Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting to Internet access has been a little rough lately.  But life, otherwise is going well.  I've made my way to deep Southern Illinois and am living in a beat up old house in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  Every morning I have a 23 mile drive into the office through one of the craziest deer gauntlets I've ever seen.  If I don't hit one this winter it will be some sort of fluke or miracle.  There's a new blood splatter on the pavement every day it seems, and scant little traffic.

I'm doing a trail work season here in the Shawnee.  How very strange to be making my living with ax and crosscut saw in my home state of Illinois.  Talk about full circle!  I'd rather be on the West Coast where my friends are and where I could feasibly date.  But this place is beautiful in a very different way than the grand epic vistas of the West and I'm lovin' it.  The forest lands are relatively small patches between farmland and myriad small towns, prisons, and coal mines the two main industries here.  The "Wilderness" areas are only a few thousand acres each, but there are seven of them and that is enough to keep me employed.  I'm just a grunt here, but my skills are recognized and respected which is enough for me.

I can't say enough how much I've been geeking out about the hardwood forests.  I haven't spent any time with these types of trees since childhood and yet I'm finding I recognize dozens of species I'd forgotten about.  Learning and re-learning their forms and properties and uses and lore is really exciting to me.  Tickled pink as they say.

This is also a really interesting cultural transition zone where the MidWest meets the South.  I work with a number of very interesting people, some of whom could be straight from an episode of Duck Dynasty complete with giant beards and thick accents.  Four of the six people on our crew are Veterans, 3 of them Iraq infantry vets and 2 of them Marines.  One of the Marines is actually from my home town.  What a strange circle.  But I really like everyone so far, and respect them all, if for very different reasons each.  I'm learning a lot.  And it is such a nice change from the high octane job of being the Foreman of a big crew at the Park this summer.

I probably won't make much money but maybe it'll be enough to fund a little trip abroad come spring and perhaps build enough of a coffer to replace old Bessie next summer.  She's already over a quarter million miles and I'm finding myself doing a lot of wrenching on her.  =/

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cotyledon Promises

Liquor, Pussy, Flying Bark
Smoke and Flame and tears of shame
Words of warning you did not hark

Laid to rest in Smoke and Flame and Flying Bark
          Xylem, Phloem
          Fuck em.

Cut the tree.
Let it be

Shearing deep  Looking in
Another wood-chip rots to wisdom
A little less mirror pity  A little less shame

But you still won't deserve it
when fortune shines again

No one does.

Karma only hurts so we can't game
And luck is just being ready
With mind open and suspended shame
And you still won't deserve it
when fortune shines again

Why mill the cant
and build a fortress?
When wood-chips will quickly rot away
and time himself is made from rotting day
and peace herself is made from rotting day
and so is love
or so they say

And you still won't deserve it
when fortune shines again

So cut it down and cut it up and let it lay
And when fortune shines again
Perhaps in a thick warm humus
strewn across your nicked and sodden heartwood core
And in the space and light revealed by fallen tree
A cotyledon might unfurl
promises of springtime flowers.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Restless Monk.

I've been pretty happy the past couple weeks.  So much so that my friends' kids at one point asked what was wrong with me.

I'd had a few drinks at the time, but still.  Cracked me up.

So Tuscon never called.  And I've made it over the divide to Illinois for the holiday.  I guess I'll be working through the winter here.


I sure hope there are some interesting surprises in store for me because I'm damned restless right now.  Way too much energy and I'm tempted to jump a flight to Istanbul for no damned reason.  Or anywhere else for that matter.

Hopefully I'll have a pretty good grasp on my situation and schedule soon so I can start working on some adventure to look forward to... and so I can begin learning traveler's Turkish or something.  But I hate abortive new endeavors so, I'm waiting...   And crawling out of my skin with bored, restless energy.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Working on things

So after a few days of really intense cold rainy, snowy and sad nights, (You have to eat to stay warm apparently.) Things started coming around.  I guess I had been too busy to really address the emotional fallout of this summer's breakup.  To busy applying for jobs and moving my things into storage, etc for that.

