Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Problem with being a Rock, Part II

The problem with being a rock is that you are a rock. Rocks can be beautiful, grainy and marbled, brightly colored when wet, but that beauty is too external. Even if you crack a rock in half, or polish it flat, you're not really seeing the inside. Many of us live under the assumption that rocks are inanimate; that they don't grow and live. But I have become a large rock, a boulder perhaps, and the weight of it is killing me. In an effort to educate my three readers, I would like to elucidate my life as a rock for you.

First off, as a rock, especially a boulderish one, it is difficult for anyone to get their arms around you, let alone wrap their heads around you. After all, rocks are rock solid. Nothing goes in, and nothing comes out, at least not that others can see. During my recent life as a rock, there have been many things that I have held internally that cannot find voice; cannot be released or revealed. This, of course, is why rocks grow; they feed on their own insides; eat their own sins. And as I mentioned in Part I, since nothing but your rock-ness ever shows, you simply become part of the landscape; an innocuous part of people's purview. It is hard being a rock, a very difficult existence. Rocks, after all, are associated with pain. A rock hits you in the head, it hurts; smash your shin on a rock, it hurts. And no one ever gives the rock credit for feeling the pain, even as it festers inside. Rocks don't get black-and-blue. They just are.

Secondly, people don't give rocks credit for having brains. While it is true that the brain to body ratio of a rock lessens as it boulderizes, it actually spends most of its time thinking, sometimes brooding, sometimes dreaming, but its brain is never inactive, and oftentimes, it feels and emotes intensely. Yes, it is hard to observe, but there is a natural resonance to all things, and for those willing to sit on a rock, or lean on it, or even hit it with a hammer, there is a vibratory revelation...a palpable response to other living things. Sensitive people can feel it, even through the hard exterior.

The hardest part of being a rock, after it has become a boulder, is that it barely can move. The bigger the boulder, the more likely it is to stay in place. The only movement it feels is the movement of depressing further into place. The bigger the boulder, the bigger the depression. Pebbles, on the other hand, move with the moles and the earthworms, and get to feel the warmth of the sun, or the joy of skipping in still water. River rocks roll in the currents, free like teenagers. Larger rocks get woven into communities, footpaths and garden walls, and the more petulant, dislodge unrestrained, and call to be held again. Yes, dear readers, rocks evolve.

This boulder longs to be molten again, return to the beginnings, to surge fiery and hot, part of the floe that seeps into the creative crevices of the living. I have been warmed, even heated hot recently, but the boulder's reluctance to change has cooled the flame. I need the heat to return, to set me free, but I fear the heat is rising away from me toward a brighter day.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

but I've been to Arizona

Well, I've never been to Spain, though I now wear a leather thing on my wrist engraved 'Barcelona', and I have been to several Albanys, and more Main Streets than I can count. I've never been anchored down in Anchorage, nor have I ever said arrivederci to Roma. Yet, I have traveled when I could, wandered when I shouldn't have, and explored any and everything that struck my fancy. I do know that is nothing more exciting than going somewhere you've never been.

It is a difficult thing to see yourself through someone else's eyes. If it is true that each of us creates his/her own story, then, in most instances, what we see through someone else's eyes is our own creation. I do not consider myself to be extraordinarily empathic, but I do seem to have some sense of how other people see me. I have always said that of the two types of people in the world (those who like me, and those who don't), there is only one that matters. I have to wonder why, when looking through the important one's eyes, I always question something about myself. It is not self doubt. It is more of an examination of how I could be better, which is funny, because what could be better than me. Yes, I realize that there are mundane, everyday things I could do better. I could certainly bitch less, as well. And yes, from an under-the-bell-curve perspective of what is considered 'normal' life, there are several things that are work, for instance. But the positive outweighs the negative. I am loyal to a fault, devoted to following the right path (albeit my right path, but that makes it no less right), and am as transparent as anyone I know. As I told her the other day, I am not the box next to you, I am the one who gooshes into you.

What I feel IS what I feel, and it often comes as quick and unexpected as thunder in Eugene. I make no apologies for who I am, or what I feel, or what I see through my own eyes (or mind, or gut, or intuition, or heart). I do wish that people I love could see themselves through my eyes, for there is no language good enough to explain that kind of wonder.

