creative non-fiction

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.

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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

Monday’s Activities and Thoughts on Blocks

I woke up early without the aid of an alarm, my phone forgotten in the nursery on the ground floor, accidentally left playing ambient music to my plants all night long.

Weighed in, down.  Dressed, last notch on the belt is too loose, soon I’ll have to punch another.  One cat fed, the other off her meds and hiding.  Gym bag already packed.  Kung fu bag for later.  A twelve minute walk followed by an hour’s jog, then five more minutes’ walk to the coffee shop.

Updated sales page, new items for Agricultural Alchemy.  Weekly check in with my father stationed in Kenya.  This month’s student loan paid.  Coffee drunk, the barista’s mistake resulting in a free additional latte.

I’ve been up for fewer than five hours and done most of what I wanted from today, and yet I feel off, hunted, uncomfortable sitting still, cold, aggressive.  My hackles are up.  There’s no reason why.  The caffeine I’ve consumed is no more than my norm, less than the strength I’d make at home.

The more I do the wider the funnel opens, like a hydra, each task done opening the way to two more that need doing.  All through it a chill I can’t shake, as if I were feverish.

Feeling rimy is always a shock to me.  I don’t feel the cold, not the way others seem to.  I’ve always been comfortable in it, never minded the sensation, looked forward to it each summer, but now it’s all I can do to keep my teeth from gritting as prevention against a chatter.

I don’t want to work on my novel, barely was able to manage busy work on the other site.  I still feel locked out, as if I’d forgotten my keys and all the text remained inside.  I’d force a window if I could find one.

All the characters who should live in my head have gone silent and I don’t know how to reach them.  I’m stuck making flowery descriptions of myself in an attempt to breath some fictive life into my own far too plain existence.

The words are on the page, but when they run out I don’t know how to continue the path.

I’ll have to bushwhack my way through if I want to make any progress.

The blog is a start.

Next, an open page.