Dreams of Black Beans and Rice

“I learned in the doing how ready I had to be. Life doesn’t hold still. A good snapshot stopped a moment from running away. Photography taught me that to be able to capture transience, by being ready to click the shutter at the crucial moment, was the greatest need I had. Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture, and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it. These were things a writer needed to know.” ~ Eudora Welty

“The bodies of traumatized people portray “snapshots” of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. For example, when we prepare to fight or to flee, muscles throughout our entire body are tensed in specific patterns of high energy readiness. When we are unable to complete the appropriate actions, we fail to discharge the tremendous energy generated by our survival preparations. This energy becomes fixed in specific patterns of neuromuscular readiness. The person then stays in a state of acute and then chronic arousal and dysfunction in the central nervous system. Traumatized people are not suffering from a disease in the normal sense of the word- they have become stuck in an aroused state. It is difficult if not impossible to function normally under these circumstances.” ~ Peter Levine

Coyote tracks in fresh, deep snow. This opening image is one I always get deep feelings from, having been out there to see it in the bitter cold of a Winter’s morn. Those Winter days are past. Maybe more snow? Yeh, maybe – it’s only the beginning of May. But it will melt in a New York minute. Tomorrow is Beltane, which encourages thoughts of fertility and growth. Yeh, buddy. Bring it on. Goddess knows I’m feelin’ pretty darned fertile these days, though at this point, as far as I can tell, it’s more groan than growth. The Sun is rising, and it never got too cold last night. Time to draw open the curtains and open the window to let the bad air out, the good air in, whatever. It’s all about fluid dynamics, systems theory, and field effects. That’s the kind of noetic stuff that feeds my left brain, ever since my right brain got too big for it’s britches. But I will . . . oh, never mind. Now, about today’s quotes. The Observer in me these days is tasked with keeping an eye on unnecessary anchors and taking a gander at the vistas ahead. But the Observer is bearing Witness to the effects of Trauma on my vision, and that of others as well. Trauma, for me, has a 1-2-3 punch, where my Third Eye is hard against the handlebars, my soul is beholding celestial wonders, and I am awakening to the face of a beautiful woman, with that of a paramedic, who just happened to be passing by, gazing over her shoulder. That’s the visual. The feelings are something quite more intense – enough so that sometimes tears slip through the overflow valve. Yeh, I feel good this morning. The snapshot of me close to death on the tarmac is one I have never been able to shake. I don’t reckon I want to let it go at this point. It is a reminder of a seminal moment in my life; a moment that wore the mask of nightmares, for three decades. But it is laundry day, so why do I need to worry about that stuff anyway? It’ll get me out of the house – and there may even be some fish and chips from LotaBurger in my future. With green chile tarter sauce. But if a fish basket does come to grace my presence I may well opt for Key Lime juice, hot sauce, and salt. With a side of Cuban black beans and rice, with chopped raw red onions. But now I’m just dreaming. That’ll have to do for now.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Contrarieties and Strange Attractors

“All things fade and quickly turn to myth.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

“Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.” ~ Terry Pratchett

“It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Up with the sun this morning. That’s quite late for me, actually. I awoke to a new world, then realized that I am entirely too groggy to make such a determination at this time. Silly me. Yesterday was not a lost day, just a long and foggy one. In taking my morning meds, I realized too late that I had taken considerably more of the groggy-making one than I am used to; by no means a dangerous dose – there are people out there who take way more on a daily basis – yet enough to render driving the car to be a stupid thing to do, and work was out of the question as well. Let’s just say I was profoundly relaxed. I don’t rightly feel so at this time, but I reckon I did some serious catching up on emotional exhaustion. Well, yeh, mental fatigue as well. I’ve resisted writing too much about the spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional, toll that comes from being out in the trenches four days a week – the trenches being where I caress a cash register all day, and take people’s money in return for goods. Business has been booming. Mixed blessing, that. Profound contrariety, that. Hmmm,”contrariety” – I just learned a tasty new word. That makes me happy. I put locally produced aromatherapy hand sanitizer on my mask to sooth my soul and freshen things a tad. (Not a product placement: Taos Herb rocks) There are occasional moments of praise when a sincerely concerned customer offers commendation and thanks for us being heroes and stuff. Those moments are deeply touching, and somewhat embarrassing, but I must admit that it ain’t feelin’ quite like that as of yet. I’ve used the metaphor of being in the trenches for years now. Cashiering can be great fun, but if you look at it from an energetics perspective you notice that you are taking the brunt of the attitudes, moods, entitlements, and general existential status of everyone who steps up to be served. Some days peanuts, some days shells, I suppose. We all operate and navigate in a sea of human electromagnetic fields: there are fields, currents, tides, and strange attractors. For those unfamiliar with Chaos Theory, a strange attractor is something that mysteriously conjures ordered patterns out of chaotic systems. Just sayin’. Right now I’m a gonna go out and have me a smoke while I squint and gaze upon the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’ve got a phone-in psychotherapy session at two. Maybe I will in part explore why that certain smile has been appearing in some of my dreams of late. Hmmmm – she is a strange attractor, for me. That much is certain. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

