a bit before bed

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Some weather, some solitude...

Lordy. I left with the sun shining. Shortly into the trip, I started to catch the rain. One truism about an old truck is that when it starts raining, you usually have to pull over to find the windshield wiper knob since it just doesn't stay on through the gear shiftings any longer. In fact, lots of things don't stay on any longer.

I had an opportunity to contemplate storm metaphors. Seems that one good thing about heading straight into a storm is that when it's at your back, you know it's finally behind you, and it isn't going to turn around. Unless it freezes, of course.

About two thirds of the way up river the rain turned to snow, and Plan B was formulating. Four miles off the road, a thousand feet higher, and Plan C was perking mightily, too. One thing about city apartments is they don't have a lot to do with a 64 Dodge loaded with plants, heading upriver in an unexpected snow - from town, I saw no portents of a reality that had any capacity at all to penetrate the sealed bubbleland of My Managed Life. There's something to be said for the sheer orneriness of the natural world.

I'd left with few clothes - certainly not the snow trekking kind - and no gloves. jeez. *That's* not going to happen again.

Happily to say, I made it all the way. The road hadn't washed out yet - it usually does about mid January I hear - the mid-day temps made everything slushy but not frozen, and I made it onto the land with only a few fishtail waddles marring my flawless approach.

THEN it turned glorious! The downpour from the valley was now a fat flaked snow. I had no rain gear, and was soon soaked, and so there was nothing to do for it but throw all my wet clothes over the thermal radiators and jump in the hot spring with snow falling all around til my overalls and long johns dried out.

Thank god I got warm, because my driver's side window proceeded to finally fall apart, disappearing into the body of the door after 4 years of threatening to do so, and so I had to drive home with the window down through blowing snow and trucks spraying ice water. I found one glove in the box, and kept throwing it on the defroster and changing hands every couple of miles. What a silly sight I must have been!

I beat it back down the valley before dark, and then discovered (again) why rural and city life don't mix - white carpets! Augh! I was filthy, and usually don't think anything of it. Enough mud and you stay warmer, you know. And then, after I'd made boot prints on the carpet, I did the cardinal sin of trying to clean the mud before it's dried. Sigh. What a mess.

Oh well. I'll get this city thing down.


>Why are you feeling so inclined to solitude? (This question has no
>valence. I have no opinion where the word "should" might rear its
>loathsome head. I'm just curious.)

All right then - since the valence is neutral, I'll wander around and avoid the backspace key when possible (ever the potential evidence of a "should" rearing its little head, disguised as a clarification) and contemplate this one out loud, hoping for some measure of accuracy as I beat around the bush.

One possibility:

I need to feel my center, because I'm becoming a very different person, very rapidly, and too much distraction interferes with the monitoring of this. All that's emerging within me is incredibly familiar, so "different" isn't the best word to use - it's more as though I haven't been *all* of myself for much too long, and I'm quickly becoming most, or at least, a much larger amount, of me. I have to laugh as I write this - I suppose, for the first time, I'm probably overwhelming myself. I suppose I've asked for it.

I'm just so full. I'm like this big moon who hasn't quite figured out the sun thing (I still think *I'm* shining, I suppose), reflecting upon so much right now, and internal places that were shadowed now have outlines and features, and I can see in my own darkness without being submerged in it - somehow, I'm finally able to hold the breaking parts of me, so there's something inside of me that's stronger than it was. I like that.

I'm noticing this, but it's harder to hold if I'm in the old contexts, especially the ones that have a vested interest in seeing me stay the same. Family - the familiar - tends to keep us in its comfortable patterns and, while I hunger incredibly for that comfort and miss it terribly, I've hungered even more for the maturation of spirit that I feel in myself right now.

Alone time, and time with new and different friends, is furthering this transformation - the holidays this year just seem to fall into the space between the circles of folk, the ones I've known, and the ones I will soon grow into. I think it's just an odd year. I know there's family in my future, and when it comes around I'll cherish it as it's supposed to be cherished, precisely because of years like these.

Another possibility:

As I wrote in one of the earlier "Tales", I'm at an unexpected juncture of life. I didn't expect to get this far and not have a family, and by this I don't mean my people of origin - I mean the people with whom I create a daily life, as well as the people I would have created. This is quite a surprise. It undoes me a little bit, because family was something I wanted a lot, and now, to find myself looking over my shoulder at the time when that might have been, but wasn't, is a bit harder this year than it has been in the past.

I hope it's not an age thing, intensifying over time. Perhaps my inclination toward solitude is a pre-emptive strike in that direction. Sogyal Rinpoche talks about one Tibetan practice that has you visualizing the death of your body, and then visualizing its decay. It's supposed to free you from false mental attachments to physicality, and free you from fear.

I held onto my husband, Galen, for longer than was wise. I held onto Douglas longer than I should have, as well. I did this because I loved, but also because I didn't want to be alone.

