indicators and implications

Water main break sends me scurrying yesterday from the building. I tried to stay but the fire alarm went off. I think they were trying to flush us out. Begone, you office trolls! It seems there are water mains breaking everywhere in this city. Our aging infrastructure simply cannot handle a violent shift from warm to below freezing to warm again. Get home, pull up the shade to a turkey vulture gliding overhead. I resent the implication this bird is making toward my general state of liveliness. I am not dead. It’s simply not true. Maybe the vultures should go feed on all the dead water mains instead. Crunch, crunch.

This may sound familiar to long-suffering regular readers, but how one reacts from inside an elevator to the sight of another person walking (hurrying, even) toward said elevator, defines at a base level the kind of human being one is. Most other indicators are largely irrelevant to me; they require too much interaction, too much time to reach a satisfactory conclusion. If I want to know in an instant, a blinding flash, what kind of person a certain human is I will hurry toward the elevator in which she or he stands, looking out at me with either compassion or disgust, and I, at her or him in return with either gratitude or disappointment. What transpires in that brief moment shall inform me of what stuff they [sic] are made. I am reminded of my experience at the revolving door the other day. The simplicity, the stripped-down bareness, of this moment, two humans moving in opposing directions, yet united in one shared motion to move themselves, and each other, forward to where they needed to be. To ignore the sublimity of these moments would be tragic.

peering out from dormancy

The recently sliced up confetti of old words sifts through my fingers as the primitive beats of old heavy music pulses in the other room. Winter is upon us, oh yes, with the wind and the snow and the sleet and the penetrating coldness. Every year the shock of how slowly real winter arrives here beats me about the head with a large stick come late December, early Januaryish. Cold fingers tapping on the keys, the chill of the glass in these windows, how reading in the sunroom suddenly means reading in the ice fishing shack. And how I become a grumbly old man, rug thrown across my lap, scarf encircling my neck, unwashed hair standing on end, burning words in my brain to stay warm somewhere, if not on the outer surfaces, then at least on the inner ones.

I still prefer it to the stifling madness of a city summer. I find it easier to get warmer than to get cooler. The lack of mosquitoes in winter thrills me. Sometimes I loiter in my front yard, teeth chattering, for the mere joy of not being eaten alive by those tiny flying demons.

The bitter cold purifies. Most living things die out there. Or go dormant. I go semi-dormant myself, though this state is not dissimilar from other times of year for me.

On cold days, humans appear on the street as rapid bundles of fabric. On hot days, humans appear on the street as languid loops of flesh. Take your pick.

I’m making good use of my vacation from the-place-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-by-name. In addition to copious reading, I’m indulging in a bit of paper management, something which I tend to ignore the necessity of for months at a time. This activity chiefly entails clearing off a desk I no longer use, famed dumping ground of mail that may or may not require saving and paper scraps scrawled with cryptic notations that I must now decipher in order to determine their value. But it also extends to shredding old writing: abandoned manuscripts, hard copies of blog entries, failed stories, and handwritten pieces that have since been either typed up or rejected. Destroying my own words gives me secret pleasure (well, it’s no secret anymore). So much of what I’ve written is dead to me, and I am merely finalizing that. The end of the year is a good time to do this. One desires a clean slate, at least on some levels. We are of course multi-slated individuals, and not all slates require erasing.

Yes, so here I am talking about the weather and my fascinating domestic life. It’s not what I wanted to write about, but I have not figured out yet how to write about what it is that I want to write about. Oddly enough this past summer was more fertile for that, so perhaps the heat is good for something after all.

Playlist for above activities and subsequent transposition into words:

Universal Order of Armageddon – Discography
Sleep – Volume One
Charles Mingus – Mingus Moves

february coming spring*

*nod to Samhain

The daffodils are rising as the robins trickle back into the city. Last week I heard a male cardinal testing out his pipes, gearing up for courtship rites. And today, as I rolled my bike out the basement door, a Song Sparrow belted out his bright song from an undisclosed location secreted within the old cottonwood tree.

These signs of spring feel unwarranted. We have not endured enough of winter’s harshness to deserve such rich pleasures so soon. It makes me want to move farther north, where the extreme cold and steady snow sweeten the coming warmth of spring’s new life.

As the temperature wavers, still my mind wanders, far from here, never where it’s paid to be. This dreamer role, this aqueous nature, it is equal parts curse and blessing. It becomes harder every day to reel myself back in to accomplish the tasks at hand. Perhaps one day I will unravel all the way, cut loose to float wherever the wind will take me. But for now routines strangle me, each of them a single lead weight in my pocket, rooting me to this unfamiliar patch of land I struggle to call home.

entering the dark cave

Receiving the first electric/gas bill of the winter season always horrifies me. For the past two years, it has been particularly horrifying due to 14 ft ceilings and huge drafty windows. If I could levitate, I would rise up and bask in the layer of warm air that is inevitably hovering in the upper two feet of space below the ceiling, far out of reach of those of us subject to gravity’s pull. But instead I spent my day climbing up and down a giant ladder in order to cover the windows with plastic in a pathetic attempt to winterize the place. When I did this at my last place, one of my cats immediately proceeded through the house to all the windows and systematically clawed through every single sheet of plastic. I nearly broke down and cried. This year I decided to seal up the French doors leading out to the porch, too, seeing as when I stand near them I can feel the wind blowing through my hair. Since the remaining cat enjoys sitting in front of these doors watching the outdoor activity, I anticipate slashes through the plastic there sometime within the next few hours. I will never, never, never again be swayed by tall ceilings, panoramic windows, or any other Siren song that seemingly benign rental units may sing sweetly into my hungry ears.

  • Recent Posts

  • Navigation Station

    The links along the top of the page are rudimentary attempts at trail markers. Otherwise, see below for more search and browse options.

  • In Search of Lost Time

  • Personal Taxonomy

  • Common Ground

  • Resources

  • BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS