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.


2016, 1933

It’s hard to write when I feel I have nothing to say.  There are holes in my leg and back;  I can’t go to kung fu.  All I want is to be left alone with my plants and my indoor studio, I implore the world, please, just leave me alone for that, let me sit at home with some peace and I won’t say anything.

But the world won’t leave me alone.  My desire for disengagement matters nothing to it.  The world wants me to get mad.

So we have a fascist running on the republican ticket.  Not a debatable one, not the “maybe he was just wrong” type of fascism that led Obama to indefinitely suspend the committee looking into Mr. Bush’s potential guilt, to leave ambiguous Bush’s responsibility for the war-crimes his cabinet perpetrated.  Genuine fascism, the sort that starts world wars, the sort that sees cultures, human beings, ostracized, rounded up, and then exterminated all in the name of the greater good, or in current parlance, in the name of “making America great again.”

Trump grows like a cancer, a goiter at our throats that we cannot see ourselves and that causes us to strike out at any who hold up a mirror as if they were the cause of the problem.  But we need that reflection, we need that clear and unflattering picture of modern American politics because ignorance of a problem has never been its cure.  Because if Britain and Canada and Mexico, and all our allies, neighboring and abroad, can see the malevolent insidiousness of Trump, then perhaps we ought to look for ourselves.  We’re the closest.  We’re most exposed to his hate-filled rhetoric, his inane, bigoted ramblings, and the utter nonsensical bullshit which comprises the filler between the sides of his orange stained skull.  We shouldn’t need anyone else to tell us how repulsive is his invective against the non-white, non-repbulican members of our country.  These are our neighbors, or friends, ourselves, and Trump wants them rounded up, deported, marked so that they stand out as less than truly American.

You needn’t love Hilary Clinton.  I certainly don’t.  I had genuine hope for something different in Bernie Sanders.  I’ll continue to hope for change, for the country to better itself, but with that hope must come work.  In the case of the upcoming election, that work is manifest in compromise.  You can’t simply take your ball and go home because the playing field extends beyond the edges of the public discourse, it extends past our borders to encompass the rest of the world.  There’s no home safe from a refusal to act.

So compromise.  It isn’t a dirty word no matter how hard the Tea-baggers try to make it seem as such.  Pick the lesser of evils.  I’ve heard too often from people my age and some years younger that they are tired of doing so, but the only other option at this stage is to vote for the greater, or, by your own inaction, allow the greater evil to surpass the lesser.  It’s like arguing you won’t bother pulling your hand from the flames because you’re tired of having to choose which finger gets burnt.  You’d rather loose them all then deal with a bandaged thumb.

If at eighteen, or twenty-two, or thirty you’re tired, how do you think your elders feel?  Apathy, regardless of its source, has never driven change.

So I won’t stay quiet, won’t merely sit in my basement, tending my plants.

I’ll get mad.

I hope you will too.