On Earth and Other Places

It’s been about four hours since I sat down to work and I’ve hit my threshold for world news three times, the last heralding a thick nausea that sits on the back of my stomach as if my spine were a park bench on which someone’d spilled ten gallons of sickly black paint.  There’s only so much I can read about Trump’s evil nonsense bringing us ever closer to an apocalypse, only so much I can take of newly threatened, endangered, or extinct species.

So I’m grateful that my work is done for now.  The skies are blackening and the storm is rolling in, and all I have to do is sit and watch it come.

There are good things in the world.  There are friends and loved ones, scientific discovers, good films, better books.  It’s spring here, so there are buds and flowers and a thickness to the air that bolsters my lungs even as it closes my sinuses.  It seems important to hold on to the good, even though they could be swept away by one errant, arrogant tweet.  Perhaps its ephemeral nature is the reason holding onto the good is so important.

Trying not to mope is exhausting, but giving into it is worse.  I am trying.

Earth Day is this weekend.  I won’t be here to celebrate it, so I’ve started early by rescuing what has turned out to be an inordinate number of trees from the yard in preparation of laying out the new vegetable plots.  I’ve run out of soil for pots, so it seems now is a good time to flip my compost.  I’ll save it for tomorrow, after the rains have left.

I won’t be celebrating, but I will be thinking of the environment when I join the Science March on D.C. this weekend.  I won’t be carrying a sign as anything pithy seems inappropriate to my sensibilities, and practically, I loathe holding things.  Save for weapons, but I’m not sure dragging a sword, arnis stick, or axe would send the right message, even if that message were painted straight on it.

I’m having trouble keeping my focus, the wind has turned to a constant breeze and I can smell the wetness on it.  It smells lush, and behind it I can feel the prickle of premature lighting at the back of my nose.  My senses are almost overwhelming, what I took for my stomach has me distracted, slightly stupefied.

I missed writing.  I’ve done so little of it lately, at least of my own, things I’d want to read.  I write all the time for work, but while the job itself is quite rewarding, the writing aspect is not.  Those scant few belonging to my small following can attest to my distaste for paraphrasing in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience.  Even my sentence explaining it rung pretentious.  So to write again, and entirely for myself feels like the release of a muscle I hadn’t known was cramping.  A balled fist under my skin for the last four months.

Perhaps I seem arrogant, verbose, that my writing is over-wrought.   Does that matter?  I spent so long thinking of what my writing could do for me, what secondary good could come of it.  There had to be some direct recompense, something that even the squares would acknowledge as success.  But where was that in keeping up a blog with so few readers?  How could it be monetized?  And if I were to do so, what was the point with fewer than a thousand, fewer than half of half that?  So I’d battle against myself.

I am, and have been tired since november.  Writing is hard, and often tiring.  I would begin with the admonishment that I must write.  Then I’d push it away, or sit down to try and nothing would come.  Then would come the guilt, and another attempt.  That would usually result in a draft too bitter to publish or too incomplete to make sense to even me a few days later.  To pacify the guilt, I’d remind myself that this was not my job, that no one paid me for this.  And I’d become complacent.  I didn’t accept that I hadn’t written, but it didn’t plague me as it would have in the past.  So, by and by, I let it go.

Now, writing again, I see the folly in that, all of that.  The reward is the act itself.  I’d decided not to breath because no one rewarded me for doing it, and had gone a little necrotic for the stupidity.

So, again I say, it’s good to be back.

On top of that, there is this: 20170420_164918

It came in the mail for me today.  Now, if I can turn this singular writing instance into a sequence, perhaps we’ll see what’s inside.

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The trap is set, Spring has sprung, but frost keeps the jaws at bay.

Where has the pleasant weather gone?  I spent most of yesterday afternoon processing a downed tree in River Front Park a block from my house, and now I’m sat at my computer with the windows shut and a blanket across my knees.  Between the cyclical returns to discomforting cold and the eighteen inches of snow we got a week ago this Spring has been a strange one.  But remember, there’s no such thing as climate change.  Just because our weather patterns are frenetic and warped, the ocean is acidifying, and the global temperature is rising, doesn’t mean we’ve had any impact on the environment.  Those scientist in the 97% are all paid by the chem-trail, Illuminati, fake news Mexicans.

Fake News Mexicans would be a great name for a band or a sports team.  Like the Bad News Bears, but with less childhood profanity and more Harlem Globetrotters-esque antics.  That’d be especially good if it were a band, not enough musicians slum dunk on cartoonish villains.

I should be at kung fu, but my foot is throbbing.  I’ve not had much gout since breaking down and accepting medication, so i imagine this to be the late showing effects of something I did yesterday.

