Monday, December 31, 2007

bad things

Bad things happen all the time.

Or; Life is characterized by suffering.

Evidently so.

We all have large lists of suffering we and others have endured and and/or perpetrated. It boggles my mind sometimes how real life is, how it really is the only realness that we can know. And how blatantly full of pain and suffering it is.

Don't get me wrong, I have experienced joy and happiness. There are foot massages and perfect tacos and skiing and fresh tomatoes. And I love all of those things. But when suffering comes along doesn't it seem to make those things pale in comparison? It's mystifying.

A very good friend of mine recently found out that he has cancer. This is a reoccurrence of a skin cancer he had a few years ago. I'm afraid to talk to him because I tend to put my foot in my mouth, and I would probably say something wildly stupid. But obviously my fears should come in second to the first priority, which is to love my friend. This is something I've always struggled with, putting my fears second to the real priorities. So I will call him and connect and hang out with him and see how he is doing with this news.

What the hell is cancer doing attacking my friend? A few years back, another very close friend was diagnosed with skin cancer, and luckily she found out early and treated it swiftly. These are two beautiful people. My grandpa died of cancer a few months back, and I did not do anything about it. There was nothing I could do, but I didn't even make an effort to reach out to him, or talk to him because I didn't know how to. And the weird thing was that he died on the same day that one of my oldest and best friends killed herself, July 16th, 2007. And that same day, my partner's sister got married.

A while ago, a coworker's friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I didn't know what to say exactly, other then to suggest that work was obviously second priority, and that my coworker should go be with her friend. I should take my own advice, sometimes.

What does karma have to do with these things? I don't believe that my friend did anything wrong and is now being punished for it, in this lifetime or any other. I don't really understand karma in these types of situations. Theoretically I understand that suffering can help you understand compassion, and that it can be a path toward enlightenment, but in reality it just looks like plain old suffering with no real reason.


Obviously I quit writing the 30 poems. I got very busy, and all of a sudden life took over. Now, I have different things pulling me in different directions. So, for now, I will discontinue the poems.

Friday, December 21, 2007

poem 5

there is no one like you in this whole world
you are the compost of your life
take it or leave it
not always so here

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The secret life of plants

This is a very rare and interesting film. It follows the secret life of plant, like the book. With music by Stevie Wonder! I love this movie, it moved me in a weird way. It is really true that all things have are conscious and filled with spirit.

poem 4

in photosynthesis one molecule of chlorophyll absorbs one photon and loses one electron
the chlorophyll regains the lost electron by taking one from a water molecule and releasing oxygen as waste
then carbon dioxide is combined with the water to form carbohydrates and other organic compounds
the ultimate product of photosynthesis is triose phosphates
which can be rearranged to form sugars
plants can convert up to 90% of the sun's radiation
silicon solar cells can can convert up to 30%
humans can convert 100% of their lives to suffering
life is really hard

but it is true as well that we can take that suffering and cultivate wisdom
and with that wisdom we can grow flowers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

poem 3

forget religion
let's just call it practice
what can we do without labels?

Baudelaire was completely wrong
one must not always be intoxicated
one is already almost always intoxicated
one must be free of toxins if one is to truly live
I know this is true
I have utilized the scientific method to test this hypothesis
I laugh in miserable joy at this thought

and it is not true that
being sad and unhappy is being honest
the truth is that peace and joy are natural
but misery does love company, doesn't it?

and what works for others
does not work for me
I am just me
and I am tired

maybe it's time for religion to fade away
and leave us
practicing love
the most subjective of patterns

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

poem 2

"God will provide
this is no exegesis of scripture, no
it is an inevitability
through faith you will find redemption."
is what they say but I can't really buy it
I could charge it, but I've cut up my card

is there faith in the grasses, in the treetops?
I am a forgetful squirrel with a faithnut
will faith burst through the forest duff or is it already someone else's snack?
prayerfully, I continue

is the manitou in the forest part of the plan of god?
tell me now
my entire existence up to this point has been a search
for something I threw away when I was born!
they name it god, or science, or art
I call it milk or juice
the rest of it is what makes up these words
but at the same time they are the milk and juice

my car doesn't start
the battery is worn out
so I have to buy a new one
can I buy a new soul?
or is it time for a new car
one that has all the new gadgets
and better mileage

do we make do or do we buy new?

so soon I will go out and perform ten thousand actions
so that my car will run better
but nobody is asking me to
I could sit here and wait for something to happen

