Today my blog is five years old. I’m amazed that I’m still at it after my first post in 2003. Since that time the blog worked its way into an important aspect of my life and the way I think. It helped me meet new friends and challenged me to sometimes think deeply about how I saw things or how I acted. Much more than a diary, it grew with my thoughts and often branched out from interactions I had with others. Intellectually and perhaps emotionally the blog acted as a slate to compare myself to.
So much has changed since I started the blog, so much of what I wanted to do here has mutated and adapted, so much of how I feel about myself and the world has evolved. The rage against the war has quieted and my very lifestyle has taken a big sidestep way off the path I had earlier imagined my life would be. If I am honest I can’t say it was for the better, at least not yet. I just spent two months almost totally solitary, without anyone to talk to or go see (my university doesn’t allow the teachers to go anywhere during the two month break). I’m just barely hanging in there mentally and with the university school year starting up again tomorrow at least there will be contact with people to offset the loneliness. But it is a rather empty poultice due to the school’s awful indifference to its employees and the terrible morale. In my whole life I’ve never worked in a place so unorganized, full of discrimination, and rife with resentment.
But I realize it is just a stepping stone and I must endure for a while. In the meantime I am making plans. I hope to get a degree in environmental education and eventually work with place-based education, hopefully while still using my background in writing and art. I’ve been researching online degrees and, for later, resident degrees at different educational institutions, places like The North Cascades Institute and The Antioch New England University Department of Environmental Studies. I’m not sure I can follow up the education with good jobs here in Japan, though I do hope to spend some time with Kevin from One Life Japan and learn a bit more about alternate lifestyles in Japan. I’m not even sure that getting yet another degree will help me in the direction I want to go at all. I’m more interested in grassroots education than the big, disconnected world of academia.
Socially Japan has been a disaster for me and as I see it right now it is time to move on. In August I hope to take a few weeks and visit Vancouver, Canada and take a look around at possibilities. I think it has all the advantages I am looking for in a place to live, including all the natural wandering grounds I need so badly, a diverse culture, a softer political atmosphere, connections with Asia, and relative proximity to my mother and brother on the east coast of the States. I also have friends there so I wouldn’t be starting out completely alone. I still think about New Zealand, and want to visit possibly next winter, but it is awfully far from family. But I haven’t completely ruled it out yet. Of course, I still have to find a way to get into any of these places I am looking at.
It’s really too bad that I couldn’t find my place here in Japan. Maybe it is bad luck or maybe it is my terrible social skills. It doesn’t help that I am shy or that I don’t like pushing my ambitions on others, though I know that in order to survive and get your way in the world you have to be aggressive. That’s the Japanese aspect of my personality, I guess. The only thing is that it doesn’t work if you’re not Japanese, so I end up being humble without the benefits. But who needs benefits? (^J^)/”
Keeping at the blog for five years has been an interesting ride. It still hasn’t ended yet and I hope to organize it better so that I can post more regularly and keep in better touch with those who visit. If anything it is the people I have met here that have made it all worth it.
I am in the midst of researching how to create a magazine-style blog and will be moving Laughing Knees over to a new server, possibly on new blog software (I’m using WordPress and like it, so may stay with that, but I am also looking at TextPattern, Nucleus CMS, BlogCMS, B2Evolution, and Expression Engine… If I can get the multiple blogs showcased on the front page feature of WordPress working, then WordPress will probably be where I’ll stay, mainly because I’m familiar with it and it is very well supported, but setting up my idea for the site design with one of the other platforms is in many ways much more straightforward and easier, so we’ll see. I like Expression Engine the best of all these platforms, but if I am going to move on to including a few commercial things on the site… I want to sell some published things like books, illustrations, and higher quality photographs… then Expression Engine can be quite expensive initially. But it may be worth it. I tried out TextPattern for Laughing Knees for a while, but the development is so slow that it doesn’t seem to be keeping up with what is going on. I don’t want to spend all my time coding things. I used to do that, but I just don’t have the time or will any more. Though, TextPattern is truly elegant….
