“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” ~ Viktor Frankl
It’s a two pot morning. The second is brewing right now. Coffee. Dawn is coming up beneath a flat sky. The stars disappeared long back ’round 4 AM. It’s 49º and I have powerful thoughts of New England running confidently in my mind. Memories. Those many times I walked along Browning Pond, in Central Mass., that’s what I’m talking about. Thoreau held close to my imagination during those walks, and the best ones were when Autumn leaves colored the day with ease. A balm applied to that which was burned through social doings, the touch of ganga warming my veins, I was away, thus closer to the meaningful life. I’ve not been Back East since the millennium turned over. My loss, I’m sure. I could have found grounds for the future there. I’ll have to do with what I’ve got, which is a fresh cup of coffee. Henry Thoreau gives way to Juan Valdez, one icon to another, one flesh and blood and the other a mass media minion. I love them both. Yes.
So what’s with me this morning anyway? Listen, Henry David Thoreau has been and will be one of the greatest influences in my life. Mark Twain, Ellen Goodman, Al Burt, Neil Gaiman, Joe Bageant(!!!); but a few of the others, all writers. And Neil Young, but that’s a different story. Go back and click on the Joe Bageant link. No really. Any of you who appreciate my writing might find some rich material there. My favorite article of his is “Algorithms and Red Wine”:
“And I look at the faces of these young men and women, who are among the brightest, best educated and common good oriented the world has to offer. A taxi’s headlights flash through the window of the darkened bottiliberia. Each face is illuminated for a moment, then golden dimness again prevails. And I am saddened.” ~ Joe Bageant
I got an invitation to volunteer at the mobile spay and neuter clinic, at the Agricultural center, in early October. Of course I accepted! Why? Cats! The invitation came, through the ever darling Emma Lemon, from my favorite neurobiologist. What can I say, I’ve got some beautiful women in my life. But it’s about the cats. At this point my sojourn at the animal shelter has the quality of a good dream. I was talking, over the phone, with my older brother, a few days ago. I mentioned how impactful my end there was, how severe and extended the resulting bout of screamin’ PTSD has been, and he said “Yes, you got hit by a truck”. Insightful stuff just tickles me. I’m still a little dizzy from it. Frown-ridden as well. Speaking of dizzy – listen peeps, I never drank on the job. I’m on meds. You could’ve just asked. But moving forward . . . I was reading some quotes from Viktor Frankl this morning. I totally grok his rap about suffering generating meaning in life. My New Age friends would remind me that pain is inevitable while suffering is an option. Boy howdy y’all gotta be kidding me. Now, back to the cats. One of the most amazing thing I witnessed in the shelter was how these clownish beasts resided in cages yet only a few were depressed. Through personal effort in an empathic mode I helped a few of them down and out kitties get their game back. Connecting, in a therapeutic mode, with a depressed cat is strikingly akin to connecting with a feral. You start by saying let me in and they’re like fuck no. But it’s a start. I’m sure y’all’ve dealt with people like that too, right? I could go on with the usage of expletives but let’s not. A depressed cat needs way more than a hug. Repeated hugs won’t even make a dent. Depression comes from a feeling of powerlessness. My way was to pick them up physically and stand them before me so that they had a chance to give me their best WTF look before they went back to lay down and dig back in. It’s that one moment, that WTF moment, that makes the difference where a hug fails to achieve. Repeated applications of this methodology are required, of course. That’s not the point. Now, about the ferals. It is a given that they are already pissed, and they might even have the desire to kill you. Their WTF moment is pretty much perpetual. I found that singing was the most effective way for me to connect with them. Music is Universal. We all get the vibes before we get the picture. No critter is exempt from that, yet humans have the maybe unique ability to stuff the vibes in their pocket in an attempt to draw their own picture and see who bites then plays along. We’ve all seen it happen. Deception and its nurturing companion denial are like stuffing the vibes in your pocket. But remember, big pictures sometimes vanish in a heartbeat, and like that depressed cat . . . well, let me put this way, a guy or a gal steps on my toe then offers me a hug ain’t gonna get no hug. They get the WTF treatment. It’s proactive. Says me.
My mind has upshifted into the writer zone. I’ve proffered many potential creative projects to myself but most never kick in. They never get that WTF mojo goin’. But the new book project, “Sing to the Deathlike Silence”, has kicked in and said yes. So, I can now see the dimensions of writing that go well beyond simple syntax and lexicon. Right upfront and waiting are my semiotic pals, the gatekeepers to the realm of archetypes and mythos. I prevail in my Sisyphus charity marathon to meet these pals at the gate. And they are like dude you don’t work here anymore so dude you can’t just walk in dude so give us the password and yer good to go dude (Hipsters at the gate can be quite abrasive in their smoothness). And I’m like dude what the fuck. They bow and say in unison dude you may enter.
Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.