Google+ Followers

Monday, May 25, 2015

DECIPHERING DESTINY

karl horst hodicke


Looking back at how and why I came to where I am, living in solitude in Blue Ridge Mountains, specifically the central Blue Ridge, it looks like divine destiny from forty years after. Yet, at the time, I only knew place as rural. It felt more like stepping into the unknown than some high sounding word like destiny, like I know what destiny means. Bob Dylan defined destiny as, briefly, what one already knows about oneself. Whatever that means. I feel like it gives me something to go by, a place to start looking. From my own point of view it was arbitrary as spinning a quarter on a tabletop and betting on which side turns up. I knew woods were plentiful and the people were old-timey. Purpose, manual labor on a farm as caretaker, somebody who had never cut down a tree or driven a tractor. I learned fast. Every fall I had to cut firewood for four houses through the winter. That's a lot of wood. I only cut dead trees, of which there are plenty. We seldom think about trees growing old and dying, but they do. Fallen tree trunks lie everywhere in the forest in varied phases of decay. Some will stand for decades before they fall. I have actually witnessed two locust trees fall over. Each one I just happened to glance at movement that caught my eye in the near distance and it turned out to be a locust tree on its way down. I say, "actually," for it being so rare a thing to see, like witnessing a deer give birth, which I've seen once.


karl horst hodicke

The top of the list of the unforeseen is that I choose to stay here unto my last day. To have been told any time during the first ten years that I'd be here for life, I'd have felt like it was a prison sentence. Right away, it felt like home, familiar in ways I could not make out why. The first familiar was everyone talked like my grandmother Worthington, who grew up in Kansas. I wrote it off to a universally American rural accent. That was as far as I could get making out how it was familiar. The people I met along the way were natured like my grandmother, philosophically minded. I don't mean philosophical like resignation, but thought about questions they had, worked things out reasonably and morally in their minds. My friend Justin is a good example of the old-time mountain way of thinking. He has a conundrum, he goes fishing, works it out in his mind. Last year he had such a conundrum he asked Crystal to allow him to be off to himself a couple of days. He slept in his sleeping bag in the deer blind, stayed to himself, went fishing. By the third day, decision made, he was fresh and ready to go, the burden that had grown onto his back fallen away. Justin's practical sense of morality blows my mind the times I've seen it in action. In this I see him carrying the heart of the mountain way of life as it's fading fast by generations. It was not intimidated into him by church, but worked out in practical everyday life with a philosophical mind. I've seen the same reasoning in the people gone now of the old culture, Jr Maxwell in particular. They had active philosophical minds. I don't mean they read Kant and Heidegger. Their reading amounted to the Bible, philosophy from front to back. 

karl horst hodicke

I got my philosophical-minded ways from grandmother. By the time of my parents' generation, the Bible was reduced to a book of rules you dare not question. My generation of people brought up by religionists value questioning. Many of us questioned our ways out of religion. I reached a place where I saw religion is fake, though was unable to see beyond religion, a projection of the human mind, associating religion with God. I had to let go of God. Soon after, I found that God indeed is, but not much like I got from religion, besides verses the preacher never interpreted to my satisfaction, like, God is love. In the church I came up in, God hated an awful lot and was the Supreme Judge. Of course, the white people were God's chosen, specifically American with English names. For many years I disliked my name because it was too much like a name on an office door. I had a problem with that until one day I realized my name does not make me, I make my name. My name means who I am. To some it means an arrogant asshole, to some it means a jackass whisperer, to some somewhat likable, to some a friend. The name appears to be destined for an office door, but not necessarily. I never had an inner need for my name on a door. What I wanted for myself, without knowing it, was to be where I am now. In childhood, my grandmother was my comfort. Also, with extensive woods nearby, the canopy of trees were my other comfort. With her and in the woods were the places I could be who I am.

karl horst hodicke

My relationships with adults amounted to obedience. With grandmother, it mattered that I was a sentient being who thought about things and wanted to learn. In the woods, I felt the closeness of the world of nature. I knew the renewing quality of a canopy of trees. I learned after about thirty years in the mountains that my grandmother's parents moved to Kansas from Pulaski County, Kentucky, southeastern Kentucky, explaining her accent and her philosophical mind. Even before realizing she was a transplanted hillbilly, I had referred to these mountains as grandmother's arms. The woods, the trees, I need like a bird needs feathers. This is my destiny, the place my parachute landed me, in a little empty house on a back road, a place I can walk among trees all day long and never be far from home. In my early years, people from Away would want me to drive a couple hours to someplace to go hiking in the mountains. I only went once out of curiosity and found the same as I have here someplace else. Never felt the need to go hiking. I step out the door, cross the road and I'm on a path in the woods beside a mountain stream. I've walked all over the woods of Air Bellows and some beyond with the dog of my life, Sadie. She came to me already named or I would have called her Louise. So she was Sadie Louise. My destiny turned out to be the places of my childhood I felt safe, the places I felt were real in an unreal world. How I found the place that is just right for who I am by a seeming throw of the die is beyond my ability to see.


karl horst hodicke



*



No comments:

Post a Comment