It will be good to get the blog settled in one place with a server that I like and to finally start moving on with the other ideas ideas I’ve always had for the site, like fictional stories, essays, photos, illustrations and cartoons, tutorials, a few concentrations on some of my hobbies, like ultralight backpacking, bicycle travel, photography, books, ecological housing and communities, and wildlife, all of which I’d like to write up more static, permanent pages for. I’d even like to record many of the songs I’ve written and sung so that people can listen to them. All of it takes time, of course. But I’m slowly getting there.
I will continue the photo series of my Europe trip soon. I just finished a long stint with tests and class preparations recently so I’ve not had much time outside of school beyond stumbling back home, heating up some soup, and falling into bed. Tomorrow I, finally, get to leave the area and go on a two-day hike, to celebrate my birthday (Nov. 26, 1960… erm, no I am NOT crying out for attention!!!), and try out my new and long-awaited Mariposa Plus backpack.
After years of spending and wasting money on lots of other more expensive, heavier, and ultimately unsatisfactory packs, the one that originally caught my eye, but which I shunned for the fancier stuff, finally came home. Trying it out three weeks ago and packing it on and off with different loads for different seasons and different climates and terrain, I think I’ve finally found the pack that does exactly what I want a pack to do, basically meaning that it holds my light selection of gear and disappears on my back without calling attention to itself. I think I’ve gotten most of my other gear pretty much worked out, including switching, for most walks, over to a tiny, woodburning stove that will eliminate the need for carrying gas cannisters and allow me to learn more about making fires while at the same time being environmentally safe, a pair of sturdy, but light hiking shoes with more thickness in the insole than the shoes I used in the Alps this summer, which caused quite a lot of swelling and pain on the rocky descents, and reverting, from the miserably cold and wet film of plastic of my expensive Montane Superfly to the heavier, but more protective and reliable Paramo Cascada jacket. Sometimes lighter isn’t always better. And sometimes it’s nice to just wrap up inside something warm and dry, no matter how heavy it is. And I guess I’m just tired of spending so much time thinking about gear all the time rather than being out there actually walking and losing myself in the woods. After all, I didn’t start going for those long walks all those years ago so that I could get wrapped up in what I was walking in; I went out there because I forgot all that. There were times when I’d emerge from the woods and stand there blinking in surprise, wondering where I had stepped out into.
Of course, a lot of what all this concentration on going lighter has to do with is being able to go encumbered, and that is thanks to the evolution of my gear selection and hiking and camping techniques, along with a quantum shift in how I approach being outdoors, ever since I read Ray Jardin’s “The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker’s Handbook” and later, his “Beyond Backpacking” and after that discovered the Backpacking Light site and community in its early days of its refreshingly new ideas and a number of other sites, like the now dormant Joe’s Ultralight Backpacking”. Walking with camping gear is actually fun now, no longer a burden and source of agony. The only thing that keeps me from truly enjoying the climbs and descents is being out of shape. If I work on that, well, there are a lot of mountain trails I want to explore!
From this point bushcraft seems like the likely step for my evolution, learning to go even simpler and discovering further what it means to live close to the elements. Of course, I want to balance this with a healthy understanding that with all our billions on the planet it is no longer responsible to go around chopping down trees and killing animals for sport. But there is something about knowing exactly where your food comes from and why animals behave the way they do in different environments and that you will be all right if your lightweight pack actually does fall off the side of the cliff (something that actually happened while I sat eating lunch with a friend… one moment we were sharing a tangerine, the next, his pack had disappeared in the clouds below) that calls to me and seems to remind me of what it means to be alive and why we have these brains in our heads and noses on our faces and hands on our arms. Whenever I see videos of the Inuit going hunting or the Saan discovering a buried gourd for drinking water, I just have to think how ignorant the rest of us are about basic needs.
