The Listening Day


“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ~ William Blake

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

There was rain overnight, heavy dew this morning. Moisture in the high desert is a lovely way to start the day. And thunderstorms mid afternoon. Simply perfect. It might be advisable for me to stay at this elemental level for the day, or take as needed. It is so easy to just look at the land, to appreciate yes, but more is needed than just the admiration of the pretty place you live. You have to listen as well. This place sings, as does any place. That’s what I’m sayin’. Something liminal comes through upon listening. Music is like that. And yes, I am truly trying to avoid the struggle of putting into words the feeling I have in mind. There are no words for what I feel. As in Mr. Fitzgerald’s quote above, a sunny smile kinda does the same sort of thing. For me, the sunny smile from a pretty woman hits home and lights it up. It takes me to the place of home and hearth. That’s where I need to be these days. Yeh, there is one woman’s smile in particular, but that’s not the point here, if there is one. The Veil feels quite thin today. I wonder what it is that will come through. But I am not concerned with specifics. When the Veil is thin there is also that feeling that rises up from within. And there’s that liminal music thingy again. Yes, I will listen today. Today is the listening day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Ringing a Deep Harmonic


“Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.”  ~ Ernest Hemingway

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”  ~ Martha Graham

Somehow I got caught up in videos about crows and ravens. There’s a lot of stuff out there. The sun is just breaking over the summits of the Sangre de Cristo range. The morning is moist and peaceful. My mind feels pretty soft as well. It’s a good day to hone in on contentment. That can be hard for me, because even when I reach a feeling of contentment some of my nerves and muscles beg to differ; in a manner of speaking. Both depression and PTSD have physical symptoms. They can be quite noticeable at times. I feel like that right now dude as I write these words and stuff bro. Hey, how come ya never hear someone calling a woman ‘sis’? Just sayin. One of the lessons I have learned from these disorders is that it might could maybe be best to drop the word “disorder” altogether. I sure as hell ain’t gonna call them bad habits! That approach is patronizing and can be wounding. What it is is that my brain does things differently than others. It is philosophically and logically indisputable that this brain is a singular organ. And that brings us dangerously close to a cosmic perspective: be yourself. Proclaim to the world that you are here. The response to that proclamation will likely be like yeh whatever. Do it anyway. You don’t have to be noisy about it. A simple smile spiced with a steady on gift of eye contact can do the trick. In people’s eyes the basic truth that no one really knows what the heaving heck is going on . . . well, let me just say the eyes show secrets of freedom and wonder, whereas the written word and the spoken word often holds secrets hostage. Deep thought, right? The concept of holding secrets hostage rings a deep harmonic in my soul. Guess I’ll put the idea in my inner cauldron and see what cooks up.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

When the Reason is Silly


“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.”  ~ Natalie Goldberg

It would be easy to get serious this morning. Luckily there is no time for that. Not much time to write at all, in fact. So I will take the liberty of choosing to believe that everything happens for a reason. See, I got lost in a time bubble while trying to find a quote to open today’s post. This kind of lengthy unfocused search has happened before, but it nearly got me this time. That done, I now find that my time has run short, so I’ll step out to the side yard to look at the mountains, then come back in to groom a tad before heading into Taos for work. It’s not that I don’t feel like writing. I simply frittered away the time, and that done, it now becomes clear that there is no fritter to be found. Just silliness. Everything happens for a reason. It is just that sometimes the reason is silly.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Wondrous Dance


“I move from dreamer to dreamer, from dream to dream, hunting for what I need. Slipping and sliding and flickering through the dreams; and the dreamer will wake, and wonder why this dream seemed different, wonder how real their lives can truly be.”  ~ Neil Gaiman

“You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.”  ~  Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

