, a right turn at the top of the hill, no brakes necessary, and level for the next half mile. Made it with still enough brakes to stop when needed, like the time someone backed out of a driveway in front of me, unaware a car was in sight. I was glad for what brake I had to stop. If the brake had failed, I'd have used the emergency brake by foot. Found it and put my foot on it for the feel of where it was before I pulled out of the parking space. It would stop, but it was slow to stop. I had to start braking before I otherwise would. It was just a matter of being careful like driving on ice. I've passed my driving on ice test several times on as many kinds of ice. Driving on ice requires absolute focus of attention and knowing your car. I'm glad I'm able to take this front-wheel drive v6 Buick almost anyplace I can take a 4-wheel drive pickup. The 4-wheel drive goes on ice just a little better than front-wheel. A few years ago, I couldn't make it up a certain rise in the road up the mountain from Pine Swamp, almost, but not quite. I knew the 4-wheel I drove before could have made it, though barely. The new brake line required dipping into the well of credit card. I don't like to go there, but figure this is what they're for, necessity. Not that I mind going to amazon a few times a month. 

jack eats his sweet grain

Also yesterday, I took the sweet grain to the donkeys later than usual. They were grazing at the far end of the meadow. I always pour the grain over the fence, because they get rambunctious in their jealous anxiety. They're so excited they squeal, snort, kick, have a body language argument. 

Jack: I want it now, can't stand waiting, now, gotta have it now, please, please, now.

Jenny: Get outta my way. I'm first. Move it. Get outta here. Now. I'll kick your ass. 

Jack: Oh no, can't stand to see Jenny eat and me have none. Squeal. Grunt. Snort. Moan. I can't stand it another second. 

I pour his out for him, most of it bouncing off his head after he goes for the first grains to fall. He doesn't mind. He likes to feel it. Jenny, too, dives into it as soon as the grain starts pouring, liking the feel of it bouncing off her head. Sweet grain from heaven. Neither Jenny nor Jack like me to to talk to them while they're having their treat. They're busy not only eating, but guarding what they're eating, their back ends aimed at each other. This makes it necessary to pour their grain at least three donkey lengths apart. Less than a donkey length between their rear ends makes them anxious, ready to fight off the other, though there never is a threat, until Jenny leaves her grain and pushes Jack away from his. She eats his grain and he goes and finishes hers. It's how they do with hay too.  

jack and jenny

I walked out into the meadow quite a ways before they looked up. Both took off at a gallop straight at me, Jack braying, Jenny squealing. They were so excited they ran to me too fast to stop on the wet ground and grass, and ran by me, one on either side almost touching me with their sides. It was a rush of power. I felt the power in these huge horse forms running wide open within inches of me on either side. Neither one touched me because neither one intended to. It got my attention in a big way. They were huge and powerful. I thought of the Plains Indians riding their horses in a herd of stampeding buffalo, hanging on with their legs while they use bow and arrow with their arms. If they don't hit it just right, buffalo and horse running full speed, the buffalo will fall into the horse, horse and man hit the ground and are trampled to death immediately. The feeling when the donkeys ran by gave me a glimpse of the physical power those guys rode with, from the Comanches to the Lakota. I've not been around horses much. Their power overwhelms me. Two full-sized donkeys on either side of me in their power was like a gust of hundred mph wind for a second. They turned and came back to me, bumping each other, biting at each other, Jenny swinging around at Jack, Jack swinging around at Jenny, and me in the middle. I knew they would not kick me or step on me. The feeling of their power in a brief sparring match was strong, inches away all the way around. Jenny swung her rear end around at me. I put my hand on her rump to stop the momentum. The touch of my hand took the fire out of her. She calms all the way down when I put my hand on her rump like that to stop her. Jack calmed down. I poured the grain for them and got my puny human ass out of there. It was not my power that stopped her, but the gentleness in the gesture.

