For once the weather reports were right on. Two day deluge followed by two days of freezing rain. These pictures are taken exactly two days after my last post. There is a sheet of ice on the pond at the bottom of which the entire school of fish I worried about swimming away now appears dormant. All the vegetation is ice covered and wilted, even the unusually strong papyrus stems gave up. So I guess I won’t end up with a two generation pepper bush, which ‘til now the lone sorrano seemed to be since it was still growing peppers and blooming long after its fellow peppers had succumbed to milder freezes. All my pipes are frozen, so I am sipping the coffee I have in anticipation of another day before they thaw. I haven’t seen any of my neighbors outside for days so I don’t know if we’re all frozen or not. We don’t make many provisions for being cold around here, at least for very long.
The last time it snowed in Texas this far south was in ’72. I got stuck in the Houston bus terminal for two days with the traffic returning from grandma’s house for Christmas … two days of kids trying out all their presents all over the muddy floor of the terminal in spite of the frazzled protests of mother’s trying to sleep in the purposefully slippery seats provided. I don’t suppose I have ever recovered from the tolerance I developed in that little experience.
This inclemency has synched right in with reading the three books I just got from Amazon. The first, The People’s History of the United States, I have touched on as the best book discovery of 2006. I remember, when a friend told me that Henry David Thoreau would trudge a quarter of a mile through his woods to his mother’s for lunch, how deflated I felt in finding the truth to a myth I had built of his spartan life and civil disobedience that had by then been the original itch in the midst of success in my guaranteed yuppie future with IBM, and later the inspiration for my living a year and a half in the woods in two different tipis. I soon realized that the inspiration was real, as witness by how I benefitted from the experiences it lead me to. It matters not if the inspiration came from ones guru or an overhead ad on the bus. In the same way the last shred of the American Dream was stripped from my sky by Howard Zinn’s History of America. Up to now I thought I had stepped outside the myth and perceived its misdirection, but I gave the system credit for suffering a self correcting malfunction while trying to achieve my version of its history and heartfelt goals. Well, like with Henry David, I had to realize the parts of American history I was inspired by are still worth believing in for my own life despite the exposure of the dream as mass manipulation for the benefit of the rich. As I have stated before, I find wealth in the amount of things I can afford to live without or provide for myself and my tribe if needed … that is enough. The reality of the ongoing interests of the US government, as insidious as they are shown to be in Zinn’s nitty gritty expose’, can go forward only so long as the customers keep buying the product, whether it’s their bullshit or WalMart plastic pacifiers.
The second book was, Lila, by Robert M. Pirsig and off on another tangent altogether. I remember being quite impressed by his first book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and vaguely unsettled by it at the same time. That was thirty years before my pen pal from Scotland, Mullet, recommended it from reading my blog and emails. She was right on. I was once again unsettled by his metaphysics, but this time realized it wasn’t a conflict of meaning but the old tautology of words. To end the subject/object argument he breaks both down into two classifications, subject: inorganic matter and organic matter, and object: society and intelligence. He further posits two levels at each stage: static quality and Dynamic Quality representing the establishment and the aspiring heretic motivating the evolutionary drive for quality. He reasons quite well for all levels of reality and feel that he has truly stepped from the ranks of philosophologist bullshit and into the realm of the real elephant shit, philosophy. Welcome. In paraphrasing his thoughts in my terms, where he uses “quality” I would use “gratitude” and where he differentiates between static and dynamic quality I would express as the difference between the product of ones energy when feeling like what is being done is a “having to” or a “getting to” do act. Moments spent with an appreciation for the gift of the life that conceives and carries them out evolves that life and all who benefit. Time spent as unwilling compelled to be is as evolutionary as a tight bolt on the docking platform to which the appreciative heretics may return. I congratulate Robert for getting it all said in one book. Obviously Lila didn’t spill his slips.
The third book, I don’t know about yet. It’s called Redheads, by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, about the rehabilitation of humans as they study the rehabilitation of young orangutans and assist the natives oppose logging on their land in Borneo and reads, the first eight chapters, like a Tom Robbins' Guerillas of the Myth. Very sexy, interspecially speaking, so far. And I don’t suppose any new words could make it less so, we’ll see.