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Sunday dawns with a sunny, luxurious quietness, a plush silence pervades the house even though Snookums is up and about. She is a woman of order and routine and heaven help the man or dog who interrupts that natural order of things.
At dawn she arises, waiting dogs arrayed around her like petals on a flower. Slipping into her robe she makes the morning rounds of hitting the brew button, opening the blinds in several rooms, every third day putting in a shallow dish of bathing water for Kippur the budgie, then disappearing into the master bathroom for what seem to the mutts an interminable amount of time.
She rewards herself for assiduously brushing her teeth with that first cup of coffee, then dons her morning attire. Usually ragged pangs, t-shirt, socks and shoes. While she does this, it is a signal to the mutts to start rough-housing. Soon, she will go to a special cabinet that contains a treasury of tennis balls, some disgustingly groady, some brand new. One for each mutt is the rule, though occasionally one will manage to get all three balls into her mouth.
Then out the door for fifteen minutes of ball chasing, then each one returns to the house with their ball, and awaits their pay for returning the ball. We don’t pay them a lot. One biscuit per ball is the rule. But once in awhile a ball will disappear into the tall grass for a day or two, then mysteriously return to be traded in for an extra treat.
Then it is half an hour on the treadmill, before sitting down to cool off while checking the emails and facebook offerings.
The stalwart king of the house meanwhile, has just managed to fill his own cup of coffee, and stagger bleary eyed to his studio to read the emails, look wistfully out the window into the pasture outside, get scolded by the parakeet, and type “Sunday dawns with a sunny, luxurious quietness.”
Soon, Passover will be here, and the woman of valor as Proverbs call her, will start cleaning. Leaven has to go. Closets need cleaning. Stoves and refrigerators need to be pulled out, cleaned behind and pushed back just so. Drawers need arranging, carpets shampooed, stoops swept and all put in order in case this is the year Elijah decides to celebrate Passover with us.
It is a terrifying time for men and dogs, but all are expected to participate. *grunt!*. Me male. Me move heavy thing. *grunt!*
But for the moment, there is me, you, coffee and peace on earth.
This morning I was reading posts from a facebook® faith group that I subscribe to, and it was dotted with various exposé of heretical preachers, rabbis and doctrines that surround the unwary. Yeah, faith is a minefield, and these self-same accusers are accused of heresy and error by the ones being accused. Sometimes, my inability to follow a Guru serves me well in this trudge toward spiritual truth.
Not that I haven’t tried. I have sat at the feet of Swami’s and medicine men, rabbi’s and preachers, agnostics and atheists, mystics and frauds. I have attended ancient rites, both hidden and revealed, worn cassocks and masks, swords and wands, venerated icons and idols, but in the end, I walked away in mild embarrassment for my gullibility.
And I have explored mysterious kabbalah, with its gematria and PaRDEs, the ensof of all that is visible.
But inevitably, one discovers that the true sage live in the p’shat. The simple meaning. The father, the Yodh·He·Waw·He, YHWH, Yah, is above. We are below. We mirror the above. Ergo there is warfare in heaven. There is warfare below. One side is his side, the other side isn’t. I cannot comprehend the forces arrayed against me. I am a chip on a vast sea of turmoil, moved this way and that way by heaves and billows.
Yet a chip floats above the turmoil, half emerged and half above. Sometimes inundated, yet always reemerging from the turmoil. A curious metaphor. A faith with an invisible foundation guides me unerringly toward a hidden shore. You ask me how I know? I can’t tell you. I put on a sappy grin and say; “I know”.
“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)
Time is running out to enter the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest where they put the WWW into writing.
“I’m sure I must have sounded like a fool and a borderline psychotic most of that year, when I talked to people who thought they knew who and where they were at the time … but looking back, I see that if I wasn’t Right, at least I wasn’t Wrong, and in that context I was forced to learn from my confusion … which took awhile, and there’s still no proof that what I finally learned was Right, but there’s not a hell of a lot of evidence to show that I’m Wrong either.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976
I was carrying a bucket of oats to a back pasture, but had to cross two adjacent pastures with mean bulls in them. I remember reasoning that I would walk along the fence line, and if the bull charged, I could hop across the fence to the other pasture. I was a little frightened, but not so terror stricken that I could not cross. I managed to traverse the fields without incident.