jenny and jack

My hand against the power of a donkey is no more than a gesture. First couple of times, I put my hand up reflexively to give myself leverage to get away from her. I found every time she quieted down at merely the touch of my hand. I can't stop a donkey from doing anything with one hand, not even with two hands. Jack and Jenny are evidence to me that gentleness works far better than force. I know that I cannot force a donkey. I do not ever attempt to force either one in any way. Their only experience with me has been gentleness and feeding them. When I touch them, it's not to control. I'm their waiter at the donkey hay restaurant and serve them carrots every morning. I talk to them in a friendly tone of voice. I never have scolded or barked at one of them. I'll let out a yelp when Jenny swings her rear end around at me. The yelp catches her attention and my hand on her rump calms her down. My feeling is that she recognizes she is in automatic sparring mode and the touch of my hand reminds her it's her friend between her and Jack. It shows me a great deal of caring and respect. I wanted to see what they would do with me holding the grain container in their midst. It's pretty wild. I stayed this side of the fence today. They get so rampageous with each other over the sweet grain, I don't feel comfortable standing between them while they're sparring. They don't even kick each other anymore. They make kicking gestures and seldom make contact with anything but their back knees. The power I felt in their midst, them jealous and fired up with ears back, swinging around quick as a cat, gave me a good sense of their immense bodies. That I am safe among such powerful beings gives me evidence that gentleness and respect train without training. 
    
jenny and jack


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

THE KITTENS AND THE DOG

hans silvester

Going back in my mind yesterday telling Caterpillar's origin, Tapo stays with me. She's been on my mind all day. She left the body soon after Tar Baby by a few months. Tar Baby was Tapo's friend. She loved Tar Baby. He loved her too. Tapo did not like Caterpillar, and I felt like she left the body after Tar Baby was gone to get away from Caterpillar. At about the time of puberty, Caterpillar took a stand-offish attitude toward Tapo and Tar Baby. She intimidated them, always threatening to fight if one came too close to her. She attacked Tapo and cornered her. I tried to stop her, but couldn't change her attitude toward Tapo. I would call her name when she'd corner Tapo, and Caterpillar would start backing up. I called her off of Tapo numerous times. Caterpillar stayed to herself after they differentiated. At first they were like one soul with three bodies and gradually differentiated into their unique personalities. In her youth, Tapo would walk around on the small branches of trees. I saw her one day climb the dogwood near the house. She walked out onto a small limb as far as she could go and it hold her. She sat down in the fork of two small limbs and swung up and down. When she'd had her fun, she stood up, a four-legged tightrope walker, and walked the branch back to the trunk. 

hans silvester

Tar Baby was good in trees, too. There was a time I took them with me when I went into the woods to sit on a rock for a few hours and watch the world around me breathe. The place I went to was as far as they would go into the forest where the wild things are looking for cats to eat. They knew what lived in these woods better than I did. I was watching Tar Baby this one day climb a tree on one side of the creek, and walk on the longest branch in the tree that leaned over the creek. He walked out to the end of the branch as far as it would hold him, and leaped onto a branch of a tree leaning over he creek from the other side where I was sitting. He walked to the tree trunk, walked down the trunk backwards, and walked over to where I was sitting. I've seen him jump across the creek from standing still, spring into the air, legs hanging down relaxed, and land on the other side. It was quite a thing to behold. Tar Baby would climb a tree to the very tip top, as close as he could get and it hold. Oh how I miss my babies. Tar Baby wanted to be one of the big guys. He wanted to be with me and Aster. He identified more with us than with Tapo and Caterpillar. He had an advanced mind for a cat. He wanted me and Aster to see that he was one of us. Aster didn't buy it. Tar Baby was, after all, a cat. 

hans silvester

I went walking up the road with Aster one day and Tar Baby wanted to go with us. He was young, had never been far from the house. His nerves overtook him when the house went out of sight. He got so nervous, he got a little heady. Aster was walking beside me, not by command, but by her preference at that moment. Tar Baby walked out ahead of us, feeling like he was doing something big. I could see his nervous jitters. At a distance of maybe thirty to forty feet, he looked back at us with curiosity. It was like he'd never seen us small before. He looked at Aster and I saw the spark in his eye that said, I'm gonna do it. He came galloping straight at Aster with his back about half up. He was going to pounce on the dog. Now that Tar Baby was one of the big guys, it's ok to pounce on the dog and play. Aster stood still with her head hanging down and her eyes on Tar Baby's eyes. Tar Baby saw Aster's eyes and he hit the brakes. All four legs extended all the way, toes and claws grasping the gravel road for some grip, sliding sideways straight at Big Growler, eyes about to pop out of his head. Aster didn't move. Tar Baby's momentum came to rest inches from Aster's face. The split-second he stopped, he leaped from the center of the road to the tall grass at the side in a single move, flew up the bank and under the barbed wire fence. He walked with us the other side of the fence all the way home. 