Monday, December 17, 2007

poem 1

no more tears at the end of the trail
she gave up her last ones to the ghost of St. Francis
the morning continues unless it's forgotten
America sits on it's hooves
I gave up after ten odd years
there are no more sonnets just jingles
we treat ourselves ugly
and the tower just keeps on burning behind the old oak grove

my faith is as broken as tonsils on Sunday
I still hear the earth moving under my toes
just trying to keep in the tidal wave of God's Love
no boats are floating beside the deep waters
she sits on the stone bench and asks me to surrender
but I can't estimate where I'm going from here

I tingle at thoughts of new toys but desire new meaning

a discovered taste in milk
never fiddle with that which is unbroken

the mortgage that gave me this life is paid off

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yoking myself to the light

Wow. I've forgotten how much yoga means to me. What have I been doing for the last few months? Wallowing in pain, or what?

After my first real yoga practice in months, my body feels relaxed, and my mind feels more clear then it has been in awhile. The complimentary practices of asana and dhyana have mellowed me out and revived my pallid and out of shape soul. My body needs some exercise but my prana is stirring up from the depths of my sushumna nadi, and my life practice receives a revitalization that I hadn't known I needed. Blocked energy must be flowing through my avidya blocked nadis. I can breathe again.

I'm an animal just like everybody else, and I wonder sometimes why it is that we take our own bodies for granted? Our bodies are ourselves in this lifetime, and we treat them as mere tools to be misplaced often, replaced as needed. Give me a break. But I understand. It's hard to fit reality in to a busy schedule when we are bombarded by samsara at every possible moment.

Journeying through this year, I have begun to realize the similarities between spiritual paths. It is easy for me to sit down and have an intense meditation session and exclaim, "I am a Buddhist!" or flow through the surya namaskar and yell, "I'm a Yogi!" but in all reality I am just me. I grew up as a Christian, but I rejected that path early on. In the long run, the rejection of my original path as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth enlightened my soul but also harmed my spirit. The samskaras that etched themselves indelibly on my fragile heart have hardened me toward receiving pain and sadness, or accepting fear and hate, and processing my resultant maelstrom of stress and confusion with the tools of a spritual practice. My innate impulse is to take any of mu skills and talents and try to enact an alchemical transubstantiation and turn the pain into joy via my own inner power of will. I think the main thing spiritual practices teach is that it doesn't work that way. We have to accept God's will in whatever form we imagine it to be, whether you see Brahman giving birth to Maya and forming that we which we understand as reality, or if you believe in a God who gave birth to the universe and a son who saved it from itself. But of course this is where my indigenous religion and I differ.

Whereas I can only perceive God as simultaneously existing as everything at once and everything as a separate entity, and I wish to join my separate entity (jiva, soul) with the everything God, monotheism seems to believe in God as something separate living in a separate reality (heaven) who will actually judge your soul by your level of faith, your good actions, and the sins you commit, and send you to either heaven or another separate reality occupied by another type of God called the Devil who has control over certain aspects of Creation, and who's main job is to try to get you to commit sins in order to populate Hell, even though God assures mankind that he will kill or destroy the Devil at the end of time. Or something like that. The Christian story is a little mangled for me to stomach, and I have problems with certain concepts like sin, heaven, and hell. Karma, good or bad, just makes more sense to me, mostly because it seems like a better system. And there is only God, no heaven or hell or Earth or Saturn or Ford or Chevy. And it doesn't really matter what I believe in, in any case. God will continue on.

Monotheism is ripe with contradiction, which is why I think monotheistic believers tend to create wars. Atheists have no reason to go to war and non-dualists believe that we are all one, therefore why fight, eh? But ultimately arguing against the Christian religion is not my primary objective, at this point, although I believe it has caused much dukha in this world. I guess I just want to follow the good path, the path that will lead to the end of suffering and the beginning of liberation and beauty. Why is it that so hard to find?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gross Happiness

It occurs to me that a lot of us are operating in a dreamworld in which everything is just slightly good and basically fine. All of us white middle-ish class folks living our day to day lives don't really have to address any real issues if we don't choose to, or if we don't have to...we're the lucky few in the entire world, we get to be comfortable and relax as much as we can afford to. Basically we're the globally privileged, and yet we still feel like our lives are empty or meaningless sometimes, and we still feel the need to buy the new whatchahoozit to enrich our entertainment centered lives.

I can feel the eyes of older generations staring holes in my back as I watch yet another movie. I can complain about the state of the world as much as I want but what am I doing about it? Am I doing anything at all? Why am I so hypnotized by the culture around me? Why do we care about such insignificant things?