I often wonder if the simple test of having to find food for the day, of having to concentrate on survival rather than how to screw your neighbor, brings people together more than other way of life possibly can, simply because we cannot survive alone. Maybe that is why I love the mountains so much; up there you are definitely not in charge. You have to give way and watch yourself, you have to make sure your partners are all right, you have to rein in your ego and do your best to get companions to share and cooperate. Coming back from a difficult mountain trip always humbles me, and all the crap of jockeying for recognition in a company, of people scrabbling to tell other people what to do, of accumulating too many belongings, of constantly being sullen or apathetic or lazy or inconsiderate all come across as alarmingly anti-life. I don’t know how close I can get to living with less and learning to get along better with people, but I want to at least try. It’s part of what will help us survive in the mess we’ve created.
Sorry everyone for the recent disappearance of my comments writing field. I haven’t a clue what has caused this and I’ve been going through all my plugins and administrative hoochie-koochie trying to figure it out. A real waste of a perfectly good weekend.
To top it off I seem to have attracted the unrelenting attention of some hideous trackback spammer who has every day been sending hundreds of spam to my site. I’ve tried everything to stop the bastard, including turning on being logged in to comment, but I can’t shake him. And last night, by chance, I discovered that the bathybius has seen fit a few weeks ago to hack into my account and create an unauthorized folder with spam links there. Aaaaarrrrggghhhh! I’d like to….!
Give me a few days to figure this out. I’ve been sitting here half the day and I really need to get outside for some fresh air.
Phew! Got the comments worked out. Seemed like I installed a certain plugin a little while ago that set my front page to a static page. That’s part of what I want to develop in the site, but not with the set up I have now. It should be working now.
It’s only been about four months since I discovered it, but Waiter Rant has got to have some of the best writing on the internet. He must be doing something right, because he gets on average about 100 comments a post! Some truly moving work.
After watching what has happened when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States, it is disconcerting to learn that the huge approaching Typhoon No. 14 is bigger and stronger than Katrina. We’ll find out in the next two days what the typhoon will bring. Already, two days before the typhoon the vanguard clouds dropped torrential rains that flooded many areas of Tokyo. The annual increasing strength and size of typhoons and flooding are probably early signs of what we can all expect in the years to come.
I’m sorry I’ve been off the blog for so much time. For a while there my computer was completely down as my main hard drive decided to give up the ghost. Luckily all my data is backed up. I had “fun” for about a week learning how to install a hard drive, reinstalling all the software, and rearranging the desktop system so that it would work with my working style.
I’ve also been outside a lot, getting myself in shape, and spending time with people face-to-face. I’ve even started writing hand-written letters again. It all feels so analog. I don’t expect to give up the blog, and I hope to start up writing regularly again, but I also want to be careful with how much time I’m at the computer. I just don’t want to let the experience of the real world slip by; there is too much to see and experience!
Something happened in the blogging world that I had been inhabiting up until sometime around the end of last year. After two years of intense dedication suddenly the magic petered out. I even considered pulling out the stoppers and letting the air out of my own blog. Obviously I haven’t gone that far, but for some reason I have never been able to regain the momentum or enthusiasm I used to have. Maybe it is because I have tired of living vicariously in a digital world and have taken more and more to the world outside my door. I know that another part of the reason is that the close interaction with various like-minded bloggers, some of whom have become friends, seems to have evaporated. Even when I leave comments on many of their blogs or post my own essays there now rarely seems to be a response. People with whom I had had almost daily contact for those two years drifted away like autumn leaves.
Losing this connection to these people has, though I have been unwilling to really acknowledge it, hurt quite a lot, in part because I’m not sure if it was something in my own actions or words that caused the dwindling of interest. Until recently I thought it was just me, but in speaking with and reading a few people it seems the waning magic spreads further than just my own fretting mind. Maria of Alembic mentioned to me in an e-mail that she sensed a dying out of interest in blogging, too. Anne of Under A Bell recently wrote about not feeling the magic any more. Several people I used to read religiously have closed shop and disappeared into substantiality. So it isn’t just me.
When I stare at the blog entry screen now so often it feels like narcissism, pretending to reach out into some kind of network, when really what I am staring at is an opaque mirror, not unlike that of the Evil Queen in Snow White. When the computer lures me often I cannot extricate myself, the cobwebs of interactivity drawing tight around the silence of my solitude and need to speak. It is hard to formulate the truth that in spite of the hours spent cranking out words no voice emanates from the opposite end.