hans silvester

The cats came to me after I'd been here twenty years. All those years I'd seen from time to time what I called the spirit cat. I would see it dart out of sight just as I looked. Never got a good look at it until one day I walked in the door after being gone two weeks. The spirit cat was standing in the middle of the floor. Startled, it paused for half a second and ran to a corner behind the corner table. I saw it plain as a cat in a body, a gray shadow. It darted when it ran and ran with tail straight up with a hook at the end. The kittens were born and grew up. I noticed Tapo was the same size and shape as the spirit cat, ran in short bursts of speed, darting, and her tail straight up with a hook at the end. Tapo was born ravenous. She ate until she couldn't eat any more, so glad to have a body. As she grew up she grew out, too. She became a bit chubby, which I suspected had a lot to do with keeping her weight up to Caterpillar's to help her wrestle Caterpillar. I was sitting on the chair one day with Tapo, talking to her. She was depressed over Caterpillar bullying her. I told her, when Caterpillar jumps on you, roll over on your back and rip her guts out with your back claws. She'll stop it. Not ten minutes later, Tapo was on the floor and Caterpillar walked in. She looked hard at Tapo and pounced on her. Tapo rolled onto her back, raked Caterpillar's belly with her claws, and Caterpillar jumped off her and was gone. She only did it a couple of times. My feeling was that she didn't want to hurt Caterpillar, didn't want to fight her. Tapo wanted to be left in peace. I never saw the spirit cat again after Tapo was born. I was grateful the spirit cat was able to have a body delivered to it and set it back into the rhythm of births and deaths. No more stuck without a body. And grateful I had a chance to know my spirit companion of so many years.
    
hans silvester himself


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CATERPILLAR AND HER FAMILY

caterpillar

It's been a lazy day, slept about all day after a good sleep all night. Awake, I didn't want to do anything.but scroll facebook for the distraction of it. Another form of tv full of commercials. A brief interview with Lou Reed turned up. Videos of cats are always funny. They make me want a young cat in the house again. For real companionship, Caterpillar is the only cat I want. She'll be eighteen on Mother's Day. She sleeps much of the time. We have a deep bond. She was born here to a feral cat who took up under the house in hard winter when two inches of ice were on the ground for two weeks. I heard her crying under the house. She would not let me see her. I took water and catfood to her daily. The water froze in the night. I talked to her while she hid. She came out and let me see her after a month. Gradually, she let me touch her. She was a calico after a tumble in a blender. I named her Celina for a tango dancer in a Julio Cortazar story, The Gates of Heaven. After some weeks with Celina, I was able to pick her up for a short time. One day I noticed her belly felt like something was in there. I made a nest for her, a cardboard box with hay in the bottom, inside what had once been a chicken shed, used for storing wood out of the weather. Her babies were born on Mother's Day. Dog Aster became friends with Celina. Cat rubbed on Aster's legs. The cat who lived here at the time, Peck, hated having Celina in her territory, fought her every time she found her outside the shed. One morning when I went out to give her fresh water and catfood, she was thin again. I opened the top of the box and saw three tiny blind kittens, two black, one gray. Next morning I picked each one up and looked at it closely. 

tapo

At two weeks old, their eyes opened. That morning I went out to see Celina and the babies. She was not in. I did not know the shed had an escape hole for the cat. Obviously it did. I headed back for the house. Aster was with me. A neighbor's car went down the road. Aster, recognizing the car, took off running to meet him where I park the car. Aster started running and I saw next to my car, Celina sitting. She saw Aster running toward her full blast and darted across the road, under the passing car. Another cat to bury. It was such of string of events, like falling dominoes, no one of the moments in the chain of events was to blame. It was a matter of 1-2-3-dead cat. She left me with her babies two weeks old. I gathered them into a paper grocery bag and carried them to the vet to ask for advice and to buy some kitten formula. Vet told me they would not live. I didn't refute him, but I knew they would live. I knew they needed mother's love as much as her milk to live on. I switched on Mother and became their mother. I fixed a place in a corner with two boards standing on edge for barrier and kept paper and food inside for them. I spent a lot of time holding them and talking to them. Caterpillar was named first. Her first day walking, she was a furry gray with black stripes and long curving white hair in her ears. She looked like a Japanese ink drawing of a kitten. She hunched and stretched like a caterpillar walking and looked like a furry caterpillar. I felt a special affection for Tar Baby, next to be named. I remembered Tar Baby from Uncle Remus, he'll stick to me, and Sade's beautiful song about a mixed-race child. Tapo, also black, I named Tadpole for being so wiggly. After some weeks of being called Tadpole, Tapo let me know in some subtle way that she didn't like her name, it wasn't her. I didn't want to change it too much, and shortened it to Tapo. It has a different ring to it, a higher vibration. She liked Tapo, pronounced like taco. 

