29 November 2011

Sitting Beside The Tracks, Waiting. The Crickets Hum.

I'm here.  Not doing much, but I'm here.  Good thing I brought a hat.  The November sun hits low in the cool air, but it can still burn me.  I am waiting beside the tracks for the train whose number I do not know.  I suppose I'll sit here a spell and wait for the shadows to lengthen over the hill.  A tunnel bores through the hill like a wide-open vein.

Metaphorically, you understand.  The reality is that I am sitting on my couch.  Sundown was three hours ago.  the quiet in the house is just what I need.  I'm a little confused that it is warm enough that I have some windows open to catch the breeze.  Post-holiday fatigue has set in, it is a shade lonely here at Casa Del Gumbo.

But I am waiting.  That is no metaphor.

I accomplished a lot today.  I'll spare your the tedium of my Domestic God triumphs, let's just say a lot of ducks and a lot of rows now march behind me.  The two things I did NOT get done, however, weigh on my big noggin.  Here's what I did not get done:

1) Find a job.
2) Write something truly edifying.

It's funny, right now I cannot decide which pains me more.  I managed to get a resume out the door, but the 22 others behind it?  Nothing.  As to the writing, dear readers,  I'm in a pickle.  This is the longest drought I think I've ever had.  It has me worried.  It also makes me tired.

I have this recurring image in my head of popping a cork from a bottle to pour something, only nothing comes out.  Except a puff of air.  And the tang of desperation.  So, the glass remains empty in this most quiet of Novembers.

It's deep fall in the woods by the river.  I hear its murmurs, faint and silvery as they filter up through the barren trees.  The rail bed gravel is warm beneath my haunches, a welcome buffer against the slow cooling of the air.  The air itself is tinged with watery gold as the sun goes down.  The mineral tang of rock embraces the dusty grass aroma of the weeds on the embankment.  A soft, steady breath of cold air wafts from the mouth of the tunnel as I peer into the gathering darkness in the middle.  The rails, twin seams of polished silver leading to a mouth of gold at the far end of the tunnel.  I stare into the gold, eyes owlish with fatigue.

I place my hands on the burnished metal rail in front of me.  It trembles ever so faintly, but I cannot tell if a train is coming, or the earth is sighing.  I remove my hands, and wait.

21 November 2011

From The Desk Of The Universe

A reminder, given to me:

Those places where you feel at home, and can be yourself?  Gifts.
Those people that make you feel at home, let you be yourself?  Also gifts.
The love that you have in your life?  Gift beyond price.

Respect the gifts.  Enjoy them in the spirit in which they are given, respond with gifts of your own.

Above all, give like your life depends on it.  Because?

It does.

15 November 2011

Pebbles in the Coffee Can

It's November and it would normally be colder than it is, but I will not quibble with the temperature outside that allows me to open my windows.  The faint susurrus of wind on the leaves is soothing.  It pleases me.  A train horn blares across the river, the mechanical din only sweetening the sounds of the night.  The storm inside my head finally breaks.

These mental tempests arise suddenly, linger far too long and always leave me drained and vaguely ashamed.  I know I should not feel that way.  The stresses and petty annoyances of life will always come and go.  To be wrapped up in them is a sure path to being a malcontent, as I know to my deep chagrin.

The day was a few clouds, a lot of sun and breeze.  The sky was pretty and the air inviting.  I had rattled around in the box that is my home for most of the day when I suddenly felt the walls closing in me.  It was time to leave.  I absconded to my favorite local park, for what I hoped to be a soothing meditation on walking around the lake.  It was not to be.  Too many distractions, too many stresses intruding on my mind.  Bills. Upcoming loss of health insurance.  Joblessness.  Being separated from those whom I love.  Feeling helpless in the face of strife.  I spiraled further down into a full-blown funk.

Not even the antics of the geese and golden sunlight could blow away the fog.

