I woke up not so rested this morning, filled with the incomplete angers and unfulfilled expectations of yesterday. I don’t rest well. I never have. I carry over, from day to day, all my previous day’s anguish.
I always have.
And I give voice to this left over anguish. Like some old man shaking his fist at the sky, I rant. I admit it. People are always offering me advice, telling me I shouldn’t take the world so personally. And I guess they are right. This feeling of worldly betrayal, of worldly unfulfillment, has affected me. I mean, I’m not particularly successful in any measure of the term. I don’t have many Facebook friends. I never have enough money, constantly scraping funds together for one project or another, sometimes succeeding, usually not. I have what I think are wonderful ideas that rarely fly on their own wings.
I feel alone.
Growing up I was told I mumble. Maybe so. I always felt I bubbled over with excitement. In fact excitement felt just like that, bubbles rising and falling along my spine, and I would talk that excitement, a clear vision, a determination to be heard, only to be called smart ass or radical. So I became radical. It was a valid response.
At 11 I became a vegetarian. Over the next few years I grew my hair long, grew my beard (yes, I had a scruffy beard in my early adolescence), read everything I could find, became misguidedly political. I loved learning and loved language, studying on my own the grammar of Hebrew and German, Greek and Latin, Urdu and Lao. I took Latin at school which began a love affair with all things Latin. I loved the shape of letters and alphabets, using them to devise codes and languages of my own, finally devising one form which I still use to this day.
I loved language. I would daydream seeing myself walking among forests of words, letters like trees. Good Saxon words are ash trees, tall and sturdy, pale trunked and stark green fading to the color of the sun, leaves falling away to reveal sheer meaning. Latin words are oaks, broad and dark, impenetrable, all form. (I have grown to love Latin, learning to speak three of its modern varieties.) And my own expression, the tall sweet smell of cottonwoods, soft, green and sun
ny, pale trunked and furrowed with meaning, imposing in presence and comfortable, easy to love, easy to misunderstand.
(There was a beautiful cottonwood near my house in Ohio. I called the tree Irene and would spend hours nestled in her branches on long Ohio summer afternoons.)
I mumbled like the sound of wind in cottonwoods, or would suddenly speak loudly, decisively, like the early growth of saplings. I once had an English teacher tell me I wrote beautifully, if only I wrote in English (can you hear the sigh?). How could I tell her I see cottonwood words, speak the sound of cottonwoods filtering sunlight?
Why would she care?
Why would anyone care? And in truth, they don’t. Oh, how can I say this softly? Most people don’t care about much of anything. You say you do, and you think you do, but you don’t. People flock to self-help gurus whose message is almost always the same: don’t take the world personally, learn to detach, care only about the important stuff (whatever that is). The other day on Huffington Post someone commented that I need to learn The Four Agreements by Toltec Shaman Don Miguel Ruiz (someone please tell me, what in the hell is a Toltec shaman?!) and not take things personally. People love this stuff, don’t they, because it gives the illusion of control in one’s life, gives permission to be uncaring, uninvolved, unaffected by the movements of life.
Where was I? Apparently I ramble as well, wandering about over the surface of the conversation at hand, because, well, I like to look in holes and nooks and crannies. That is why, after all, I studied archaeology and anthropology and religion, because they are the tools for peering into the holes and nooks and crannies of human society.
But I was talking about taking life personally, because it is personal. It is mine, my expression, my voice, my presence in this world, and like Handsome Lake I offer no apologies for the purity of who I am, only the conduct and contributions of my presence, which is good enough. I cannot be detached from the ground, from the food I eat, from what gives me shade or water, or its sources. I have consequences. And I am intimate with the understanding that You are a relationship pulling me out of myself and everything is you to me. When I close my eyes, you die, so I don’t close my eyes. I put You before I and I am lost to You.
Just as I am unsuccessfully lost in this cacophony of babble in my head. I feel like Salvatore and I know I will be burned and I don’t know any other way to speak, but I do offer insight, if you care.
There is no equilibrium. There is only entropy. And evolution isn’t movement to a higher order. It is only change.
There is nothing to fear.
There is only what is here to live.