10-29-17 Ramblings from the homestead…

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(Morning) Yesterday, talked about suffering on the way to see my Grandma, she just turned 86. Brit said the line, about dying being positive, in the sense that a person’s suffering is finally over. I let it rest for a moment. Sit in its truth. Then I said, well isn’t all existence suffering. She had to agree to that too. What does it add up too then? Maybe you say all existence is suffering isn’t true. Try to go a day without eating, or drinking. Doesn’t the alarm clock torture, the traffic, the monotony, the ticking clock of mortality, potential for loss, unresolved desires, etc.?

My Grammy is dying. She doesn’t like it. She kept at it hard for eighty years, but then she busted her hip and everything seemed to go to hell. She was real bad there for a period, had to go do assisted living type thing. I remember visiting her there at lunch. With all the other sick and old people. A younger-older man, late forties, bleached old with death, smiling, a simmering ball of anger and hurt underneath. Smiling at me, at my life, how good that looks from that angle, children, a head of hair. She was bad then, hard to even talk to. I wanted to roll her back to her room, but its sort of like a jail visitation, you know the person’s a ward of the facility, smiling nurse aids. Thank you for coming, for caring.

She made it home though, a miracle, but now she always feels it, chasing her, stopping her. She complains about how she used to just get up and go, how it sucks it isn’t like that anymore. Talks about how she needs a haircut, and that when she goes out she grabs her teeth, those came a year or two ago. Her teeth had rotted with jarrring rapidity. She stopped eating. Everyone was mad at her about that, not eating. She’d drink those lil canned drinks, Insure, Ensure, Censure, I don’t know exactly what. But also it was being on all that dope. Tragedy that, Grandma getting a dope education in the eighties. And now she has that burned out quality, wide eyes, confused. Like a child.

Can’t explain it really can you? An other’s experience. Experiences that haven’t been experienced yet. We’ve decided to anesthetize ourselves to the Greater Mysteries, birth and death. They stab the women in the lower back, numbing the base chakra, the birth canal. Of course this also leads to them having to slice the abdomen open and rip the life from the belly, then it has to be whisked away, so Mom can be sutured, baby transported for measurement and catalogue. Death they’ve damage the body, and dulled the spirit in life itself, the door cannot be traversed, soberly or naturally. We’re ripped back from the brink, forced back into the material realm, the hospital bed, counterfeit dope occulting the predestined cerebral cornucopia of DMT and dopamine. How will we traverse the trans mortal-plane? And not float down to the floor of limbo?

Great Gma Gene, the one who danced with butcher knives in the moonlight, was do not resuscitate. And when the devious white coat ignored the order, he was met with an admonishing Lazarus, let me go! She went right afterwards that. I would like to face it like that. Full in the face. I want the time to savor it, to feel the soft carpet under my foot, run my hand along the drywall, as I walk down that dark hallway. Not ripped like my Aunt was, run down by a semi on an interstate exit ramp. A snap of the finger, a screech of metal and rubber, then nothing, but warm nothing, then real nothing, maybe.

I’m not so sure about it all, to be honest. The way people spit in the face of it, ignore it. Recently in my area, a family of three was killed by a fucker passing on a tight country highway. Mom, kid, Grandma snuffed out in flash, because some piece of shit had to pass on the two lane, to do what? Not be late to work? Get home to scratch his ass? Get to his bar stool before Henry stole it? The fucker was still in the hospital, people working frantically to save him. Something rolls in me, a dark spirit, it yearns for a simpler justice, a simpler morality…

Later, after 9PM, homestead is in full effect. Neighbor invited us to the rest of their apples, amounted to quite the haul, 60-70lbs, so for the last few days we’ve been making apple sauce and apple butter, canning it in the water bath. We have a noteworthy canned stash of tomatoes and applesauce, one jar of pickles, a bunch of jalapeño jelly. There’s something magical about this last year, the wins, the losses. I planted two more hazelnut tree this previous week. I’m rooting for them, but the cold is coming on, and the winds been blowing like its pissed. I buried them in a nice pile of hay though, and I take the water from the canner the night before and give them a drink, waking them up in the morning. We canned a bunch of little jars of apple-butter for gifts for the approaching holidays.

My Dad came over tonight for a Birthday dinner. Britney made beef stew and homemade biscuits, along with our usual three loaves of wild yeast sourdough bread for the week. For a treat we had pumpkin bars, made from delicious pie pumpkins we scored from a noteworthy farm in the area. Had twenty or more different kinds of squash and pumpkins. Everything is like that, infinite number of varieties, manifesting an infinity of different characteristics. Just got to take notice. The pie pumpkin is smaller then your stereotypical pumpkins. You roasted them in the oven, after saving the seeds for your own next year, of course. You’ll be surprised how much pumpkin stuff you get from one. Use it and you’ll realize you can’t go back to that canned stuff. Doesn’t quite taste right anymore.

