The Pale Fortress of Habit


“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” ~ Alan Watts

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” ~ John Krakauer

It’s one of the true pleasures in life for this barefoot island hippie boy to walk barefoot in fresh snow, and if it is the first snow of the season the pleasure is an honor as well. Reverence for Nature is no small thing. The first snow of the season is a gift. Another gift is the key sensory input we get through our feet, which are the prime contact point we have with the Earth itself. I learned that through exercising my preference for bare feet when I lived in the islands. Sure, I would carry sandals with me, but it was bare feet for me, if I could get away with it. Don’t let shoes run your life. It is a matter of self-care for me to walk barefoot in the snow. Yes, this morning there is snow, the first of the season. And it is a matter of both sole and soul. Boy howdy do my feet ever feel better now. It changes my whole outlook. But there was another gift as well. As I sat on the deck at 3 AM, just gazing across the intricate landscape of unblemished snow, a howl rose up from the silence. Besides the rich symbolism of a primal, passionate howl emerging from stone cold darkness, it is also a bit jarring to the central nervous system, and the endocrine system. There is a predator afoot in the land. The critter was quite nearby, from the sound of it. More howls emerged, until at last a howl rose up in the distance. Contact. The two coyotes had established contact; they were communicating. And the howls morphed into shrieks and yips as yet more coyotes joined the song and dance. The yips and shrieks were all accompanying the howl in the distance. The one outside the garden fence had been calling out to locate her pack. When coyotes sing out like that it is easy to hear the revelry and reverence in their song. That this group reunion of wild canids accompanied the first snow of the season . . . well, let’s just say that the magickal side of life, supercharged by the Winter Solstice, shook loose the brittle shell of psychic residue the daily social grind of everyday life leaves behind, cocooning us in a pale fortress formed of habit. Wow. I love that phrase. Yeh, I was already kinda loosened up from massage therapy followed by psychotherapy yesterday. It is all connected. Yesterday’s blog post shows that I felt something coming, and that something emerged from the cauldron of potentiality as snow and coyotes. I wrote:

“It’s a matter of intersubjectivity, wherein relationships of most any kind do the creatin’. Ain’t so hard for me to imagine, and I can’t rightly say I can adequately explain it to you neither. I am tempted to go on into field effects and systems theory this morning, but I think I will leave that to more ambitious folks for now. I am not feeling at all ambitious. Today I have back to back therapy sessions, body and mind. The soul stuff I have already begun. Today being such a magickal day it suits me well to listen to those voices on the wind, to listen to my heart, to listen, to simply listen. In fact, with no ambition it will be easier to hear the right things. I could even go for some drama, if need be. Drama has a bad name these days. So many peeps say they do need no stinkin’ drama. I hope they get their wish. Me, not so much. I recognize that I will be needing drama to help me achieve some of my goals.”

So drama it is. A workday smack in the middle of last minute holiday retail shopping. For an introvert and empath like me, such immersion in perky human habits, exposure in the marketplace, can take a lot out of me. But I can take in a lot as well. As for the drama – listen, I am a writer, a storyteller. A story without drama ain’t no story at all. My personal story has become one of habit versus novelty: things get shaken up bigtime at times. Perhaps it is analogous to that howl in the dark, which can allude to a sudden flash of novelty emerging from my unconscious mind. Or a light and new snow cooling off some fevered expectations that really need to go. The shell, the pale fortress, gets cracked open, making eventual flight an inevitability. You might be thinking this is a butterfly metaphor I am spinning here. Yeh, almost. But tis a moth I am seeing, for moths fly in the night, and I ain’t no way no how waitin’ for the light before I spread my wings.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously




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