Morning has been punctuated with yawns. So far. The feeling is strong enough to make me consider a second pot of coffee, but not quite strong enough to lead me to do so. It is at this point impossible to tell if this yawn-laced mellowness is lethargy or wisdom. A firm Protestant work ethics would likely call it lethargy, perhaps a weakness of will. No worries, I tell myself, I always step successfully into my given role out in the marketplace. It’s not so hard to jump in like that. Years of practice? Or maybe it is really not all that complicated. You dance, that’s all. Just dance. But that comes later. Right now the sky is hanging low, sporting a ceiling of clouds that has the world muffled. There is no traffic on the highway, none at all. Other than a faint skunk chirp a few minutes ago the only significant sound was a sudden rousing chorus from a small group of coyotes, back around 4 AM. When I heard it, that manic sound of celebration from some obligate predators, I wondered only briefly at how terrifying it must be for a rabbit to be caught in the middle of such a crew. The thought was too unsettling so I let it go. Nature has drama. Only humans try to avoid it. The world is settled firmly upon a foundation built of stories. Some of them are going to be unpleasant. Rabbits have it tough. Or maybe it is all a dream. But that notion doesn’t quite do it for me. As a writer I readily admit that dreams are a vast resource for imagination. No, I don’t think dreams and imagination are the same thing. And don’t even get me started on the true nature of illusion. My thoughts are all over the field as I reflect upon the things I am writing about this morning, but I know the crux of my soft focus here, so I might as well share. It’s about creativity. Meeting the details of life in a mindful way, with attention, insight, and intuition. A Cartesian mechanistic worldview doesn’t allow such an approach. My reason for coming at it this way arises from some basic needs I find in endeavoring to wrangle PTSD into a reasonable ally, rather than some insidious deformity of character. I’m a fraidy cat, but the friction created by the compulsive fears serves a purpose, or at least it can. Sigh. I suppose I could put in the effort and go get myself a medical marijuana prescription. There is no doubt that I qualify. But for now it is time to get on to the workday. The goal, even if loosely stated, is to address life in a creative manner, today and from here on out. It’s a workday, not just something I have to endure so that I can put it behind me while putting some money in the bank for my efforts. It’s the dance, silly. Today it is all about the dance. It’s been like that for me at work lately. I find moments when I am nearly transfixed in a state of wonder. Life is really amazing. And hear me now, my friends, and hear what I say: something wondrous is happening. That’s what my mom used to say during the endgame of her life. I think she found it a whole lot easier to be honest about her perceptions by that time. The potential for such honestly, just the knowledge that it exists, is a valued treasure in finding a use for this PTSD I have to wrassle with most all the time. Dance, wrassle, whatever, right?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

With Soft Tones


“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”  ~  Ernest Hemingway

“A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.”  ~  Susan Sontag

“Those who fear the imagination condemn it: something childish, they say, something monsterish, misbegotten. Not all of us dream awake. But those of us who do have no choice.”  ~  Patricia A. McKillip

Imagine having no choice but to dream. I like that quote a lot. Ms. McKillip is a fine writer, quite lyrical at times. Fantasy stuff. I like it. On days like today, when I really don’t feel like writing, I can easily go into that headspace where it comes to a question as to . . . well, why write at all? Please tell me. No, I won’t agonize over it. In fact agony will in no way be a part of this day to come. I won’t allow it. So, why write? For one thing it sets to ringing a bell, a bell with soft tones, clear and powerful. It is a creative act that rings in overtones throughout the day. Truth is I could easily go back to sleep, and I just might. And having done so after creating a little something would make the rest more effective. The coming day seems to be no different than any of my Thursdays. Lazy, rudderless  morning, psychotherapy at noon. Perhaps a movie after that. I could do laundry but I calculated necessity and I can safely blow it off until Sunday. I like that. Even in these mundane details I can find inspiration and the raw materials for creativity. I’m not one of those people who need to crank out a thousand or two words just to keep the gears oiled. I can locate and connect with the creative spark then let that spark write the day for me. It doesn’t have to be in words. Writing is not exclusively about words.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Shrewdness of Apes


“During periods of root expansion things have always looked as confused and topsy-turvy and purposeless as they do now. The whole Renaissance is supposed to have resulted from the topsy-turvy feeling caused by Columbus’ discovery of a new world. It just shook people up. The topsy-turviness of that time is recorded everywhere. There was nothing in the flat-earth views of the Old and New Testaments that predicted it. Yet people couldn’t deny it. The only way they could assimilate it was to abandon the entire medieval outlook and enter into a new expansion of reason.”  ~  Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