I came home and turned off the phone and the computer.  I opened the windows.  I took to the kitchen, hoping that chopping vegetables, making rice and stirring the pan would provide the balm I needed.  It worked, to a degree.  The meditative quality, the deliberation needed to do it right, both provided diversion.  As a bonus, I had a delicious dinner, too.  My own version of comfort food, though I have no name for the dish I made.

I watched the evening news as I ate, perched on the couch.  I held the heavy white porcelain bowl close, feeling the warmth of the peppers, chicken and rice seep into my hands.  Chewing became hypnotic.  The tension in my shoulders and neck began to ease.  The pervading metallic tang of  discontent fading in the simple act of chew and swallow.  I was mildly surprised when I looked down to see the bowl was empty.

Afterwards, I turned off the television.  I turned, as I often do, to write something.  The image I could not rid from my mind was that of pebbles in a coffee can, tumbling down a never-ending hill.  All the troubles, fears, and insecurities so many rocks banging against the container of my brain.

So I sat still, next to the open window by the dining table, and let the gentle hands of the wind massage my temples.  The din subsided.  I saw the coffee can come to rest, perhaps hard up against a tree or buffered by a thicket somewhere.  I sent up a small prayer of thanks.  The wind nods it head, and whispers sweet nothings.

13 November 2011

Sunday Meditation #9: River Run Free

Fair amount of walking this week.  White gold sunlight, crisp November air meant temptation to be outside in the creation instead of flinging myself at the walls that bind me in grayness.  It was breath, it was life, down by the tea-colored river.  A few hours of grace in which I offered up my thanks.

Ruminations while I walk.  The pub table in my head seats two figments who question in a slow-motion call and response.  I talk to myself, my skull an amphitheater.  Most of the time not spent taking photographs (in itself another form of questioning) I devote to the state of my union.  Unemployment having weighed down my thoughts, I cast them off to truly assess the current state of affairs.  It is good, sometimes, to do this.  Since I do not attend church (although I haven't forgotten about it) I walk in the chapel of nature, with trees as roof.  The rocks, leaves and water a floor fit for any soul.

The river is inescapable.  It knows what is in my heart, sussed out by silent conversations between my heart and the water over sand and stone.  On my walk, an observation: the dam is gone.  Gone.  How did I not see this on previous walks?  A whole dam, disappeared.  The concrete scar on the river demolished and taken away, leaving unsettled stone and new sand banks in its place.  Trees have been planted, young trunks upheld by plastic tubes the color of dirty milk.  On the north bank, a crumbling concrete sluice lies filled with soil.  The rusting cogs and beams on top stand in mute testimony to the new violence perpetrated on a river that simply wants to be left alone to pursue its course.

I stand under a sky filled with oyster light, on the railroad tracks above the river.  I watch the water fulfill its aqueous nature.  A broad smile blooms on my bewhiskered face as the river flows into my heart.  I know now.  I know.  The river is joyful because it is freer now, flowing where it is supposed to flow.

As does the love in my heart.  There was a dam, inside, a Gordian knot of fears, anxieties, insecurity and timidity.  But somewhere back there, in the fullness of this very trying year the dam cracked.  It broke.  The pent-up waters of love burst forth from the reservoir of my sore heart and began to race down the valley of my soul.  It feels good, this enlightenment.  It feels good.

I know why the river sings of joy.  There is no path so satisfying as that which one is meant to follow, and the river, in its contentedness, knows this.  Now, so do I.  I feel the path that sings to me of home, and I follow.  I follow love.

10 November 2011

Rebirth of the Shaman

Crouched on cold mesa,
Shaman smiles, sun rising on
forty-six winters

08 November 2011

Stumbling Around The Block

This is serious, folks.  This is the worst case of writer's block I've had in three years.  The weather is foggy in my head.  I cannot figure out how to make it lift.

I know this is a first-world problem, and it doesn't threaten to destabilize anything else in my life.  So I am grateful for it to be so.  It does have me troubled.  I like to write.  Writing has come to mean much to me, catharsis, therapy, creative fulfillment, quiet joy.  Exploring the Cave of Wonders that is my head provides me with heat and light for the soul.