I am able to do an infinity of good if I just wish to do so. So why am I so hesitant?

In my particular situation, I have had to deal with a handful of serious problems in my life that have probably held me back from achieving my highest potential as an activist or student or what have you. But even to me this seems like a poor excuse. Many people in rougher circumstances have worked very hard to rise above the fray and make a difference. So I should button up my coat and walk out into the scary world and see if I can do something about anything. I am always afraid, but sometimes fear turns into energy. And what does it matter how afraid I am? I must look back and see those who have sacrificed so much in order so that we can have so much, in order that we now can live in relative peace and comfort. And yet all we all do is squander everything, our energy, our generosity, our time and effort and money. All we do is consume until we die and we call it a life. But I know there is much much more to life then that. And I don't want to say to all those men and women who sacrificed their lives that I was afraid and poor, because they would just shake their heads in shame.

It seems to me that we have all screwed up. The earth is seemingly on the brink of major change, and many people have been poisoned by corporate malfeasance. There is no more clean water or clean air for everyone to enjoy. Species are dying rapidly. We are creating a dreamworld populated by junk piles, garbage heaps, and chemicals. We are medicated with drugs that make us crazy. We drive everywhere and scream or cry all the time. Screens blare at us from every corner. And yet we feel okay, comfortable. Even wanting to bring children into this madness.

A buddha is someone who is awake. We should all be lucid buddhas in this dreamworld of suffering and pain. Somewhere I read, "If you know what you should do, but don't do it, then you actually do not know what you should do. If you actually know what you should do, you have to do it." We have to do what we know is right. We can't continue doing the things we know are wrong and expect that goodness will arise magically out of such actions, to paraphrase Einstein.

It is the little death that you go through when you leave something undone and you know it should be done, or buy something cheap that you know is a cause of suffering somewhere. It seems to me that balancing one's choices could easily cause one to be busy for a long time. Maybe choosing is our main job as humans. I can't continue choosing to not do something, or not choosing what I know I should choose. It doesn't seem to me that there is such a thing as ignorance, just a thing called choosing not to know, or I suppose; ignoring what is there.

Al Gore indicated yesterday that we have between seven and twenty years before the polar ice caps melt. I'm not sure why this is page two information. It seems to me to be a problem that should be consciously addressed by everyone on the planet every day. But now, we think our leaders will solve these problems. Let me tell you this, I have had my share of problems with authority figures in my life, but now I respect them for what they are, as humans engaged in a tough job. But I do not expect them to solve anything that is everyones inherent planetary responsibility. We all make a hundred choices a day that are wrong in regard to preventing the ice caps from melting. For instance, how hard is it to bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store every single time we go shopping? Why is this a choice, why don't we just do the right thing? We don't just conveniently forget to brush our teeth every day, do we? No, because we want to keep them. This is a metaphor my partner has used, and I find it to be very provocative.

It is a question of maintenance. I think we live in a society, maybe even a world, that has not realized that maintenance is the essential practice of the human spectrum of activity. Maintenance is when we wash the dishes and clean out the car, but there is difference between reluctant maintenance and mindful maintenance, which is the difference between doing something right or doing something wrong. But this is not a popular idea. It is explored thoroughly in "Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance" and "Lila" both by Robert Pirsig. I have been moved by "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh as well, in regards to conceptualizing the act of cleaning or just doing work as an act of peace.

When we maintain, we have to stop and take stock of the situation, right? I wish the whole world could stop and take stock of our collective situation, but evidently this is not a possibility. Our society does not deem it important to shut down commerce on festivals or national days, in fact it is important to keep everything open in order to further the economy, grow the GDP, etc... Obviously if you consider the GDP or the economy as essentially works of the imagination, then you are not so worried about their situations. Some people consider wood chips to be the only real currency of value, others consider peace and happiness to be more valuable then money. If Kucinich had his way, we would have a Department of Peace instead of many Departments of War, Death, and Domination. Then maybe we could follow the example of Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and measure the success of our country in terms of GNH, Gross National Happiness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Deep down

The word "depression" is complete shit. Depression is a much deeper feeling than simply feeling pushed down, or down in the dumps. Depression rips through the soul like a dark train, an apparently unstoppable and momentous force. Depression slaps you in the face and laughs, while you shiver and cower behind whatever defensive shield you can slap together to keep the foul-breathed demon from devouring you whole. Depression slices reality in half with a razor blade that leaves you trapped on an island of pain, while the rest of the world seems somehow to continue on as if life was merely a game. And you wish to God that you could feel normal for one minute, just to remember that it is possible to feel normal, to feel happy or peaceful.