caterpillar

Feeding them by bottle was wild time. I would be feeding one and the other two would climb up my pant legs. Tapo and Caterpillar were ravenous. They drank every time in full fervor until they passed out. Tar Baby stayed out of the melee and waited his turn. Early on, Tapo had me feeding her twice, thinking she was Tar Baby the second time. One day I saw him wobbly and weak, realized he was starving. I then fed Caterpillar first so I'd know when I put one down, which was which. My mother love fell in love with my babies. I remember being surprised at how soon they learned their own names and the names of the others. Aster had one rule with the kittens: stay off the dog. One of their early games was to crawl toward the dog and make the dog growl. Dog would growl and the kitten would shrink back to the others. They'd been walking a bit, had not yet discovered running. Tar Baby, for the first time, wandered into the kitchen out of sight of the others. He saw Aster from a distance for the first time. Evidently, she was smaller than he'd ever seen her. I saw the spark in his eyes when he said, "I'm gonna do it." He ran at dog, took a flying squirrel leap and landed on Aster's rump, sleeping on her bed. Quicker than thought, Aster was on her feet, turned around and had her open mouth completely over Tar Baby, him sitting inside dog's mouth, dog growling like a bear. Aster raised her head and revealed Tar Baby sitting there frozen stiff, unable even to shudder. The kittens on the floor froze in place. Gradually, Tar Baby crept slowly to the edge of Aster's bed and to the floor. The three kittens in a trance crawled to the center of the floor, piled on top of each other in a ball of three kittens and fell asleep. 

caterpillar

Peck, the cat who lived here, hated having Celina's kittens in her house. Every time she passed them, she'd make a face and hiss. I tried talking with her, explaining they are not here to take her place, they need a home, they're babies, they came to us for care. It was the same as talking to a rock. The kittens learned to stay away from her at the start. I called her Aunt Peck. Eventually, the kittens would hide when they saw her and jump out in front of her on the way to the water bowl. She'd hiss, the kittens would laugh. Their game became making Aunt Peck hiss. I told Peck they are growing up and they'll be her friends if she's nice to them while they're little. She wouldn't have it. The kittens grew a little more and the game turned into pounce on Aunt Peck. She really hated that game. She'd squirm out from under them and hiss. They laughed like crazy. Tar Baby, the bravest of them, found his fun in stepping up beside her and laying a front leg across her back, a half-pounce. She'd twist out from under him and hiss. He and the the other kittens laughed. I talked to Peck, reminded her the kittens are growing up, she'd do well to be nice to them or they'll grow up not liking her. She didn't want them to like her. My love for Peck did not diminish. I showed her more affection when she was around than the kittens. It didn't matter. She saw I had fallen in love with the kittens, unacceptable. She left when they were a year old. She'd had enough of them. I never saw her again, though I felt a communication when she died. She left when she was 9. Would have been 14 when the feeling came to me she'd died. She was a darling blond cat with white tips on her hair. She loved Aster. Aster mothered her when she was a tiny kitten. I couldn't let any of my babies go. Could not tolerate the idea that somebody might mistreat one and give it a miserable life. I couldn't take that chance. I knew they would be safe with me. Caterpillar is the only one left. In her I have all of them.
    