All That Tasty Noetic Stuff

“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.” ~ Lily Tomlin

“To live without philosophizing is in truth the same as keeping the eyes closed without attempting to open them.” ~ René Descartes

“Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.” ~ John O’Donohue

Rosie the cat is on the window sill, drawn by a brief outburst from the local coyotes. I can’t blame her, really. I find them compelling as well. My reaction to hearing them through the glass was to open the window to the fresh morning air; still dark, but the light is slowly burgeoning to the east. I’ll be out there beyond the fence around my usual time, about 6 AM. 40º at 5:30 AM. Forecast high of 74º today. No rain in sight. My personal forecast high comes around 6 PM, when I have settled in at home after a day of work. The high is unavoidable. It’s the muscle relaxing, anxiety squelching, thing that counts. My cannabis consumption has has lessened considerably since the pandemic began to shout. I have no explanation as to the reduction. Don’t need one. Coping mechanism. Yes, I am feeling the toll from being empathic out there amidst the public; protected relatively well, yet never knowing when a vector of disease might swing on in. My attitude out there is good, but there is always that deep and silent primal fear to contend with. To that add my near-anger at the seeming pervasion of conspiratorial indulgence. Yeh, yeh, yeh, blah, blah blah. So, my friends, we are being euthanized by filthy rich people and shapeshifting reptilian assholes? Zombie apocalypse? Happenstance, Nature at work? I mean, WTF! But I am using it as a way to shape-shift my own self. Me thinks the upward leap of consciousness, the quantum evolutionary Jump Time, is upon us. The awakening of our connections within the Noosphere. But I haven’t time to get into all that tasty Noetic stuff this morning. It’s time to go look at the mountains before I head on into Taos for my workday. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Cherishing An Interrupted Dream

“No one compares to you, but there’s no you, except in my dreams tonight.” ~ Lana Del Ray

“It was finally becoming clear to her that love wasn’t about finding someone perfect to marry. Love was about seeing through to the truth of a person, and accepting all their shades of light and dark. Love was an ability.” ~ Lisa Kleypas

“Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.” ~ Albert Einstein

Sleepy morning. The cat woke me up at 2:30 AM, with incessant meows. So, groaning like an old man, I got up, and she contentedly went to sleep. I can’t explain it. Cat stuff. That’s all I can say. It is Sunday morning and I remain contentedly groggy. Whatever worries I have lack relevance to the matter at hand, which is to rest after two days of busy business. I’ve grown resolved, resigned, whatever, to spending my time working, resting, and sleeping – and watching Star Trek: Voyager. And hosting the cat.

First light is coming up now, in shades of lavender, and it’s looking like I may be headed for a morning nap, thanks to Rosie the cat. My mood is somewhat romantic. Something to do with the dream Rosie interrupted. Regardless of having no memory of what the dream was about, I will cherish that dream throughout the day. That’s good enough for me. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Those Barefoot Island Hippie Boy Days

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” ~ Noel Coward

“What shocked us the most was that we had no idea why we should be so shocked. Like opening a ginger ale and finding Jamesons’ inside: nothing wrong with it, but it sort of takes you by surprise.” ~ Spider Robinson