In the back pasture, there were three non-descript horses, and for some odd reason, I was frightened. But being a farm boy, I was not going to let a damned horse scare me, and I determinedly walk to a feed trough under a cottonwood tree to dump the bucket of oats. The horses were a few feet beyond the trough, and as I neared them, they turned their backs to me to kick me. I panicked, dropped the feed bucket and ran to the safety of the other pasture.
One of the horses looked back at me and said menacingly: “Don’t ever try that again!”
I woke with a pounding heart. Ben, the medicine man, was off on a toot, and I was alone in our camp in the sagebrush. Dawn was just breaking, and my soul was not quiet. The night before, I had received a warning from another Brujo to not go to Denver. That was odd, because I had no such plan in mind, so I just dismissed it.
I fanned the fire back into life just as the sun broke over Magic Mountain, a name that some of the locals had given to the Mountain behind the Taos Pueblo. Artisans felt that it had some pull on them, and perhaps it did. I know that most of us believed we wouldn’t leave until the mountain dismissed us. With the passing of years, I believe that was true, but that I had another calling other than Brujo, and the two callings were at war with each other.
One path had all the comforts of knowledge and power, albeit a bit dusty comfort, and the other was a walk into sere, friendless landscape. I thought I had chosen the life of a Brujo, but the Fates had moved my thread in the Tapistry of Life, and three weeks later I woke on Lawrence Street in Denver, broke and not knowing how I had made the seven hour trip.
A rose colored neon cross flashed “Jesus Saves” above me. A place of refuge on a mean street. I needed a place to sleep where I wouldn’t get my head kicked in. Father Woody sat up on what had once been a stage, reading. People were sleeping in the aisles and wooden pews. I found an empty spot in a pew near the front, and went to sleep in my new land.
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Restless night. Mostly introspective spirits stalk the passages in my mind. Usually, I write to entertain, to inform or to amuse. This is a totally self serving screed, however, and if you find it too wearisome, move on to the next blog. I really don’t know why I am even publishing it.
Odd … I sit here a little bit after dinner, the urge to write is upon me, but I don’t have anything I wish to write about. I did a quick post with updates on Google+, Blogster and facebook. Cupid. Rhymes with … then just as quickly went back and deleted the inanity.
Sometimes that works for me. Make a statement, no matter how ridiculous, and let it flow. But tonight, it just embarrassed me, and if it didn’t insult you, it should have. You deserve better from me.
My soul is suddenly, unexplainably unquiet again. I feel like that child in the sandbox who traces a picture, then in a fit, wipes it away because it doesn’t look at all like what they had in mind.
I see a pattern in these subterranean upheavals when I am skirting around spiritual revelations, when the foundations of belief and knowledge shift. I usually don’t cast my pearls around on blog sites and street corners, and I shant delve into them here, though I really wish it was a place where I felt truly free to do so without couching them in obscure turns of phrase. So they go into the minds diary, but they just won’t reside their quietly.
Maybe I need a confessor. The problem is that the few remaining peers in my life are hugely learned men in PARDES, a mystical system of study in some theological circles. I can occasionally wow them on an intuitive level, but never on obscure foundational issues.
It’s as if you woke one morning, and discovered that your mother and father changed overnight. Though their love for you and sense of duty toward you and your education didn’t diminish, their whole demeanor changed, and their expectations of you grew to terrifying heights of perfection. Yes, there is mercy, but it comes at a soul crushing cost. Who can survive it?
I have passed the point of no return. It is victory or ruin because now I know.
I was just sitting back in my chair listening to talk radio and my ever present budgie, Kippur when I saw her sitting on top of my monitor, chubby legs daintily crossed at the knees, and cottage cheese squeezing out at the garter bands of her old-style nylons.
“That cheesecake pose went out in 1920 along with that skirt you are wearing.” I snarled. “Where have you been? I have been sitting here for a week and all I have been able to crank out is the coffee is good journals.”