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Sunday, April 19, 2015

RAINY DAY RAMBLE

foot of somebody's bed
by tj worthington

Woke up in the morning, saw the new project I thought was finished with the white against the blue. Didn't like it at all. I knew in a tenth of a second the original vision I'd rejected was It, afraid it would be too dark. Conceptual vision was all blue. I put the blue I wanted to use on the frame and thought it too dark to make the whole thing such dark blue. None of the other colors worked out that I thought might be better. Two colors somehow trivializes the composition, raises it to its least potential. Even before taking carrots to the donkeys, I took brush and painted blue over all the white, and it sang. The blue was it. I like how the shadows work on the dark blue better than on white. The shadows are black. And the light lightens the blue considerably. The reclining T, the foot of the bed, is outlined with a black line. In dim light across the room, as it is now, it is a dark rectangle with a ghost of the reclining T, and the ghost of the frame's edge. I like how the blue makes such black shadows. Brings to mind the Stones album, Black and Blue, a favorite. It was one of their blues albums. I like how the blue paint changes with the light. This is simple as it gets. I was concerned that two colors on this one might be toeing in a little too close to complex. Needed to step back to original shape and nothing else. All one color and dark, it is subtle. Two colors, it is not subtle at all. This particular one I feel works best subtle. Good to have it settled.



Rain all day today and the forecast says big rain tomorrow with storm. A good time to open the door for Caterpillar to look outside, see the rain, back up and say she's seen enough. She doesn't climb trees or stalk birds anymore. Before, she would go into the woods across the road, sit still until she became a gray rock. Birds paid her no mind, another gray rock. The camouflage gave her the advantage. Now, she sits or lies on the ground where I feed the birds, sits still and watches the birds peck all around her. Her whiskers twitch and she makes involuntary squeaking sounds. She never jumps at them anymore, only watches. She quit hunting five or so years ago. I have seen her leap straight up about four feet and swat at a flying snowbird. The time I saw it, she hit a wing, set the bird to wobbling, but it caught control and flew away. I realized then she was experienced swatting birds out of the air. I didn't like it, but accepted it as the way of nature, advancing the birds to their next lifetime. I never felt right about the cats killing so many birds, but I don't feel right taking so much trash to the dump, either. Maybe a snowbird becomes a nuthatch next time around. Environment consciousness has been an issue with me all my life. It took awhile for our polluted condition to get into corporate news, like it took a long while for the press to dare note police brutality. Propaganda news tells us about Russia and China not being free like we are. They don't have even remotely near as much killing as we in USA have, not near the prison population, not near as many people bullied by cops and killed by cops. The press calls the killer cops rogue. When it is the same all over the country, cop murders turning up daily as randomly as school shootings appeared a few years ago, all giving the same justification, "I feared for my life," it's scripted.



Who speaks Elizabethan English in working class America unless scripted? The attitude is that the cops are at war with the population. They are trained and equipped for war with us. The orders come from on high, and I don't mean Jesus. This is the law enforcement of corporate police state serving prisons for profit, and keepin the niggers scared. He had a gun. He had a knife. He reached for my gun. I appreciate the people making cell phone videos of the mafia style beatings and the killings at their own serious risk. It requires a readiness to take whatever comes next. I see DOJ investigating the Ferguson killing like I see police departments investigating themselves. If DOJ is not where orders come from, DOJ is complicit with where they come from. We had an internal investigation and found everything according to protocol. The protocol must be the problem, not rogue cops. Of course, they're careful only to kill or brutalize the poor, who lack the resources for recourse in court. It is a physical manifestation, a measure of how much the American working class, middle class and ruling class hate the poor. It used to be indifference. In corporate police state, propaganda has turned the indifference to active hatred. And the people wanting them to kill even more niggers call themselves Christians, brag about it aggressively, the fundamentalists who want to force everybody else to worship their vengeful God of racial purity, fear and punishment. They give all other Christians a bad name, the Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Lutherans, Episcopalians and other varieties I can't think of. It's something like ISIS usurping the name Islamic State.