The opening quote here came to me serendipitously, or synchronistically. Whatever. It really fit in well with an amorphous feeling I had at the Renaissance Festival last Saturday. A Scottish drum band was performing, and although I was annoyed by their lounge lizard humorous patter the crowd was eating it up. At one point one of the drummers took a left-handed swipe at the president. My mind and heart kicked into a higher gear and I found myself wondering about how much damage the president and the right-wing folks could do before their efforts ran smack up against consensus reality. How much? Here I was smack in the middle of 14,000 people having fun and celebrating life in a facsimile of a period in history when reason was coming into play against a feudal mindset. How could the buzz-kill idealists stand up to such high spirits and knock us revelers down into manageable cubicles? The 60s term “square” comes to me as I write this. These thoughts of mine are just two steps beyond unformed. Hey, I’ve only been at it since last Saturday, k? Geez, I’m grouchy this morning. What it is is frustration from flirting with optimism while being uncomfortable with the notion of positive thinking as it is plied in trendy modern ways. That said, I’m in my usual morning beginnings. The workday draws near. The coffee has been consumed and the cat is asleep in her new bed. I brought the bed home yesterday and set it where her old bed, which took up too much space in this tiny room (I am spatially conservative), had been sitting. When she first paid full attention to the new bed she got a little startled twinge. Change can rattle a soul. Cats are no different. We mammals are hard-wired in . . . hey, I said these ideas are mostly unformed, k? I meant that too. I’m trying to look at our current political crisis from a mammalian point of view. We’ve got a shrewdness of great apes in charge of our country. You know how we have different names for a group of animals? Yeh, apes congregate in shrewdness (click here for link). Hey, how bout them silverbacks! I am not making this stuff up. But right now I gotta get on to my day. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


Soft Focus Morning


“If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real”  ~  Neil Gaiman

Somewhere nearby coyotes are making sounds that seem to be pretty casual. It fits the morning. Somewhere in the night it rained. That set the tone for the morning. Somewhere. By attending the Renaissance Festival last Saturday I set my sights, quite inadvertently, on considerations of fantasy and reality and what it all means, if anything. The fair, and all it encompassed, daunts me, and I have no inclination to even attempt any overarching descriptions of what it was all about. But fantasy? I do know that. It’s pretty simple, really. Escapist stuff. Fun stuff. Geez, I can’t find my words this morning; what I am trying to say, or how to do it. I’m not defeated – it’s just that kind of morning. The usual puffy eyes. The coffee, made a little too strong, but that seems just about right as well. The pending call of the coming workday doesn’t even seem to chip away at this pre-dawn calm. Yeh, I’d easily fall back asleep if I let myself do it. To dream, or . . . whatever. But I find myself liking the morning. It’s a fine and private place for me at the moment. As edgy as I feel I can appreciate what I have here. I am nearly always edgy in the morning. I wake up that way, then it settles down a bit, then I carry on into the day. Reality. The workday. As with most workdays I will spend time, on and off, looking for someone to break through the facade of the marketplace, to reveal to me that it is a fantasy world, and what is really happening is something more along the lines of what could be expected from a grand cosmic plan. And . . . just what does that mean? I’m not sure, but I can feel some deep stirrings that seem to be admonishing me to settle sweetly for this difficulty with words. Take it in stride. I think I will do just that. The morning is soft-focus. There is no need to challenge that by trying to pin it down with words.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

No Lack of Jesters


“Lancelot smiled bitterly. ‘Perhaps a religion which demands that every man must work though lifetime after lifetime for his own salvation is too much for mankind. They want not to wait for God’s justice but to see it now. And that is the lure which this new breed of priests has promised them.’ ”  ~  Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon

Peaceful morning. Coffee good. Cat sound asleep. No wind, no wildlife sounds. Yeh, peaceful. It is Monday morning, and I eventually have to go into Taos for my work shift. Right now, at 5 AM, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea. But that’s just attitude doing what attitude does: judge before the facts, perhaps even tainting the things to come with this prejudice. I could go on about this, even skirting Buddhist and Taoist stuff as I go. An attitude is pretty much a spell we cast upon ourselves, then expecting the world to conform to the enchantment. Doesn’t really work. Not usually. And what if you prioritize attitude as being more important than facts? Ummmm, without facts you cannot prove a blessed thing? I guess if that is your goal you should . . . .  Anyway, moving forward, I actually don’t mind going to work today. I’m pretty open-minded about it, and I know it will be a fun day. And the crowd of people I will be dealing with today will seem infinitesimal compare to what I dealt with on Saturday. That’s why I mentioned the perspective thing in yesterday’s post, and the post was brief only because I was still recovering after a long day before, during which my friend and I spent nine hours driving to allow for a few hours of wonder, entailing a bit o’ time travel along the way. The destination was the Colorado Renaissance Festival, which happens weekends throughout the Summer season. There were 14,000 people there, and it showed. For a moderate agoraphobic, as I am, it was an interesting phenomenon; in a chaotic flow of people there came a comfort, unexpected and beyond, that I can’t put into words at this time. The underlying currents that flowed through the crowd were wonder and joy. Boy howdy that’s yer comfort right there! Nuff said.