The hearth is getting cooler.  The fire is burning low.  In the little cottage of my heart, I lie on the bunk huddled under blankets and watch the tiny flames sputter and dim.  I want to arise and throw more wood on the embers, but the bin is empty save for a few twigs and a scrap of bark.  Wind knocks on the door, beckoning me outside to forage for fuel.

But it is warm here under the blankets, and I am tired.

05 November 2011

Contender Blues

The bubble popped and I snapped awake.  Years, gone, and where did I wake up?

I had one of those moments today, of ennui spiced with dislocation, and a dash of mild anxiety.  It was induced by a chance encounter via email.  The email came from a professional networking website and it was chock full of catalysts and memory triggers in the form of "what-have-you-done-since..." blurbs.  The past come back to nag me.

The feeling of being underwater has been intense in the nearly four weeks since I was let go from the job.  Some days I wander around immersed in the sensation.  I put it aside most of the day, as I had my darling daughter  with me, and it was good.

But that email brought it all back.  I scrolled through the page, looking at all the people who had been somewhere and done something and it was at the end of it that the bubble popped.  I started as if awoken while sleepwalking.  It took me a brief pause to collect myself to remind me that I was on the couch staring at the laptop screen.  I was home.

Home, and wondering just what it is that I had been doing all these years.  Picking through the battered scrap heap of my career life to try and piece together that which I could point to and say: I Did This, And I Am Wonderful.  The pickings, it seemed to me, were too thin.

Leaning back into the sofa cushions all I could think was that I need to get my stuff together.  I need to do something worthwhile and soon, as I have metaphorically been sawing off the limb behind myself.  Its only a matter of time before that limb cracks.  I need to hurry.

I need to rev the engine, pop the clutch and damn the torpedoes.  I need to get somewhere, fast.

04 November 2011

On Not Caring About The Trial Of Conrad Murray

Holy smokes, people.  It's Day 4 of November and this is the first post of the month for me.  I'm slacking.  And tired.  And still looking for a job.  Okay so there is a lot going on that I haven't been prodigious with the production lately.  Too bad my first of the month is a rantlet.  Gotta get it out of my system, though.

As many of you know, I was let go from my job back in the first week of October.  While I have been very busy with job hunting (and a personal endeavor, more of which later) it is also true that I have had more time during the day to do things not job related.  Unfortunately, one of those things is watching television.

Daytime television.  Gah.

One thing that has been getting on my nerves, because it seems inescapable, is the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray.  It's so all over the media that I won't bother with a link here.  Come on, folks, its the Internet 24-hour news cycle world now.  Stuff like this trial is a fast-growing fungus.

To put it simply, I don't give a good damn about the trial.  I can't care any less about this whole mess.  I don't want to care any more, I'm fed up with the news covering it like it is some world-shattering event.  I even saw one web "news" outlet covering it like it was a sporting event, a goddamn baseball game complete with metaphors and cliches.

Really, people?  A man is accused of causing another man's death by drug overdose, and you use phrases like "It's the bottom of the ninth" now that the jury has to decide?  With all the economic uncertainty, the joblessness, the wars, unstable political situations and governments on the verge of meltdowns, this is what the media thinks is so important we need round-the-clock updates?

What's the meme say? "I don't want to live on this planet anymore!"

The only people this trial truly matters to are the families of Dr. Murray and Michael Jackson.  The trial itself, and the verdict especially, will have no material effect on the vast majority of the humans on the face of the planet.  Their families are no more and no less important than anyone else on earth.  To push this sad tale to the forefront of our collective consciousness is repugnant at worst and criminally boring at best.

Nothing in this trial would have done, nor will it ever do, anything to make my life better.  The same goes for everyone else.  It will not enhance the quality of life for all citizens.  There are overwhelming issues of vaster importance than the sad death of a talented, troubled pop star and the enablers who may have unwittingly killed him.  It is only worsened when pop culture tries to shove it down our throats, to force us to care for the sake of ratings and gossip.  I, for one, refuse to open my jaws.

Here endeth the rant.