Well, it's pretty well addressed now.  And though my motivation has been low with all the rain and the cold mornings I did manage to at least clean up the work site around my cabin project and make a little light progress before taking a break to retreat to 80 degrees, friends and sunshine in California.

I have a job offer on the table now, though I'm not exactly thrilled about it.  It's in Southern Illinois which means I'll be living like a monk.  The prospects of dating in Illinois, especially the deep south part of it (This place is half way between St Louis and Memphis) are, to say the least, horrific.

I've still got my fingers crossed for the bigger money job in Tuscon, but if it doesn't pan out I'll enjoy the time catching up on reading books and what not.  And banking enough money living on a monk's budget to be able to replace my truck in the next year or so.  Old Bessie will break 250k miles by the time I make it half way across the country.  And the clock is ticking.

So, anyway, roll that clock back a bit and well, an update is due.  This summer I was the Trails Foreman at Crater Lake National Park.  It was a very successful season.  And I had an excellent crew.  No drama on my hands to speak of.  But I did have to tread very carefully and it's a little sad to have to maintain one's distance from people, but prudent given it is my job to pass on the information regarding the relative productivity of different people in an arena where there's not enough money to get everyone all the work they might want.

There was a lot of back and forth between Portland and not nearly enough enjoying the mountains on my off time.  The more time one spends behind the wheel and the less time in the forest the lower his quality of life, almost without exception.  It's been a very true rule for me.

But despite that things went so well with work this summer that it bolstered my confidence dramatically.  I suppose I decided somewhere mid-summer on some level that I was strong enough to do without a woman.  It was really probably just a matter of time after that before it had become pressingly clear to me that that was also the right thing to do.

That said, actually going off on one's own sends a hammer blow through that confidence and you have to find equilibrium again after taking that step, even if you agreed with your choice through it all.

At one point several weeks ago I even went out on a date.  She was cute and intelligent, outdoorsy and very emotionally mature and introspective.  But it was clear that it could only have been a short term thing (because of logistics).  And reflecting on that and looking deeper into my motivations I had to let that opportunity pass.  It would have been an exercise in weakness, basically finding the first suitable female to use as a drug to fuck the pain away, to bolster confidence and more pragmatically to help break the bond of a previous relationship.  Rebounds work, that's just simple neuro-science.  But they also bury shit that should be explored and addressed.  In my opinion the right thing to do is to stay alone, and BE alone with yourself until you can clean emotional house, not just slap a new coat of paint over top the nicotine and shit stained walls of your heart.  That takes a few months, not a few weeks.  And if you don't do it you end up playing the victim putting the fault on the other person for sucking.  "Look how great I feel now with this new person!  The old one must really have been shitty or shitty for me in comparison."  But it's just the dopamine talking.  And it makes it damned near impossible to objectively look at what your own responsibilities were in the failure of the previous relationship.

So I'm avoiding doing that.  I've made that mistake twice in the past and it hindered my growth greatly.  So I guess if I do end up stuck in Southern Illinois for 6 months this winter it won't be all a bad thing in that regard.

Anyway, What else?

Oh I went Elk Hunting this October!  I've wanted to do that so badly for so many years now it had been driving me bonkers.  I didn't get an elk.  I only had an over-the-counter Bull tag and it was for a region that has less than an 8% success rate.  My odds weren't good and they were worse because I had to work part of that week and my truck broke down for the other.  But I was able to diagnose and repair the truck on my own for two different problems and that felt good too.  It was a hell of a meditative experience hunting out there in the soaking Cascade rains and occasional deep golden hues of a sun low on the horizon when the clouds broke.  And I had a few downright magical moments out there like when I sat 15 yards from a pair of cow elk who never saw me for an entire half hour.  But alas no bull and no meat.  Which, I suppose is also good in a way because it would have been a serious hassle for me to deal with butchering and transporting and storing without a home.  I am simply glad to finally have the pieces of that endeavor come together for me if only for the attempt.