Now, perhaps, in experiencing and contemplating my solitude and feeling my aloneness, my so-called "freedom" (for I don't buy into this notion that freedom is only freedom *from*; I feel certain freedom must be, in even larger part, freedom *with*) I'm engaging in a kind of deconstruction of whatever it is in aloneness that I'm afraid of, if anything.

I don't really think I'm afraid of being alone, but I suppose this is one way of finding out.

I really think that I just don't *want* to be alone. It's inefficient. It's hell on cooking a good meal. It's impractical. It's much easier to get some alone space in a good relationship than it is to get some good deep intimacy in a mass of alone space. It's bad citizenship and poor stewardship. It's colder at night. It's not as much fun.

So, why the solitude? I don't know - guess I just haven't found the right company yet.

Another possibility:

Douglas suggested we spend Thanksgiving together. He was Alone. I was Alone. I kept it loose, thought about it, and then declined.

I sing this old jazz standard "All or Nothing at All" -

"...if it's love there is no in between;
why begin then cry for something that might have been?
No, I'd rather have nothing at all..."

I can't bear the idea of being together just because we have no one else to be with - especially not after what we've been through (gentle though it was), and come out on the other side of, and not after all the times that I've wanted so much to be Together, and been told "no".

Am I a scrooge, or a grinch? Perhaps. But I'm not moaning around too much - certainly not to anyone who would have felt they'd had it in their power to take care of my aloneness. When I'm with someone, I want to be with them to be with *them*, because of who *they* are, and how I feel when I'm with *them*, and who I am because of *them* - it's not about taking care of my feelings of aloneness; it's about being *with*, dang it. (There, did that get emphasized?)

If I'd wanted balm for loneliness, I would have gone South to my mother's and hung with all my aunts, and it would have been wonderful, just like your time with your girls, and everyone would have been great, and I would have felt held in my family, but it just wasn't that kind of time - in part, because everyone's in another state, and I'm tethered rather tightly to this world that I manage - alone.

"I just want to be alone," she sighs, wrist to forehead, eyes to heaven. God, how Garbo...

You know, I've worked every single angle I can think of - including not working the angles - to have a heart companion and still retain the core of who I am, and I haven't been able to do both. So, I'm sitting with the one thing I've actually been able to accomplish - me.

It ain't so bad, really.


>Maybe. Connection is more a state of being than an action, in my
>opinion. We have a connection. We can enjoy it, given the chance, but
>it will be there whether we maintain it or not.

Are you saying we're DSL? That might explain the bandwidth.

>>I cry a lot. I always have. I think I cry a lot less than I laugh, but
>>I still cry a lot. My automatic response to almost everything is to
>>laugh. Since I usually see both sides of many things, whatever makes
>>me laugh can usually make me cry, too.

>I wish I cried more.

Laugh more. And then look at the other side of it.. Eventually you'll be crying because you're laughing and laughing because you're crying, and it will be such a muddle that it'll drive you to tears...(sorry, couldn't resist...)

Don't know if the tears are a woman thing, or a brain chemistry thing. I do know that tears tend to make other people uncomfortable and then everyone just wants the tears to stop. I suppose it's tied up with what people - perhaps what you - think tears *mean*.

Do you remember in Frank Herbert's "Dune" his description of the Fremen custom of crying tears - "giving your water" - to another was the highest form of respect you could offer? I think tears are a measure of true emotional involvement. I think that if you really want to cry more, then let yourself feel more without figuring out whether or not you should, or why you are, and I guarantee you'll be crying in no time. At least, I am.

"when god created the universe
he took one breath
as big as a circus tent and everything began.

"when man determined to destroy himself
he took the "was" of "shall"
and finding only "why"
smashed it into "because"


>>Have you ever wandered in a swamp?

>Many times. Both literally and figuratively. I'm in one now.

What's going on? Did you head there on purpose? Are you cold and wet? Do you want to turn around? Are you seeing fern people?

>>point to look from - an Ophelia place of soft green lights and
>>yielding surfaces that only give.

>Don't forget what happened to her amidst all that beauty...

You know, I was thinking about this on the way up river. I was thinking about madness, and about the edges that people walk, and what makes them choose to see things in ways that are unreal, but perhaps more bearable - at least until they're dragged under the water, as Ophelia eventually was.

It seems to me that one of the good jobs in the world is to make sure that reality is safe and sane enough so that no one has to stay in the swamp, just because it seems better than dry land. (The swamp is *not* better than dry land. It's just do-able) And one way to do that is to continually frame the Real World in a way that makes reality look mo' better than not.

You mention the TFG - the Totalitarian Feel Good - and that's such a tactical mistake, even for the powers that be. We were much better off when we though life was Hard But Had Rewards. It makes reality more visible. The tough stuff can stay seen. How can you ever really appreciate flowers in the rubble if you can't see the rubble? Hell, how do you know where to plant the flowers?


Well, waxing on and on here, aren't I? It was good for me to think through some of the answers to your question. It was a good question.

Thank you, dear. Sweet dreams.



PLUR. Remember PLUR





-- Anonymous, November 26, 2001

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