The opening photo is of a living Goddess statue at the fair. The actress gave a splendid ongoing performance. My friend and I were nudging through the crowd, talking about all the amazing roles and costumes in attendance, when I mentioned that I had yet to see a Goddess costume. Within one minute we came upon the statue with children at the feet of the Goddess, statue, actress, whatever. Did I manifest this? No, silly, I did not. It wasn’t about me, right? What I manifested was the effects of wonder and true joy in discovering that amazing things are always nearby. And if you have to enter a milling crowd of 14,000 people to get there, to see this fact, then I sayeth to you huzzah!! The magic, for me, was generated from the fact that agoraphobia was rendered a mere curiosity within a crowd of 14,000 people who were there just to have fun. Let me tell you, it makes a difference. The perspective thing. And on that note I think I will take an extended preparation for work today. The shower a little longer, that sort of stuff. The deep themes of my quest for a new life at 62 remain in flow, but the events of a lovely weekend have more than tweaked how I see the world, they have . . . . well, perhaps a hand-blown glass orb? A new freshly-forged sword for m’lord? And for m’lady? I was speaking about m’lord, k? So don’t even try it. And there were thousands of beautiful women, countless children. Hmmmm, there did seem to be a shortage of Jesters there, which leads me to conclude that in such a crowd you have to be your own Jester. Ditto on the wizards. The magic was in the crowd. That’s what I am all about today. Make it so, make it good, make it right. One image shall linger for quite some time. The blond-haired blue-eyed serving maiden who fetched a pint of Sam Adams Creamy Stout for me. Pints for $5 each! But it was the smiling eye contact, lingering, comfortable, no unspoken challenges. “Thank you, m’lady. Here’s a bit for yourself”. I handed the lass a dollar, then doing my best to break the sparkling gaze. “Huzzah for the gentleman! Huzzah for the tipper!”. There’s yer magic right there. Just sayin.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Perspective Thing


“Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.”  ~  David Foster Wallace

Moist almost cool morning. A little muggy in fact. I’m not sure I really like it much. But the coffee is good. Actually, I jest, all in good fun. Brief note today. Yesterday was a long and fulfilling journey, both physical, and in a broad range of perspectives. The perspective thing? It was all over the fields. In essence the smile on the wind today comes from the simple fact that it is good to get out of town once in while. That was yesterday. And today? That would be telling.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Racing With the Prairie Wolf


“We are perishing for lack of wonder, not for lack of wonders.”  ~  G. K. Chesterton

“Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.”  ~  G. K. Chesterton

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”  ~  Carl Jung

Coyotes, all in the distance. A few skunk chirps nearby. Yet the dark night, early dawn is peaceful, unless you are a rabbit, in which case you’d better watch your hide. Coyotes may play around, but it is part of their hunting method. These lithe prairie wolves are stunningly, breathlessly beautiful to behold. I’ve seen one dance, up close. I’ve raced with one, the speedometer of my car topping out at 30 mph, the animal made a break for it and passed in front of the car, then off into the waist-deep sage forest. We locked eyes for a few seconds before he left me in the dust. Big wow there. I was mesmerized, and I now know that it was his intention that made it so. I mean, why would he do such a thing? Automobiles are dangerous. There is a metaphor in their somewhere. Anyway, moving forward. I’m short of time this morning, but it will be worth it. I’m riding with a friend up to Larkspur, Colorado to attend their Summer Renaissance Faire. It’s a four hour drive. Just the drive through La Veta pass, on highway 160 between Fort Garland and Walsenberg, makes the trip worthwhile; 9300 feet and scenery that takes your breath away. I’ve been to that faire before. It was a blast. Best be hitting the shower now. It’s going to be a long and lovely day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.