Like Anne I’ve been retreating to books and handwritten journals (and hopefully hand-written letters, as I have promised some friends!) and daily waking at dawn to hunker down among the wild flowers and stock-still vitality of the sprouts in my garden, sometimes poking my camera lens among the leaves to record the lives of all those little creatures that go about their business with full-fledged abandon. I find that I’ve badly missed the chill of the dawn air, the slow drawing of the deep sky, the whisking of dove and duck wings past the edges of the roofs. And, of course the unmistakable gaze of the rising sun…
The blogging world opened lanes with people I would never have gotten to know or speak to without the internet. I still hope to get a chance to meet many of them in person some day. But when the voices begin to die away it is like the rain, I have to forget the effects of their singular passage, and perhaps I, myself, must learn to fade away. If there is one thing that the internet has taught me, it is that not only is life impermanent, but ultimately there is nothing you can touch, either.
Just as spring seemed about to step into the garden another snowstorm has hit Tokyo. For Tokyo this is unheard of… four snowstorms in one winter. Something is definitely amiss in the planetary teacup.
Weeks have now gone by since I announced that I would go on hiatus and I think the decision to take the time away helped a lot with both figuring out what I want to do with my time and with the kind of relationship I want to have with computers and the internet. More than anything is the conviction that taking a lot of time to engage with the natural world must be a top priority in my life. It may not mean as much to other people, but ever since I can remember the natural world has been the defining element of what makes me happy and what brings a balance to my emotions and my understanding of what it means to be alive. Whenever I’ve been apart from natural things I’ve always felt unbalanced and always felt as if that necessary extension of myself that completes the feeling of “embodiment”, but which exists separately from my physical body, is missing. I am more than just myself, and just like a member of a community, my relationship to the natural world has always felt like a completion of parts. I honestly don’t think that individuals can find fulfillment in themselves alone; somehow the natural world, as we like to call it, but which I would rather call the “real” real world, acts as an engine for our identities as physical beings in a living community. Without the Earth we are incomplete, because the Earth itself is the summation of its vital parts.
The time away from the blog came in part from a major systems failure on the part of my former web host, losing all data and promptly going bankrupt. It all happened last November, with a failure to notify me. So one morning in January, when I tried to log on to the blog to do maintenance on spam and outdated links, there was nothing there. It’s taken me all this time to get the basics back on line, most of it in the form of manually writing in all the old entries from seven months ago. This was all made possible by a happy coincidence of using ecto for the offline blog writing. (for anyone who uses ecto… and in my case the Mac version… and needing to retrieve lost old blog entries, just go into your home/library/application support/ecto/entrydata.plist file and you will find all the post data there. Unfortunately the whole retrieval procedure must be done by hand, which takes a lot of time) I was able to get back all the old entries, though I lost all the wonderful comments that went along with them.
So the blog is back up in basic, default theme form. I also migrated away from Movable Type and am camping out in WordPress for now. The whole web page will undergo major changes, with more focus on writing about nature, travel, and cultural identity and as much cutting out of political comments and personal gossip as possible. I am putting together a multiblog/gallery/online store/online nature and community magazine/freelance illustration and design business/ page that I hope will bring together all my interests and better exhibit who I am and what I love to do. Eventually I hope to be able to run a business with enough income that I can support the kind of lifestyle that I’ve always wanted to live… namely living part of the year in one place, doing stationary work, and the other part of the year traveling, visiting all those places in the world I’ve wanted to see and actively working toward learning about, helping to protect, and actually spending real time in the world’s natural places, while at the same time coming to terms with the unrest of being from a multicultural background and never feeling at home anywhere.