She snapped back, “Maybe if you stopped downing all that codeine, I could get a word in past that chunk of chedder you have for brains, Hemmingway.”
“I’ve been sick.” I sniffed back, averting my eyes as she uncrossed her legs and tugged the ratty tweed skirt down in a vain attempt to cover her knees.
“You have been out of the hospital a week and a half. You know damned well you don’t need the pain pills. You are just taking them because you like being stupefied. You’re just an over-the-hill, bald-headed hippie anyway. Maybe it would be a good time to actually write something worthwhile before the crematorium turns you into cinders.” She spitefully retorted.
“I can’t write when my soul is unquiet. I am upset with the hopey-changers and this disaster in social engineering that they have foisted off on people.” I whined back. “I have been thinking of getting back into political pieces.”
“If your soul got any quieter, the coroner would be writing out your final ticket. Seriously, you really need to start working on something other than social journaling, but I am not sure that politics are your forte’.”
“I can’t seem to maintain any sort of interest in my stories. After I get to know the characters, I lose all further interest in them.” I bleated.
“Yes, writing is work, Maynard. Cross checking and rewriting are all a part of the mix. It isn’t all beer and skittles, you know.”
“Skittles means something different these days than it did in your day. Men haven’t played skittles in æons. Skittles are sweet candies that the boys in the hood visit convenience stores in suburban neighborhoods to buy. Get a new bromide.”
“The point is, Daniel Webster, that writing is mostly perspiration, and very little inspiration. You haven’t sweated since the last letter you got from the IRS. Where you at with Akashaic?”
“Do you ever weary of old clichés? Akashaic is kind of a dead horse right now. I had too much of my old middle aged sexual fantasies in it. Now that I am a … *ahem!* … golden ager, the basis of the tale seems to be a little trite. It needs a major rethinking.”
“Well, rethink it.” She said, unsuccessfully trying to smooth out the button gap in her cheap blouse.
“Actually, I have revisited it. It will be a total rewrite if I do. I drug out some old drawings I had made of the castle in light of the new thinking, and maybe I can salvage the tale. But for the moment, I have a number of unfulfilled promises to catch up on before setting down to seriously re-craft it.”
“You always have an excuse ready, don’t you?” She snapped.
“And you are as unhelpful as ever, aren’t you!” I shot back.
Wednesday, and my world return to near normal. Little pinpricks of irritation grace my nether parts as my smooth shaven bottom regrows the hair that the catherization lab people so deftly removed. Dignity has been restored, and the continual stream of people who paraded into my room to unceremoniously hike the blankets to look at the incision in my groin are a passing memory. Everyone had a peek, it seems, including the janitor. I hung my dignity in the patient closet and stoically endured the indignity.
Kippur the budgie is glad to see me and is rewarding me with chirps, burbles soft squawks and dancing when I ignore her. And sleeping! It has been so long since I had such sound sleep! Total zonk sleep that takes half an hour to rouse completely from. I didn’t know how miserable I was. The symptoms of shortness of breath and lack of energy had so slowly snuck up on me that I just believed that all of that was normal.
Today, I will promptly nap when I yawn, wake when my eyes open, eat when I am hungry, write when I feel like it. It is a recovery day. Mostly. I admit to a tinge of guilt at my sloth, but I am sure to quickly get over it.
Talk radio fills the air, the sun is waxing stronger each day. In spite of the hard freezing, the hardy wildflowers continue to put up greenery in preparation for spring blooming. Still a chilly 37° outside, a warm 75° inside.
A bottomless coffeepot is a perk this morning, though Snookums has expressly forbidden me to walk out on the front porch because of the ice. She took a hard spill there this morning. No. I’ll not be allowed to even de-ice the steps. The back stoop is ice free, and we’ll use that. Yes, ma’am.
The press is telling me everything about the Presidents SOTU speech, whether I want to hear it or not. He sounds in full campaign mode as he tries to salvage the train wreck. I think the smartest thing he can do right now is just shut-up and let the party hacks do the salvage work.
And life returns to its soft day upon day routine …