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.” ~ Richard Dawkins

Let’s think of something beautiful. Better yet – since thinking Beauty misses the point – just look at it, or go touch it, or even just watch it float through the mind. It ain’t going nowhere. It will be there when you need it. I promise. Beauty might have to smack you upside of the head to get your attention (and it will) but note that it is present and able to do so. That’s me today. It was my good fortune that back in 1984 Beauty smacked me a good one, and it was more like half-inch rebar than it was like a pressure-treated 2×4. Forgive me the metaphor, but I work in a hardware store. It could have been a five foot signature model high-tech graphite deep sea fishing pole, for all that matters. I used to be a booking agent for deep sea fishing charters as well. Howzabout a smack upside of the head with a 60 lb. blue marlin? Hmmm? But let’s not milk metaphors any further this morning. I don’t. Perspective is something that has been haunting me of late. Like why the heck do I even think I need to live up to other people’s thinking in regards to me? Case in point: I know a young man who when I mentioned that I was buff, tanned, and had nearly curly blond hair when I did landscaping out in the Summer island paradise. He said, “come on, Ken, you don’t need to lie”. I told him, “You are right, I don’t need to lie“. Like I have to deny a fact about my past because some friggin millenial can’t conceive of me being a certain way. I traveled 1800 miles on my bicycle as well; all alone, and happy to be so. That was only three months after I got hit by a car, out front of the Sunset Inn, and my left fibula was fractured by the impact. Got me $6600 out of the deal. That payed for the bike that carried me all that way. I had to get a new bike because the pedal and crank shaft were snapped clean off, also by the impact. I never told that story to that friggin millenial kid. His doubts and assumptions are frankly none of my business. But none of that matters at the moment, because I have to scrub up and head to work. Ya know, there is a pandemic every single workday. How fair is that? And they say the virus is man-made, to cut down the weak ones in the population, so that the shape-shifting reptilians can enslave of us all. Yesterday a woman told me about the numerous underground alien facilities in New Mexico, and how they are tied in to the global money market, the Bilderbergs, whatever. Like I really need to know all that stuff. She failed to mention that the tabloid mentality of many many (sic) Americans already has us enslaved. Again – whatever. Time for me to go out and cop a gander at the mountains before I step into the shower and shape-shift myself into a useable form for my work shift. They make me wear shoes. I was likely riding barefoot when the car struck me – I often did, back in those barefoot island hippie boy days; but who can believe that?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Heart and Soul Kind of Thing

“There is no place so dangerous as a world without magic.” ~ Terry Goodkind

“There is something powerful in the whispering of obscenities, about those in power. There’s something delightful about it, something naughty, secretive, forbidden, thrilling. It’s like a spell, of sorts. It deflates them, reduces them to the common denominator where they can be dealt with.” ~ Margaret Atwood

“And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.” ~ J. K. Rowling

Sleepyhead. Thats’s been me lately. Just the stress of the marketplace during a pandemic, I suppose; at this point anyway. Yesterday I managed to get myself out and to the laundromat. Did the graphic for today’s post. Watched some Netflix. Napped; a good long one. I really should write everyday. Maybe the blog post, but not necessarily. Just write. Yesterday I did not. The writing everyday is something I believe a writer should do – it’s practice, but beyond that it is a massaging of sorts; a heart and soul kind of thing. Saturday night I was barraged (it seemed; probably not that harsh) with magic, blended with some odd things around the room, that came to my awareness because of my mood. Things that were already there, but outside of my conscious awareness. Material things. Things aggravated by the heightened paranoia from exhaustion. It is good for me to allow casual analysis when this kind of stuff happens. Rationality helps a lot. But there is also the bruja – at it again. There’s no rationality there, just juju. Dark magic is akin to gaslighting, in many ways. What it all simmers down to is how ya use it, how ya react, then change course accordingly. That’s me this morning. Danged dreams slipped past my awareness again. The feelings are strong; the details, not so much. Whatever. I’ve gotta boost Rosie the cat from my lap, so I can prep for work. Onward.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Riddled With Folly

“The most important part of a story is the piece of it you don’t know.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

“Art is the antidote that can call us back from the edge of numbness, restoring the ability to feel for another.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Coyotes made my day, back around 4:15 AM. It quickly became obvious that the dogs barking down the road were indeed coyotes instead. It took just one howl, and the whole pack let loose with yips, howls, barks, and a few other noises I can’t rightly label. It is a delightful form of madness that seems to take the edge right off the madness of today’s human follies. And I saw three Sandhill cranes yesterday; and a light red fox a few days ago. Lucky me. Now, Coyote of legend is no stranger to folly. Nor am I. But I won’t go into that this morning. There’s no writing time left, and I don’t want to talk about it anyway. You can see yourself fairly riddled with folly, but it’s likely best to not talk about it, because what seems like personal folly to you may well look like ageless wisdom to someone else. Life is like that at times. Gotta go.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Blessed Rain and Good Cartoons

“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.” ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.” ~ James Joyce

Let’s not forget that writing is convenient. It requires the simplest tools. A young writer sees that with words and sentences on a piece of paper that costs less than a penny he can place himself more clearly in the world. Words on a page, that’s all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions.” ~ Don DeLillo