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10-21-17

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10-21-17

I had to give up on the Bear Story. It was too much. Too fresh. Felt like trying to get a grip on a slippery boulder, only to have to try to lift it to an impossible height. Got tired of writing in 2017, an unfortunate development for sure. Part of it is that there is no external incentive, money, adoration, whatever, in it for me. It’s also cause the Farm/Homestead has become the dominant call. Our initial goal was more food than we can eat, and the bed of radishes I’m feeding my chickens right now is evidence of the achievement of that goal. The writer, content producer in me can’t help but scoff, all this good life material and I’m not even sharing it.

I stand sort of bewildered and blown out, by the world. I think that’s an apt description of approaching middle age itself. Sometimes solitude and time to self feel like a deathly needed glass of water in Death Valley, but when it’s finally gripped, you yearn for the others. There’s god in that.

Finally saw that In The Wild movie, didn’t see it when it initially came out, the hype was nauseating, but I think I read an article telling his story. Even knowing it was coming, the ending made me cry. Having to put down my nine year old laberdoodle Cujo recently has done that to me, made me all blubbery. It sits right there behind a thin film of ego constructed stoicism. I’m still in the truck weeks ago, driving him that beautiful, sunny morning, music blaring, insane. Petting him and crying. Songs were all poignant, topical. Hendrix Along the Watchtower, Audioslave Like A Stone. The later carried a hidden poignancy since I first heard it.  I knew it would pop up like that in the future, its meaning and purpose foreshadowed, long ago and into the future, both at once.

The need to write is strong. But the avenue seems obstructed. I keep trying to restart the journal like one of my cheap, alway needing repaired, riding mowers. It feels like life itself, things work, they break, you work to fix them, defeat, try again, and again, then it works, for a while.

Everything is connected. A sort of sentence you’d read in a self-help book or maybe on a t-shirt. We’ve done that, popularized everything, reduced everything to the “essentials.” When you get that grip though, the correct angle and lens, it can sparkle, however briefly, a light projected through the angles of the mass. It’s all spinning together, one humongous organic organism, withering away in some crippled search for meaning. Crippled because its been detached from any natural process. And you realize, you ride on the mass, staring back at yourself, a reflection of a person, forever pulled and yanked by the whole. Your screams can neither be categorized as exaltation or lamentation, only your ego in breaths between, can look with a selfie-stick of self, and try to make sense of it.

Parenthood shows this. It’s a tragic drama. Child, tabula rosa, utterly dependent, push parent self to its highest, most mature forms, but then roles gradually reverse and deteriorate, around seven or eight, now it’s about learning to let go, letting them be their own person, learning to shut off that attachment, and move on. It’s about control, and your lack of it. You end up back where you were before, you have to cultivate a detachment to it all, recognize it all goes on just fine without you. That becomes a horror of adulthood I think, watching when people die and everyone just goes on about their business.

Writing interrupted, call from Aunt D, my Grandama’s sister. Women. Old women. The way of talking about illness and the burdens of others like it’s somehow your fault. The sort of blame that creeps in your bones, and makes you want to shake it off like a dog. But you know they love you, mean well, but something bad is in that. Time. Saturn. The supposed End. For years been hearing about how Grandma’s going down hill, sort of bugging everyone with it. What do you say? You can almost feel embarrassed if you’re in a good mood, or enjoying yourself. Feel I get that a lot, people being negative and it bugging me. “Being negative” that’s another t-shit type thought, isn’t it? Or the inverse, Be Positive. Like a battery terminal, or an electron. Turned on. And it feels like that doesn’t it, an added something, a buzz, a good mood. Collectively, we’ve had ours stolen, replaced with false promises of shitty food, silicone breasts and tentative safety. Talk about your dreams with others, they’ll ask about health insurance. Man doesn’t live on health insurance, right?

So that’s about where I’m at. Feels good banging the keys. Letting the fingers play. The words are there, but to what end? Half contemplating, saying fuck it and doing Nanowrimo again. Got this character percolating, Horus Rizen. Think middle aged Holden Caulfield. I know that’s a little ahistorical, he’s an old dead fucker by now. But I think the world is very much middle aged Holden Caulfield, or is it Charlie Manson? Actually it’s more like Holden Caulfield’s kid, after Holden got with a hippie chick, ate a little LSD, and ended up working for a software start-up. Holden’s at death’s store (door), he’s flipped, realized how grand life is, and frantically works at plugging his brain/soul into a computer, like Ray Kurzweil. Horus can’t do anything but drink organic coffee from Chiapis and scroll through the terrorizing news thread on his Ipad…anyway, you tell me.