In a way I hope to make the web site a learning tool, a teaching tool, and a storytelling tool that will both communicate with other people while entertaining them, and showcasing my skills in such a way that people might buy my books and illustrations, possibly join a paid membership “online theatre” (at first with static drawing stories, called “Kamishibai” (paper play) in Japan, but eventually and hopefully with flash animated stories, and, for Japanese readers, possibly even online English-teaching story service) or ask me to do projects for them. (In some ways similar to FusionSpark and FableVision, though with a much less “canned” outlook, perhaps more like John Shelley Illustration) I have no idea if this is going to work, but I’d like to give it a try.
Ever since an online misunderstanding I’ve become wary of the way things are expressed on the internet. Too much is taken for granted and too much is enclosed within the limited language of the written word and the faceless, gesture-less, expressionless world of online communication. So much of how one is perceived hinges on the careful selection of words and not enough on who one is in real life. It is so easy to misconstrue one’s intentions and to write one thing, but mean something completely different. I’ve often wondered why it is that from the start I had to be careful about opening myself too much on the internet; now I just think that it is like any time you meet people you don’t know well… too much information without the proper context can come across as threatening or unfriendly. Those times that I’ve met or spoken to people I got to know first on the internet have proved to reveal personalities remarkably similar to my original impressions, but with subtle differences that only meeting them in real life could affirm. And it is the substantiality of the meetings that made the difference.
I’m not sure what lasting effect any of my online comments have made in the past. I know I have been offensive at times and at times too whiney. I’ve tried to speak with earnestness and have never meant anyone harm, but in my anger or neediness I may have asked for too much or assumed too much before thinking or taking the time to understand. I’d like to be more careful from now on and to use the internet less as a bouncing board than as a pool of words to contemplate, listen to, and learn from. If I can’t give the best of myself to this pool then there are no words to be added. In the eight years that I’ve been deeply involved with the internet I’ve found that little of the critical contributions I’ve made or read have made much difference in how I feel about things overall or perceive things. Even all the information I gleaned about the Iraq war and the goings on over the environment have only served to raise my hackles and punch out. I’ve lost a few friends. Little was gained.
What has made a difference are the stories people have told and the way they have done things and the beauty in things they have seen or created, things that have moved me like Subhankar Banerjee’s photos or Beth’s sensitive and searching ruminations or haunting work like Plantage by Jakub Dvorsky of Amanita Design. Such encounters have shown me the wondrous possibilities of the internet and after coming in contact with them I can honestly say that I sat back and felt deeply satisfied, the way a good book gets you.
This is my intention on the internet. If I am to speak and to show my hand in drawing or photography or storytelling, it must wind around the heart and leave people with a seed. And hopefully a flicker of movement in their souls that they can take with them into the light of the real world. Otherwise my speaking here has no meaning, and my time in the real world no connection to this electronic vision.
To me my time in the real real world is everything.
This morning I made a comment on an online group I am a member of that must have hurt some of the other members. A mean and craven comment. It goes against everything that I believe in and the way I wish myself to live my life. I just don’t like the person I’ve been becoming lately.
It is time I take an honest to goodness look at myself and my life and to focus on making the changes. I need to quit getting distracted by the computer and the internet. I need to feel substantial again and I can’t do that while continually living in an electronic world.
So I will be going on hiatus. If I come back it will be with more focus and discipline. And I hope to have a lot of unnecessary things cut away. It was nice sharing all these experiences with you these last two years. Perhaps we can do it again some time, perhaps soon.
Last year’s cherry leaves still clinging to the branches
After seven days of insomnia, the last three of which I got no more than three hours of sleep, I finally put my foot down and forced myself to reset my biological clock. Two nights ago I struggled to keep my mind from spinning out of control in the darkness, but to no avail, and so the snowshoeing day trip I had planned for myself fell through. I was just too exhausted to attempt walking in the mountains… Probably not even a good idea. So yesterday I forced myself to stay awake all day, no matter how woozy I got, so that by the evening I could be exhausted enough to make it through the night.
It worked, sort of. It was a fitful slumber: I kept waking to the pellmell rotating of my miind as it slid over various sticking points like the tines of a mucis box. During the week before my mind was an amorphous mass, all the anxieties and self-doubts bristing with urgency, so that none of it made any sense, but sifted through with a kind of red alert alarm: “I have to get all this stuff done now! I have to make the big changes *now*! It can’t wait till morning. I’ve put things off for far too long!”