Blessed rain overnight. I heard a shower a short while ago, and though I was uncertain that the sound was actually rain, I allowed myself to believe that it was – and of course it was. We desert dwellers usually love to see rain come. It was unexpected and that makes me smile. It’s been a long and restful two days off. Talking on the phone with my psychologist yesterday morning was a true pleasure, and helpful – and compelling. The guy is quirky, and smarter than the average bear. He basically grilled me on what I did to cope with my past two months of deep stress. He laughs at the oddest times. I love it. But once again I have let myself wander in the borderlands of internet immersion and infusion. Best go shake off this cartoonish stuff and get ready for work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love good cartoons. Good ones.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Like A Sloth in the Fog

“In the morning I woke like a sloth in the fog.” ~ Leslie Connor

“Recounting the strange is like telling one’s dreams: one can communicate the events of a dream, but not the emotional content, the way that a dream can colour one’s entire day.” ~ Neil Gaiman

“Science is my territory, but science fiction is the landscape of my dreams.” ~ Freeman Dyson

The razor-slim Moon over Pueblo Canyon. The pale orange light. The face mask on the seat of my car. The box of baby blue nitrile gloves on the floor below. The bottle of grapefruit juice I left in the car so it would be there, icy cold, on this peaceful morning in late April. The cigarette. The perfect coffee waiting inside for me. The Taylor Swift solo piano tune that will haunt me forever. The sprinkling of snow on the roof of the car. The morning itself. The deadly virus floating around somewhere.

All in all, not bad, all things considered. Today is the second day of two days off. Yesterday was the drifty do nothing kind of day I like on a Sunday. I did make my first car payment, so there is that. The rest? In the zone, dude. In the zone. The title of this post – such a clever image – clearly explains why I didn’t post yesterday. And the opening photo – I am drawn to the river these days – to remember the Tao, the Watercourse Way. The Rio Grande runs deep within the Gorge because it is the only way through. It’s worth paying attention to. So, what does the day hold? A phone appointment with my psychologist, then a jaunt down into Taos to visit the dispensary, to replenish my stash. Right outside the window behind my desk a magpie just popped up into view right over the computer. Startling, to say the least – adding a note of wonder to my strangely sweet mood of melancholy. Boy howdy I remember when you had to go to the clinic to see the doctor. A sign of the times. It’s not hard to tell how working smack in the middle of the marketplace is affecting me; it’s just – most of it anyway – too deep and translingual to express in any intelligible sort of way. No worries. I don’t have to. The first rays of open sunlight just hit the trees in the yard, casting golden light into the mix. I will leave it at that, k?

All is well. Goof gloriously.

And a Perfectly Good Cat

“I loved the idea that looking at a painting or listening to a concerto could make you somehow “transcend” the day-in, day-out bullshit that grinds you down; how in one instant of pure attention you could draw something inside that made you forever larger.” ~ Mary Karr

“Sometime look at a novice workman or a bad workman and compare his expression with that of a craftsman whose work you know is excellent and you’ll see the difference. The craftsman isn’t ever following a single line of instruction. He’s making decisions as he goes along. For that reason he’ll be absorbed and attentive to what he’s doing even though he doesn’t deliberately contrive this. His motions and the machine are in a kind of harmony. He isn’t following any set of written instructions because the nature of the material at hand determines his thoughts and motions, which simultaneously change the nature of the material at hand. The material and his thoughts are changing together in a progression of changes until his mind’s at rest at the same time the material’s right.” ~ Robert Pirsig

My first therapist wrote her doctorate thesis on Flow Consciousness. I’m not sure what all I learned from seeing her, beside the obvious effects of her therapeutic skills. But I do know that Flow has become an invaluable tool these days. There is a big part of me that doesn’t like to leave home at the best of times. Now, with a pandemic mucking up society left and right, I have even less desire to go out. I’ve got an iMac desktop, a comfy chair, a window behind my desk that shows me the world of Nature, and a perfectly good cat. Where Flow comes in is easy to convey: the only way to get me out there is to simply jump in and go. I must do so today. We’ve had no significant change in the flow of customers at work, except that many of them are wearing some kind of mask. It keeps me busy, and the feeling of camaraderie with strangers is a true pleasure. Many people come together quite naturally. I’m not heading anywhere with today’s post. I haven’t enough time to go anywhere except to work, and we are only open till noon so my trepidation at going in is more manageable than most days. Whatever. And there will be a Saturday afternoon nap. Cat, chair, computer, internet, ale. But first a shower. I think I’ll go look at the mountains first. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.