Depression does not differentiate between fear, pain, and sorrow. You can fear that the past is going to come up out of the shallow waters and rip you to pieces, you can feel the agonizing hurt of losing someone you loved, you can have infinite remorse at the bad things that you have done, and nothing can convince you that you are worth love, that you can love, that love is offered to you. There is no love in depression, there is emptiness, and the emptiness is not kind or expansive.

You will wake up and your mind will attack you. You will be in the shower and your mind will attack you. You will be driving to pick up your honey and your mind will attack you. You heart will not lift from the pit. The pit isn't warm it is cold. And the coldness is of the darkness of death, and death lurks behind your ears.

You will be eating an ice cream cone and your mind will attack you. You will be at work and your mind will attack you. You will lay down to sleep and your mind will attack you. It will not let you go, it will push you until you do not know what to do.

How can you continue in this state? How can life feel so bad?

Why did my life get so bad? Why did I choose what I chose? Who can I turn to, where can I run?

You can say, "I am depressed." You can say it to yourself or to others. You can embellish it, "I am so goddamned depressed my head is going to explode." You can feel it in your bones. Depression. The earth is dragging you down. The sun is burning you up. Death beckons.

Death is there. You cannot ignore it. It lies in wait for everyone, for every living being. Death is not the enemy. There is no enemy. The pain has an origin, and it is craving. Suffering originates in desire. Desire creates suffering.

You have suffered, and you have caused suffering. I have suffered, and I have caused suffering. Everyone has. There is nothing to be done about it now. You can only go forward, you can only change your orientation toward everything.

I write all this because I am working out my depression, a depression that came upon me in the early hours of the morning. My dreams were dark, as was my heart, and I feared the future. I feared facing my past, facing my failings, facing how I have suffered and caused others to suffer. I can write about it now and it sounds somehow linear and understandable but inside me is a maelstrom of pain and fear. But it is manageable, and I have lived through enough suffering to understand that it will pass. But I fear my mistakes, I fear that I will screw up badly or have screwed up everything already, and nothing I can do can change anything, and I will suffer until the day I die.

And now I feel that I have found the seed of my fear, which is fear itself, especially fear I have for myself. I am not living for love, and I am not loving life, I am wallowing in fear for my future. It is as simple as that.

So depression sits on the bookshelf, staring wryly at me. I stare back defiantly.

"Have a got you by the tail?"

Depression grins and shakes its head.


So here I sit, wondering what to do. At least I have the seed, now I can plant it and see if it grows.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What dreamworld may come

So strange. Last night I had strong dreams, after waking up and falling asleep again. The kind that linger in your mind like syrup on waffles. The content was wild and unimportant to you. But it just reminded me that this strange state we call dreaming is such a strong part of our lives. As children we are motivated and terrified by the dreams we have asleep and awake. As we grow older we are taught to disregard these dreams that we have, but in fact all we do is push them deep deep down into a box that we bury in our soul's garden.

And in fact what else drives us forth into that good night? What fuels our passions, our drive, our desires? What guides us in our waking hours? I believe we imagine that we have created our goals in life through logic, or spiritual guidance, or practical considerations, but really, when we examine our actions on a deeper mystical level, we will find that our dreams have guided us along ever since we can recall. And does a collective dream guide humanity along?

Buddha says to regard this material life of desires and pain like a dream. Jesus implies that we are to regard this earthly existences as something akin to a dream in which we will awake in heaven. Most mystics and shamans gain their insight and power in the dreamworld. Dreams arise from deep within the ocean of our spirit, showing us true reality and meaning that can't be comprehended by the waking self. Maybe dreams are the feminine side of consciousness, the floral neocortex enmeshed in our animal brains.

I'm just sitting here with my yerba mate(in which I have added dandelion root, a couple rosehips, almond milk, and butter)enjoying the process of waking up. My waking day will start soon. But why is that we consider our waking life to be more real then our sleeping, and why do we dismiss dreams as unimportant?