Of course, by morning the troubles had accumulated to the point of mild insanity. My heart and head throbbed and just trying to accomplish daily responsibilities served to nudge me into irate outbursts. I couldn’t think straight.
Waking last night, though, I waded into the pools of anxiety and just stood there, taking deep breaths. Calming the wild-eyed horse inside me. Whispering to myself as if I were a skittish wild animal. Being gentle to myself and telling myself that everything was okay. That the morning would come and I could take a first step. The poinding heartbeats slowed, the fingers of cold air that seemed to have slipped under my quilt drew back, and the odd shadows around the room relaxed into familiar forms… a jacket, a bed post, a slipper, a book…
It reminded me of what one of my oldest friends, my first girlfriend, A., from Germany, a treasured friend since I was fourteen, said to me when I last saw her just after my wedding: “I think you don’t feel safe in the world and that is why you can’t sleep at night.”
How right she was. I rarely have trouble taking naps during the day. Perhaps it is the free rein of my imagination that partners with the darkness and the wind outside the bedroom window.
And then there is the silent presence of my wife beside me in the bed, to whom I cannot turn for reassurance or conversation. Too often the solution is to roll out of bed and tiptoe into the living room where I turn on the light so as to banish the wraiths floating about. Or occasionally to huddle in the darkness there, while my pet turtle eyes me from his rock, whispering to myself all the mistakes I have made, or all the wrongs I have commited, or confirming my cowardice over taking a stance and changing my life. Sometimes I switch on the late night TV and begin weeping with the sentimental movies. A stupid, weak, inadequate, pupper of a man for not holding up to the expectations and wishes of the women in my life. Or so I sometimes keep telling myself. What is it they want? Why do I have to continually fight to remain myself around them? Why is it that my sense of identity and joy has come to revolving around some other person’s whims? What happened to that adventurous and world-delighted boy who always knew what he wanted and the way he wanted to live?
Perhaps, and more likely, it is the sheer grip I have on my own expectations of myself and no one else can live up to those standards. Not even myself. I look over my shoulder and recall all the times my wife, my family, and my friends have told me that I am a difficult man, someone whom it is hard to like. An accusation that feels like arrows every time.
But I never willed myself to be this way. I never set out to cause others to find me difficult. It is like sitting in a tree and watching my shell perform some other person’s play. From up here all I can confirm is that I feel as vulnerable as anyone, as human as all of you out there. It doesn’t matter that I am a man. Or that some of you are women. Or that the way I perceive the world or act within it is any less strange or difficult or incomprehensible than that of anyone else.
I feel sad all the time these days, 24 hours a day. Even when I am laughing with my students or with my wife it is surrounded by sadness. I just cannot shake it. I read other people’s blogs, record the onward flow of their lives, listen to the range of activities and relationships and interests, and I get more and more down. I am jealous. I feel that I am trapped and haven’t a clue how to get out. I try to think my way out of it, but the logical arguments cancel one another out. I try to adopt a “positive” attitude as so many people (who always seem to be in an upward swing of their life at the time) keep harping for me to do, forcing myself to joke around and laugh, being silly when I don’t feel silly, or switching to intellectual argument mode, so as to keep from feeling anything. From people who don’t know me, haven’t taken the time or had the inclination to know and spend time with me over the years and see the whole, instead focusing on one little incident or stray comment that sums up, to them, who I am and what I am like.
And it seems it has been this way a long time now. Few people have watched me struggle with these past few years, at least not intimately. Almost no one has spent physical time with me, sat with me, shared times of quiet or laughter or eating together or just walking together. Not even my wife. And so I’ve been breaking down, slowly but surely. Loneliness and silence can softly rip you apart.
My inentions are good, but I never mention the leaks in the hull. I haven’t opened up about my breakdown on this blog so as to protect others and keep them from worrying. I kept repeating over and over that keeping quiet was a good thing, a strong and mature thing. That there was nothing to be done about it any way.