There are those who might think that Italian is that language, but I am certain that it is Spanish, as Spanish (or Catalan) is in her heart now, and through her eyes, in dolcos somnis, I see myself babbling incomprehensibly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


In the very recent past, I attended a lecture by Franz de Waal, a renowned expert on the great Apes, of which we humans are a member. There are, as you know, remarkable similarities in behaviors amongst the apes, until we get to the branch on the evolutionary tree where arrogant, self righteous humans split off, replete with their opposable thumbs stuck up their pompous asses. There were several interesting observations he shared. The first thing that piqued my interest was that virtually all apes, and several monkeys, and elephants recognize themselves in the mirror, and they all, when looking in a mirror, examine the insides of their mouths. Humans, on the other hand, might check the whiteness if their teeth, or pick out random food particles stuck therein, but they seldom open their mouths wide enough to discover the gobs of shit about to spew forth. Apparently, some time after the split, when the bipedal human found a wider wonderland to explore, his brain simultaneously devolved to the point that he thought his beliefs and opinions had some merit to others of the species. This is known, to all animal behaviorists, as 'the first mistake'. Unfortunately for us humans, the bonobo ran off into the forest at this point, and kept their fabulous, peacekeeping sexual tactics hidden from man, likely thinking that they would pass the taller, more stupid human in the evolutionary 100-yard dash.

But Professor de Waal really knocked my socks off with a later observation. All primates, in fact all creatures, fight. Over food, over mating, over territory they scratch and claw and bite but at least among the primates, they reconcile within about ten minutes. Whats more, even among the rhesus monkey, a particularly aggressive little fuck that takes longer to reconcile, it was shown experimentally that they could learn to reconcile more quickly from the examples of more peaceable monkeys, and retain that quicker reconciliation when denied those exemplar, peaceful stump-tailed monks as company. I would like to believe that it is obvious where I am heading with this, but alas, I am too jaded and too smart to bipedal down that road. Lest you think that I believe that every human should be handcuffed to a stump-tailed macaque, let me set the record straight. Since humans are capable of holding a grudge for millenia, they earn the gold medal for most aggressive and stupid creature on the fucking planet. It would be pointless to delineate the words and attitudes we use to perpetualize our grudges. I would only cite one example of how our beliefs extend our grudges. Arab or semite leads to camel jockey and diaper head, until muslim alone becomes slanderous, and grudge becomes septic and deadly. Conversely, American becomes heathen becomes invader and devil (ok, all that is true) becomes infidel and grudge becomes jihad. As a species, we have chosen fight over reconciliation, and adorned it with the poison of make-believe moral and religious indignation. When did we decide to abandon the evolutionary motorcade? Flat tire?

On a more positive note, spring has definitely sprung here in Oregon. Torrential downpours foreshadow blue skies, and the resplendent sun nourishes all the possibilities, even love. Love blooms in spring like onion shoots and daffodils when the soil moistens and loosens. And as the dark sleep of winter melts away in solar heat, moles tunnel to the warmth, and leave piles of living dirt on the lawn. Love, while it does not hibernate, becomes shrouded in winter, in a cloak of stubborn reticence that we all weave. When spring arrives, however, even the psychotics shed their protective layers, and waltz into simple silly, naked. I like to think that I am always naked, but the intangible fibers that weave our cloaks often sew and knot despite our best intentions. "Strip", the pirate used to say, and she was right, as exfoliate, denude, peel are all words that apply to spring's awakening, hidden from us is the new growth. Smiles reveal from the winter scowl, and green, the color of go, emerges
from the white of winter. Love is rediscovered in spring, floating towards us, like the giggle-bubbles blown by children from looking glass soap. It cleanses us to renewal, and floats on the popping warm breezes. We only need to let it wash us. And yes, dear readers, I am naked and clean, chasing her bubbles with every newly discovered kiss, enlivened with her scent and touch, opened by the sound of her voice, and giggling in every smile she offers.

Yes, I know that many of you believe that spring is a time of resurrection, but it is not. It is a time for reconciliation. It is time to examine that ugly tapestry you've woven. There may be such a thing as rebirth, and while I don't believe it, I do know that it will only come after you're dead. Try to remember that you are alive, and only while you're alive is it possible to reconcile your ugliness with your beauty; only now is it possible to weave a better cloth.

I am in love...passionately, drunkenly, rabidly. My spring is ready for changes for the better. I love every Muslim, every Jew,  every Catholic, every Protestant, every Hindu, every Zoroastrian, every gay man, every lesbian, every everyone. But right now, what I love most is her, with all that she is, all that she may become, all that we may become. It is not about being reborn. It is about becoming.
Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy anything you believe in...but happy.