I think a lot Americans dismiss sleeping as just an activity undertaken to refuel the body, just as they view eating, and I believe that this notion is perhaps the main reason why we have such a low quality of life. Or maybe we have a high quality of consumer driven life, but we neglect that which matters most, our soul. Our soul takes in nourishment from the energy that we share or consume. When we eat food that is bad, like McDonalds, we consume so much harmful energy that it boggles the rational mind. I think our soul cringes and shrinks. Maybe most people are walking around with souls the size of an ants brain. In any case, when we neglect the deep yoga of healthy sleep, and the essential sustenance of dreams, we deteriorate in mind, body, and soul. I guess if you want to die as an empty husk of a human with a soul the size of an ants brain that is your choice. I'm impressed that so many people are taking up yoga and meditation these days, as well as eating organic, vegetable centered diets. But obviously these people want to feed their mind, body, and maybe their souls. I guess all it takes is intent.

Well, I just wanted to stress that I believe that dreams are as important to your soul as food is to your body. "Dream" is a word that can have many meanings. Mostly people think of a dream as something that occurs in your brain at night while you're sleeping, as well as something you hold in your heart until the day you can fulfill it. You can also have daydream, in which you imagine punching your boss or making out with a pretty girl. It's an amazing dremaworld out there. I think a lot of young people are supplanting their own organic dreamworld with a techno dreamworld created by corporations that would like you to stay in the safe and entertaining bubbles that they create, consuming as much of their products as you can without questioning why? Why do I need this burger or that new chip or this much hit points or whatever...It's almost as if we are in a war of the dreamworlds, in which computers are trying to take over our dreams, like in the Matrix. Yet I think it's more subtle and complex then that. Since we as the government have allowed corporations to act as humans, they have overpowered us. They have replaced human needs with their own never-ending hunger, like hungry ghosts. They take over technology created by human brains and redesign it so that it feeds their gigantic needs as money eaters, not ours as small individual plant eaters.

It sounds like maybe I'm going off the deep end here, but if you don't follow your dreams, what do you follow? My dream is that, someday, we will live in a society without multinational corporations that destroy the earth in order to feed their own greed. Obviously this is not every bodies dream. In fact, when I walk outside, it seems like no ones dream. But what dreamworld are you living in?

Enjoy your dreams.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The advantage of silence

By Andrew French

If you repeat something over and over again, someone will believe you. This seems to be the primary strategy of the political demagogues who moan and yelp at the press in theatrical outrage or indignation about this problem or that solution. It makes me feel empty, drained, mostly because it is such a false mode of communicating and acting. In my life I have searched for truth in communication and action, and when I see such false actions and hear such lies by people who have so much power, it makes me wonder if our world will ever truly be peaceful. Why do any of us try to say what is true when there is so much nonsense floating around the world? I don’t know, and so I give up sometimes.

But I know this; Silence speaks louder then words. A picture is worth more then a thousand words, and an action is worth more then a thousand pictures. This is something that is inherently knowable by innate intuition. We can go through life talking a big talk, but then we come upon the cliff of action, and if we don’t jump off, we’ve just been on a walk in the park. And I suppose some people are fine with a walk in the park, but I want to be more alive then that. I want to be part of the park, I want to know it intimately, sink my teeth into its fruits, and dig into its dirt. I don’t know why I want to do this, I just know I do. The linear thinking of western man pressures me to want to know the ”why”, but I don’t need to pressure the world to show me the “why”. The “why” isn’t knowable exactly, it seems. It is elusive as an observed particle.

The linear, or classical, mode of thinking permeates our lives subtly, yet all-pervasively. It clouds our thinking in every aspect of our human endeavors; family, friends, home, food, work, play, rest, exercise, art, laughter, gardens, disasters. Everything is described as having a beginning, middle, and end. Everything is thought to have a cause and effect. Everything or nothing revolves around you or me. Either way, our interests are groomed to orbit our egos, be they focused on materialism or self-sacrifice. But I feel like I’ve found something better, something the mystics have known for thousands of years. It is as simple as realizing that we are all connected. I realized this tangibly while I was in the shower the other day, that we are all the same, we are all one…not just us humans, but trees, whales, the air, the sun, the stars, the rocks. It is a simple truth constantly being re-realized by sentient beings throughout the ages. Classic linear thinking would have us believe that this personal enlightenment should lead us or society somewhere, such as freeing humankind from suffering, but this is just not the case. Suffering continues in the world unabated, regardless of the amount of enlightenment that exists in its societies (how do we measure this percentage?). There are many stories of a simple man or woman realizing that he is one with everything, or a god, and leading the people to worship him as the savior of mankind. But as contagious as this meme is, it is a foolhardy misunderstanding of this reintegration of the soul with the cosmos; to worship or be worshipped is not the answer. The whole point of enlightenment is to end the suffering that the separation from everything has caused us.