It's at this point I don't like to think about it further. It's merely an explanation of how things got this way, and to follow the line of thought from there on drifts into the bog of engagement, which I don't care to commit to. I'm just reading what I see. Yesterday, at the gas station talking with the woman at the register I know to be a False News watcher, which is ok by me. I like her, we have brief conversations when I pay for gas. Two black women came in while I was paying. My heart opened to them with a loving empathy, sorrow for having a glimmer of an idea of the genuine fear they have of the police and white people, growing up and living their whole lives knowing their pigmentation is a target. I felt an impulse to kneel down, touch my forehead to the nearest woman's feet, and bawl in shame. Now that I've seen what police have done to black people all my life that I did not know about, no attention given it by the press, I feel a deep repentance when I see someone black, not for anything I've done, but for the color of my skin. They bring the shame I feel to the surface, identification with my pigmentation for the pain and sorrows "my people" do and have dealt "her people." I can't do anything to change any of it, but I don't have to be it inside myself. I'm grateful to see in myself that I have become someone unable to hate. I don't hate the so-called Christians, because I feel like I understand them to some degree. I came up in the world of people who usurped the word Christian, and ran for my life. So grateful I had what it took to run.    





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Friday, April 17, 2015

FOOT OF SOMEBODY'S BED IN PROGRESS

foot of somebody's bed

Working on an art project. It has slipped away from original vision. The colors in my mind and the colors working together in composition, seen by the external eye, were quite different. I liked the colors, but did not like the feeling in them together. It's feeling I play with visually. Feeling is number one. I may do too much of only one range of feelings. I look for a feeling of calm, of stillness, the relaxed, quiet stillness of a pond's surface in early morning. I look for this quiet in the simplest form of the fewest lines. Perhaps, my search for this quiet in the painting before, of round fruits and vegetables, followed by musicians, took me close enough to these minimal lines I'm playing with now, the magnetic draw of the most simple, itself, pulled me the rest of the way. I found the stillness I looked for in the most simple lines, using shadow and light. This one I'm laying the paint to keeps on changing before my eyes. I want one thing, see it and don't want it. I feel like I'm tuning what's seen by the outer eye to the vision seen by the inner eye. And the other way around, tuning inner eye to outer eye. Going with what works. I've been painting the parts and this morning put them together to see what it's getting at. You can see in the pictures fingerprints and the general mess of handling. Will put final coat on the blue parts when the parts are fixed in place. Next step is screwing the vertical and horizontal lines into place from the back. Puzzling over how to keep the parts in place on the front while drilling from the back, it came to glue them down, let the glue dry, then drill from behind and insert screws without messing up the alignment of the parts.



The white surface behind the lines has been a light brown, white, red, and back to white. The light brown looked great in my mind's eye, but next to the blue, it killed both colors. One color drained the life out of the other. I like the white, but felt a soft red would be better. The red killed it too. Did not want to use yellow. White it had to be. White brought the whole to life. I was somewhat inhibited seeing the blue and white as school colors. But concluded white and blue still look good together without the association, even with it. Using a color other than white was the beginning of complex. I like the raw simplicity of white, like a sheet of paper or a gessoed canvas. The white paint I'm using has a soft touch of gray in it that does no more than soften the stark quality of refrigerator white. White makes a better screen for the shadows. A cadmium red would have worked well with the blue, but again, first step into complex. The point is a vertical line in relation to a horizontal line inside a rectangle. The white allows it to suggest no more than lines in relation to each other. The wood of the frame is three inches deep. The wood for the "bed" is an inch and three-quarters deep. They cast a wide shadow. The pictures show the lines in four directions of relation to light source, in this case the open door. The shadows it makes are better than I saw in mind's eye. I like using shadow in the composition, a third color that is not there, a large part of the composition that changes with the direction the light falls onto it. Initially, the back was masonite. I did not want the smooth side or the side with the window-screen mesh pattern. Cut some paper from a feed bag and glued it to the rough side of the masonite.



I knew I could not glue a piece of paper to it and the paper be smooth like the other side of the masonite. I did not want perfectly smooth. I knew wrinkles would happen in the paper gluing it down, so I spread it and smoothed it the best I could, without taking too much care. I wanted what wrinkles happened to be despite me, not composed by mind. I cut the paper by eye, instead of measuring, I wanted an uneven edge allowing chance a role. I wanted a tiny bit of the masonite weave around the edge. In some places it's a quarter inch, in some places I didn't quite leave any space. Good. All I wanted was uneven all the way around. It only shows slightly, but it accords with the wrinkles in the paper, texture made by chance. The frame and the two lines are so totally mind, I wanted the context of the white to have some unforeseen in it to balance the straight lines of mind. I questioned in the beginning if allowing chance might be a step into the complex. Yes it is, yet it saves the whole from being all mind, gives balance. It looks accidental, not-mind. I feel like it's a view of our existence. We live in mind in a world that is not-mind. We use one to balance and fine tune the other. I think of it as learning how to live in this world. I believe this is what the Tao is about, learning to accord mind with the illusion we call reality, individual mind with the way of nature, cycles, tuning in to invisible forces, what I think of as natural laws, like karma, which works as surely as gravity, the flow. If the finished project shows what I think I'm putting into it remains to be seen. My aim is to finish it after I finish this writing. Letting the glue settle under the weight of two rather large books, Louise Gluck's, Poems 1962-2012, and Robert Bly's, Stealing Sugar From The Castle.