But I am not doing well. Talking about my anxiety over the demise of the natural world, while just as true, is partly a cover up. The truth is that I have tramped into the age of 44 and I look around and find myself almost completely alone. I am not happy with the work I do for a livelihood. My marriage has stalled and I can’t even find professional help, here in Japan, to see how to save something of it. I spend most days speaking not a word to anyone, until I head off to teach English to students and colleagues who see me as no more than a resource, something so ironic that I have to laugh. Those people who I know are my close friends and with whom these years apart have no effect on the bond of our friendship, seem shores away, almost like dreams from another time.
So the forced resetting of my biological clock was a necessary first step. Taking first things first. It is time to stop feeling sorry for myself and concentrate on those things that I *can* affect. Like caring for my diabetes. Like paring away all those cobwebs of ambitions and distilling a few skills and potentials that would culminate in work that I would find fulfilling. Like thinking about my own needs for now and getting them right. Like being honest and forthwith about what is really important and discarding anything that wastes time or feels unworthy. Like slowly rekindling the old friendships, looking for those whom I have lost, and finding new ones. Like stopping just talking and actually doing. Like starting life again at 40.
I’m not sure why I needed to write this post at this particular moment. Just needed to get the load off my chest, I guess. For anyone reading it, please take the self-recrimination with a grain of salt. It is a casting of one stone to skip across the lake’s surface. I have many more to follow, some of which might skip a little better, others worse. But just wanted to let you know that upon writing it I feel a lot better. The steam is letting off the coffee and I can heave a big sigh. And the sun outside already looks just a tad bit brighter. this dark cloud will also pass.
I think I am slowly losing my mind. It has been building that way ever since the awful events of the New York tragedy. Something snipped on that day and as time has given me perspective I realize more and more that the waywardness of my heart and soul centers around an invisible despair, rather than on anger or righteousness. As the inevitable drums roll and boots keep marching past something lurking behind it all tethers itself to my voice and prevents the proper words from forming. For three and a half years now it is as if I have been screaming in silence. And no matter how many tears well up or doors I strike or cries of agony escape my lips as I watch the unwrapping of terrible things on the TV or printed pages or on the computer screen, the silence absorbs it all in utter indifference. My heart is breaking. I can’t take much more of this awful truth. Part of me needs to believe that we are still decent, but every day it seems to get worse. And the helplessness and impotent fury are stealing away the center. On the one side it is this utter madness speaking words through cruelty and violence, on the other it is the breaking of our beloved Earth.
I don’t know exactly what it is, but something deeply disturbing has unraveled the string that has always connected me to making sense of my life and to living every day. If I look inside I can sense the wildness of emotions and the animal panic. Something isn’t right with the world or with myself. The vertigo of teetering on an icy edge never goes away.
Beth, over at Cassandra Pages refers to the interview of Seymour Hersh. What he speaks about is nothing new, but the affirmation of an insidious doom that he creates by bringing all the jigsaw pieces together left the hair standing on my back because of how true it all rang. Then I glance left and right at the increasingly alarming reports recently about the coming global systems failure, the chaos of humankind facing mass extinction, and the mind just lets go. It is so huge. Beyond my ability to comprehend or emotionally envelope.
What am I to do? Recently I’ve been trying the only thing I can do… start small. Go out into my garden or onto the street, wade through the oceans of pain, and press my fingertip against the surface of tree bark or taste a snowflake on my tongue. I know it doesn’t make an iota of difference in the fate of this world we’ve so badly mismanaged, and most likely the tiny administrations will be swept away in the flood of destruction, but if I must go then I want it to be on my terms, holding dear those things which do still make sense.
As I jogged along the river bank near my house a few days ago I little girl riding her bicycle ahead of her mother, called back, â€œMama. If only I could take a trip to another country! If only I could travel to those faraway places right now!â€
Her voice still rings in my ear. A heart yearning for engagement. I wish her all the best and cling to the tiny hope that her request might come true, and that the winds of change bring scents of relenting. Of hands stayed. Of a missed beat and a resumption of real reality.