Jan 29, 2008

January 29th, 2008

I get into trouble with thinking sometimes. I look outside and see bare-boned trees with remarkably a few ragged leaves clinging onto the branches. I see clumps of mud poking up through the snow in the field across the street. I see a gauzy sky, hear the whir of a car cutting through the morning air in irregular intervals, with traffic increased near the peak of every class hour here on campus. I see the forest line through fog in the distance.

Lately I've been reading about the histories and beliefs of a few of the indigenous groups in America. I've been reading about virtual, individual, parallel, and alternate realities. I've been thinking about Siddharta, Muhammad, and Christ. I've been thinking about Darwin. I've been thinking about an alien life.

I see mud and trees because I want to see them. The pavement I slip and fall on will tear my skin, rip my clothes, crack my bones. I am a slave to this empirical damnation, for better of for worse, and sometimes fear that this is all something that cannot be learned, but instead must be revealed.

Jan 10, 2008

January 11th, 2008

The first cigarette. No wind. Car engines tear into the night air with metal claws. Owl cries haunt the grove just to the north, spreading a thin layer of sorrow over the horizon. A young cat approaches, presses its head hard into the butt of my hand when I bend down to stroke it's grey fur. The ground is solid again; from root to rock, dirt to stone.

The second cigarette. Wind has picked up, out of the east this time. If I stand close to the house I can't feel it. The gnarled oak on the horizon, clawing against a backdrop canopy of dwindling light. The cat returns, more eager than before. It stands on its hinds, and rests its front paws on my pants at knee level. I lean in to scratch its head. A sharp nail enters the skin just above my kneecap. Muscles tense. Oww. That is my knee, cat. But as a race most of us have long forgotten how to talk with animals, so it doesn't understand. I turn the cat away, back into the cold, and head into the house.

The third cigarette. Snow is thick borne on the eastern wind, gathering moisture from off of the great lake. Coming down damn near horizontal, an endless swarm of ghostly gnats which on ground impact congeal into one. One side of my red car is plastered white. I shouldn't go out tonight. I will anyway. This is the storm that slows, not yet the final, great storm that stiffens.

Jan 8, 2008

January 8th, 2007

It's wet out there, and looking tired.

I woke up this morning once again to near darkness and wondered to myself how I was going to do it, how I was going to get up and face yet another dreary day. Yesterday, E borrowed me this cd filled with Caribbean island music. I took it from her, eyed it with a smirk.

My God does it help. It's helping me to visualize that normally I could stand to live naked if it weren't for these inconvenient, unseasonable, rain-filled grey days and the three months of frigid weather surrounding. It helps return my attention to an easily over-looked fact, especially at this time of the year: behind the grey gauze there is a ball of fire burning.

Sometimes we can't do it by ourselves.

Jan 7, 2008

January 7th, 2008

My hearing has improved, living out of the city. Last night during an evening cigarette I stood outside after the sky had emptied and the gray haze wrapped it's thin fingers around everything. I stood and listened to the gurgling ground as rain seeped deep into its pores. I stood still, stood silently, and listened the the vast chasm filled with the deafening void of something new: silence.

In the forest, fog rises up out from the roots of trees and everywhere it appears as if together we are all breathing. Inhale, exhale. Spin the winds that coax this world in its perpetual turn.

Jan 3, 2008

January 3rd, 2008

I wondered if the clinic would be open on New Year's Eve. That is, I began to wonder after speaking to a handful of friends, and hearing them talk about how much they enjoyed use of their thumbs, and how dreadful it would be to have the thing rot off because of infection or some other sort of unfortunate accident.

The night before, I'd cut myself. A good friend of mine is an avid collector of weaponry of all sorts: samurai swords, gothic knives, Middle-Age broadswords with a blade length of five feet. Some of these can do serious damage, others are simply for show, and for the most part, non-lethal. This is something I will never quite grasp about this friend. He is hands down the most mellow individual I know on the face of this planet.

We decided that night to go out to his place; after all, he'd recently moved into a house with his wife, and I had yet to see the new abode. We rounded the corner at the top of the stairs to the second story, and I saw the new blade sitting on a desk in his art room. It had been a Christmas present from his folks. There must be a proper term for the thing, but all I can say is that it was a dual-bladed oversized gothic switchblade. In other words, two blades that flip out, and these blades were probably eight inches long by three inches wide. When extended, the knife looked almost like a giant sickle.

I handled the thing, carelessly, I must say, and one of the blades closed on my thumb. That's when I learned that this knife was not just for show. It bit deep and clean; blood began to ooze from the cut, onto the blade, where it coalesced and dripped onto the floor. I needed stitches, but I didn't go to doctor. It was midnight, after all.

The whole incident left me thinking this morning about scars. Age, wisdom, wealth, power, luck, none of these will exempt an individual from life's scars. We'll be in situations where it's quite likely we'll become hurt, though in the end, we may escape with just a scrape or two. Then there are situations that seem safe, and we find ourselves cut the deepest in the aftermath. That's just the way it is.

Jan 2, 2008

January 2nd, 2008

I learned the other day that the farmhouse I rent sits on five acres of land. My landlord's father owns the surrounding eighty acres. Upon hearing this I felt an urge to bolt towards the nearest grove of trees and lose myself for an hour or two. Then I decided I should probably ask permission first.

I'm not sure if my hearing has improved, or if I've taken a keener notice of the delicate sounds that tend to creep in the shadows left by the white noise of a city. I step outside now, and there isn't a sound. I can hear birds from a great distance, hawks and owls mostly. The wind makes a unique sound, bowling over snow and ice covered fields, weaving in between the bare branches of brittle, dry trees.

Everything smells raw, and fresh. Survey here this ground and find a comfortable place to rest. Choose any spot. It will suffice. From this dust which Adam was created so must we all return one day, but that date has not yet been decided upon. What I do know is that for any one of us, tomorrow could be that day. Each day then do things that mean something to someone. Each day do something for yourself.

For the next three weeks, inevitably, I will be dating and re-dating documents and letters, first with "2007," and then the corrected versions with the year properly displayed as "2008."
The New Year. That time where much of our attention is pulled back and we are drawn to gaze over the year like young boy over his ant farm, and in a few reflections deem whether it has been good or bad.

It has been a shitty year.

It has been a great year.

I've broken even.

Our declarations must include one of these statements, or some combination. I lean towards the latter. If I can say that I've broken even, which I've always been fortunate enough to say, then indeed it has been a good year.

I cannot change what has already happened; and I cannot stop what is coming. What I can change is my reaction, my perceptions, my feelings about what has come and gone, and about the prospects of the things to come, both warming and troublesome.