I grew up in an Evangelistic Christian tradition. This is a monotheistic religion that does not recognize the subjectivity of personal experience. It has strongly affected my sense of peace in this world. Over the past years, though, I have become a Buddhist, a Hindu, a pagan, a Taoist, an atheist, an agnostic, a mystic, a permaculturalist, an idiot, a musician, a cook, a terrible friend, a backpacker, and so on. But none of these titles really matter, nor do they define my essential being in this ever present moment. My thoughts about reality and life change every moment. In every moment are ten thousand more and so on and the infinity of the present does not allow one thing to hold true. Therefore I am never really one thing, or I am forever reinventing the one thing. In the classical mind (the small mind, the ego, the linear mind) lies the seed of suffering, and in the romantic mind (the big mind, the soul, the non-linear mind) lies the fruit of freedom. I have realized that these labels are neither good nor bad, they just are what they are. In a world that is not defined by the battle between good and evil, every period of contraction has an expansionistic flipside, and that is the eternal lesson our hearts, our breath, the tides, and every living thing teaches us freely.

It is easy for me to posit that existence is the only teacher available to show us the meaning of life because I do not have faith in anything that does not exist. My friends would tell me that I obviously have faith in something greater then the sum of all things in the universe, but maybe they wouldn’t be getting my point. By existence I mean everything that exists everywhere, and by faith I mean a belief in something that does not exist, or a trust in something that is promised by someone. As far as I can tell, the only thing promised by existence is the circular cycle of being born, living, dying, and being dead. The only thing completely obvious is that time never stops. Why would I need to pretend that there is more to reality then that? Perhaps someone would say, because these few facts of life sound bleak to me. Let me tell you what sounds bleak to me.

In the general monotheistic view of existence, we each have a soul that is created by God that can either be saved or damned after our physical bodies die. In this view, right off hand our soul is separated from our body. Then we are instructed to look at life as a linear story; the soul is created, the soul makes decisions and is judged by God for them, and then is sent either to hell or heaven for eternity. This is the bleakest story I have ever heard. But its bleakness is not why I reject it as a viable reality. No, I reject it as a viable reality because I have no faith, and existence has not taught me that this is the meaning of life.

Maybe I couldn’t be so flippant about the meaning of life if I had more troubles in my life. As it is, I’m fine. I have no big troubles, and I like my work. I like where I live and I like my friends and loved ones. I’m not doing anything special and I’m not making a lot of money. But I’m excited to build a house one day out of strawbales, cob, and wood and have friends and loved ones stay with me there. I’m excited to plant a big garden and nourish myself and my partner from the vegetables we harvest there. I’m excited to see the weather change and watch plants grow. I’m pretty simple. I like playing the guitar and sleeping.

Maybe if my partner had cancer and I had children that were unruly I would be more somber and angry at existence. Maybe then I would believe that the bleakest story ever told was the meaning of life, and that my only hope for peace would be to die and go to heaven. Then, up there in heaven, I could play guitar, sleep, and watch plants grow.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

snow days in MN

I want to remember what it feels like to move, to get the heart pumping and the limbs swinging. After a long summer making a living as a landscaper, creating walls out of forty pound rocks, shoveling yard after cubic yard of aromatic bark mulch, my week or two of relaxation has distilled into boredom. I look outside and it’s snowing, something that would have moved me when I was ten. Where has that feeling gone? I grab my coat and boots and head out the door. Gotta get out of here. Outside, that’s the only reality, not this inside craziness. Stuffed up like a sardine, staring at screens. No, that’s not for me, bucko.
It’s somewhat chilly, but my high tech Patagonia coat is pretty much all I ever need down to twenty degrees or so. I’m a human furnace; I heat up easily with any amount of exertion. So soon I’m sweating, but its okay. A little sweat never hurt anybody, right? When the wind whips up under my shirt, it’s cold.
Half way around our loop, a three and a half mile circle around a wide part of the Mississippi, from Franklin down to Lake and back up. Usually east to west side.
Damn, the wind is biting my cheeks off. Should have grabbed a face mask.
Beauty mixed with breathing and exertion, car exhaust and irritation at my unstable footing. But I get there, slowly around.
So there it is, the warmth of an apartment after a winter excursion. That’s what I’m looking for, that’s the magic after the magic. Now I want to walk around Lake Superior, a polar explorer. I need to get out of the city, into the wild! But I settle back, eat some of the leftover refried beans from breakfast and hatch my plans in the comfort of home.

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