There’s an old tree in the park that’s been dead for a year.  Its decline was slow, and I’d had hopes it would recover, but all through summer last year it refused to bloom.  Without leaves, and thus without a way to feed itself, I knew it’d be dead by  spring.  The city marked it for removal last fall, but otherwise left it to wither all winter.  Each time I walked under it it seemed more attenuated.  It began to creak like old bones and the sway in some of it’s largest branches gave me pause.  I wouldn’t linger underneath it.

Two weeks ago, before the squall, a week after another heavy limb had fallen, that ponderous trunk snapped.  It fell, twenty feet long and two hundred  pounds, across the walking path.  There it sat until the snow came.  There it remained as the snow covered it.  It only moved when the city plowed parts of the walk for a St. Patrick’s Day charity run.  I didn’t see them do it, I was busy, sleeping, then in the day’s parade, but I recognized the mound of dirty snow ending a clean swathe as the work of a snowplow.

I walked past it several times, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I thought of it early enough to begin processing the wood.  I’m a nocturnal person, but I feared carrying a bag of cutting tools into a public park would get me more attention than I’d like.  I had several of the smaller branches off within a few minutes.  The section from my pictures took me perhaps three quarters of an hour.  The remaining two and a half hours were spent trying to detached the widest section of the trunk.  I cut at it from every direction, and by the end the only thing that seemed to be holding it together was an invisible stubbornness.  Perhaps I’d cut too many times and created a hinge, thus preventing the tree from snapping off easily.  Maybe I just didn’t cut far enough through wood which has demonstrated with clarity its continued resilience.  Maybe my butter knife sharp tools had just worn me out too quickly for me to continue.  I had to give up, and propped the tree using a set of Y shaped branches so that its weight would continue to stress the cuts I had made.

And there it remains.  My own limbs had locked up several times while I worked.  I’d achieved the rarity of a triceps cramp, along with the much more common set along my serratus, back, shoulders, and legs.  I’d also begun a blister on my now too soft hand.  I gave up for fear of not being able to make kung fu today, and worried I’d already done too much to my arms and shoulders.

Such was not the case.  I woke up feeling fairly fine.  I made it just about out of bed before a pain in my foot shouted for attention.  I ignored it and tried to stretch out.  To no avail.  Perhaps it was resting a log on my foot, perhaps it was a nocturnal cramp.  Maybe I done just kicked myself in my sleep.  One cannot say.  Regardless of the cause, I’m stuck seated for the foreseeable future.

I don’t really mind it.  It gives me time to think and time to write without the worry that I should be doing something else.  Ailments, at the very least, give me an excuse to relax, so in a way, I’m happy for them.

I’m sure the log will be there tomorrow.  I’m certain my sifu and the school will be.

For today, rest and writing, reading and relaxation.  There are worse ways to spend one’s time.

Update: 8 march 2017

Sometimes my mind goes walkabout while my body languishes someplace forgotten.  The disconnect eats up my sense of time’s passage so that months or weeks elapse while the road seems still, making chronology seem a liar.

This isn’t, or wasn’t, one of those times.  I’m in pretty good shape this gone round.

I don’t recall when last I wrote regularly, and even if I were to look it up, the date would be meaningless.  Life is not an American high school history exam, the dates never matter so much as the ethos of their events.  As such, it’s pointless to dissect the calendar in a search for answers, because, without writing, my time is ephemeral, as my short term memory is rather shit.  I can tell you what life was like as a three year old, but I’m hard pressed to recall what yesterday’s breakfast contained.  My perception is built for the long game, for big ideas and long term recollection; for whatever reason the only minutiae that ever stick are spats of movie dialogue and biographies of fictional characters.

Having established my nature as something between Leonard Shelby and a cork at sea, the best course of action seems simply to move on, so on I shall move.

This weekend is the Philadelphia Flower Show, and while my business has been on something of a hiatus while I adapted to my new part time job, my interest in botany hasn’t abated in the slightest.  I’m excited for the show and look forward to the multitudinous displays and the many ideas they’ll give me.  I’d already planned to restart Thistlehammer Transmutational in the spring, and now is near enough.  I’ll take a few hundred pictures and a notebook full ideas home and into the studio, and with any diligence (the lack of which is my usual downfall, not luck; luck is like pneumonia, merely a description of a set of symptoms) I’ll rejoin that part of my life fully enthused.  At the very least, I’ll see some cool plants and have some good dumplings in Chinatown.

I’ve about hit the maximum word count for the internet’s mandated attention span, and as I’ve nothing specific to share I’ll end here.  My hope is to start posting more regularly, and I’ve some ideas for future posts that I think will be pretty cool.

I look forward to sharing them with you, soon.

-Alexander