 
Next step is to drill four holes from the back from the holes already in the masonite, to drill holes for the screws in the wood parts. Then run the screws in, then fix the back to the frame, fix a hanger to the back, turn it over, repaint the blue and touch up the white. There was a time in the visioning period I saw black and white. I liked it, but it seemed too obvious, too expected. The blue has a different resonance, more in line with the feeling I was looking for in it. Black with white, they're loud as a truck horn. The blue with white eases the intensity down to a car horn. Colors other than white would have rendered the shadows invisible or nearly so. I wanted the back to be a screen for the shadows, the reason for using deep lines instead of flat lines. Using cardboard would have made shadow lines, too, though the deep wood casts bigger shadows. In indirect light it would make no shadows and that's good too. Any direction the light comes into it leaves its own particular shadow pattern. I've been fussing with it in my mind for a few weeks. The frame I've had in the house at least fifteen years. I found a strip of wood a couple inches deep. I cut these two parts from it using the hand jigsaw. The drill, the jigsaw and the palm sander I keep in a bag together. When I need one, I often need another or all of them. These are the tools I use now, plus a hammer. The purpose in what I'm doing now with art projects is using materials in the house I have picked up over the years, something I could do something with some day. That day is now. I'm not putting things out the door, but keeping them in new combinations. I have so much of that kind of clutter in the house, my living space has become my studio. Need a part, go to the junk room and find one.

by tj worthington



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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CATFISH HEALED AND HOME

henri rousseau

The appointment to see auto mechanic was 1:30. I went out to the car at 12:30 to pour two quarts of fluid down the narrow tube with the only funnel I have, which turned out to be exactly the right size, like a wrench. I don't even know if the tube with the dipstick was the place to add fluid. Read the owner's manual on how to add fluid without destroying the transmission. No mention at all of where to pour the fluid. For that one, I was on my own. I did the only thing I could see to do. It worked. Drove to the shop, transmission working like usual, soft rain, wipers about half speed, water puddles in the road. I ran through nearly every one of them, washing the mud off the underside of the car. Didn't have a chance to wash it off for three dollars with a pressure-washer in town. Chuck put it up on the lift and the underside was cleaner than if I'd washed it. The problem was a hose, a small hose about a foot long had sprung a leak where it rubbed against a corner it bent around until it rubbed a hole. The parts store in town delivers right away. Easy to fix. The part and labor cost about a tenth of what I went there prepared in my mind to pay. I was also having two new horns installed. The horns on the car were not stock, came from I don't know what, Appalachian-American (redneck) rigged, as we call it around here. I had trouble-shot the electrical leak to the horns and removed the fuse to the line the horns work on. Goodbye radio antenna, clock, door locking and unlocking device, interior lights. I had not noticed how much I rely on the clock. Only driving by way of schedule, I like to know the time. And I like to listen to Charlotte NPR talk shows during the day in fifteen and twenty minute clips. Sometimes Fresh Air, Robin Young, Diane Rehm, The World, have some interesting subjects to talk about. They give trips to town and back some left brain activity to accompany the right brain of driving.  