I don't believe in a God.  But there is clearly an order behind events fitting together in a way that defies credibility of pure random occurrence and I have seen this over and over this summer and fall.  I would like to believe that there are good things in store, but I'll take what I can from what comes next.  There is no other way to live, methinks.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

And Homeless...

That's it.

Work's over.

Last night under a roof.

Out into the cold and the snow.

No word on a winter job yet either.

It's a little scary.

Why does freedom always come when we want it least?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oh Man...

A little over a month ago I broke up with Holly.


I had dumped a lot of energy into that very difficult relationship for a long time.  And yet still it continued to feel like a game of emotional whack-a-mole in which my heart was the mole.

I value her quite a lot, but some people are just bad matches or at least bad matches in certain time frames.  I have to wonder if maybe things would have been different for us if we had met at a different time, perhaps a time when I was not so deeply hurt and she was not so deeply depressed, consumed with anxiety, debt, rage and burgeoning alcoholism.  Not that it matters, we both did well to heal ourselves (to varying degrees) during our time together but the consequences of riding out that time together left me in a situation that had become so toxic that my shoulders immediately wound into Gordian knots upon her entering the room out of fear of the cruelty I would certainly endure as soon as I failed to censor a single subtle word... about anything.

I could not go back to that.  I could not go back into that dark hole of a house in that dark hole of a city for another winter walking on eggshells and unable to write.

As a result, I will be completely homeless in three days when my summer seasonal job and the housing it provides ends.

I'm sad for losing a close friend.  As cruel as she was, I cared for her and I miss her.

And I'm scared.  I should be looking forward to new adventures, but I can already feel the cold wind blowing through my lonely camp-- and the penetrating solitude of long winter nights.

It feels a lot like heartbreak.

Let's hope that I post soon about sunsets and cacti.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Insult to Injury

I've been bad about this blog.  Haven't posted a damned thing all summer.

So here's a poem I wrote this afternoon!

I'd like to offer some unrequited sage advice
From a weary half-souled dimwit
If modesty must account my pretentious credit
To the wanderers, preachers, doctors and men of vice
And in a tale I'll tell of it

Tossing turning across a parade of mattresses
My Viking conscience felt a pea
That was not Is not my dearth bed, Authenticity
Pride and Meaning, cunts and countries, novel mistresses
A Claustrophobic duality

I could not, would not whore a mind to fill a wallet
Feather beds and money fetters
Eating steaks, and filling page with endless empty letters
Aching urging, crying, leaking life, draining goblet
Lust escape the fate of my betters

But truth be told and Truth not sold, I was full of shit
It was only that my Viking conscience felt a pea
That was not Is not my dearth bed, Authenticity
It was not what I was missing; no, that was not it
Nor was it what I thought that I could see

No doom or battle lurked upon the rise
Nor was it futile, seeking meaning in a standard life
There was no One right way to live, but only that theirs was not for me.
And there is no Goddamned psychic prize
In adventure, wealth or fucking wife

But let not nihilism knock and creep and overwhelm!
Unravel claustrophobic duality
Do what thou wilt! shouts Crowley his profane profundity
Then I carved those blood sweet words into my helm
And yet my Viking conscience felt a pea

And today I think, if only for a single day
That this pea has herself a name
Boredom the bane of each every Viking heart the same
Boredom.  Can we not keep this tiresome bitch at bay?
Boredom.  And Novelty's to blame.

Off to Lindisfarne! But treat the symptoms? Treat the core?
To plunder lands of novel chart
Is but to treat symptom and miss the core and miss the heart
Oh! The novel fuck-sweet violence we deep adore!
But to take and take one must take more.

Then on it rides and on it fades into weariness
And in the smoke of bridges burned
A vast horizon explored yet earth below unturned
The preaching wanderer shivers in his loneliness
And does not see.
And cannot see.
The buxom, warm and fecund mysteryess.
And her ten thousand layers to undress.