henri rousseau

I felt refreshed learning the transmission was taken care of, the problem not on the inside. Chuck played the new horns for me. They are loud, like big truck loud. I sometimes tap a horn to alert deer at night grazing beside the road. They don't know what the two lights are. In deer culture, the ones that find out what the lights are don't live to tell it. This horn duet will get their attention. I tap the horn, too, when I pass Ross's shop and where my friend of many years, Tina, works. While Chuck was working on the car, I went to Crystal's sign-making shop, next to her dad's shop, to see her and visit. A young Alleghany woman came in about some custom tshirts she wanted made. She wore a jacket with a third-world array of rhinestones on the back in a big pattern, covered the whole back. She had tight jeans with rhinestone designs on the back pockets. I was thinking, There's a woman I'm told, thinks what's glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven. Jimmy Page outer-space guitar solo. And what a hillbilly accent. I was curious for Crystal to tell me how she handled an issue with day-care personnel, one in particular, where Vada was concerned. She had legitimate cause, would handle it a thousand times better than I could. She did handle it well. It worked out so well for her she did not have to call the powerful woman within for backup. She spoke with the administrator, who understood what she was saying when the option of taking Vada out of the facility came up, a hefty amount a month. Crystal is good at making herself understood. She does it gently and mindfully. She was working on some tshirt orders. She's learning the process, teaching herself well. I had her make one for a friend's birthday coming up next week. 

henri rousseau

In Chuck's shop today, I heard a cut-loose fiddle tune and a tear-jerker gospel tune sung so beautifully in the hillbilly way it pulled both Chuck and me out of our conversation for a moment. A major part of hillbilly singing the people from outside the mountains don't hear is how from the heart the singing is. It doesn't sound like it. You feel it. All mountain music is about feeling. I could see in my mind's eye the people in an old-time mountain church singing the song, not a dry eye in the house. In the old way, the church was called the meeting house, the house for brevity. I love it when I hear a beautiful song someplace by surprise. At Ross's tractor repair and welding shop, he has satellite radio set on outlaw country metal. It's some straight-ahead Americana rock n roll. I hear good grooves in there too, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Southern rock, the Stones. It felt today like I was riding a wave where everything flowed so smoothly no effort was involved in anything I did. It all flowed in a continuum of good feeling. First stop when I left Chuck's shop, Billings Tire & Auto, was the new auto parts store in town, O'Reilly's, to see about a battery charger. I've borrowed Allen's battery charger more times than he's used it. It was time to buy one. Found a good one listed at $120 on sale for $65. They had others for forty and fifty dollars, but only with slow-speed charge and extra-slow-speed. This one had an option for high-speed charging as well. The difference of a few hours or all day and all night. Found what I went in there for, got a good deal too. Stopped at the grocery store for catfood, drug store for pills and hardware store to have a spare set of keys made. Every step along the way felt good, accomplishing something that genuinely needed doing. And friendly associations at every stop. Even got a hug from Lynn Worth in Farmer's Hardware.  

henri rousseau

Stopped by the coffee shop for a pound of Ethiopian coffee and a cup of the coffee of the day. Saw Bob Bamberg and we talked. He was alarmed by the repeated news of cops killing unarmed black men, women and children, retarded people of any race, homeless, poor people without recourse. I felt jaded hearing his bewilderment. He's bored in his retired years, talking about finding a job, something to do. I was taken a little aback. I'm loving my retirement so much there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm busy all the time with something, allowing self days when I don't feel like doing anything at all but sleep and watch movies. Those are my battery charging days. Naps are about recharging. At home after a successful drive of no engine problems, I took shoes and socks off, stretched out on the bed, pulled on the cover and couldn't sleep. I relaxed and waited til feeling like getting up. I find to lie there and rest is as good as sleep for a quick recharge. Needed to go to Carpenter's house and have a shower, it being a warm day. I noticed on the deck that the phoebe is back, building a nest high on a rafter. Tiny mud splashes sprinkled the deck in front of one of two doors. Judy does not like this. I agree with her, the worst place for a bird nest, except for the bird it's great. Being in a place of exploring gentleness instead of force, I can't knock the bird nest down, but can persuade the bird to suspect the security of this location. I have a toy snake a couple feet long made of a hundred or more slices of wood that allow it to wiggle like a snake. Freaky likeness in the wiggle. Bought it for a dollar. I found some black spray paint and painted the wooden snake a glossy blacksnake. In the morning, I will put the blacksnake on the deck table, a light tan octagon. I believe the bird will see it. I'll go up daily and move it to a new place. If it doesn't work after a few days, I'll find a long branch on the ground in the woods and put the blacksnake on the rafter beside the nest. That'll do it.     

selfie by henri rousseau


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