I posted before about seeing wild animals frequently, and how special and spiritual the experience is. Yesterday, on my way home, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk scoop up a squirrel and fly with it into the trees. Not only was this a spectacular natural experience, but it also inspired some personal thinking.
I’m not sure I always believe a natural experience is a sign, but it the better story. So what could this be a sign of? My book Tao of Thoreau has really been selling lately. Perhaps it is a sign that I am capturing an audience? Or maybe not, since that squirrel would represent my readers, and I don’t want them to be eaten. Maybe it means the book is “killing” them?
Certainly, it could be a bad sign. I suppose I could be the squirrel, in the clutches of a predator. But I don’t like that story, so I think I’ll stick with the first one.
I’ve always thoughts dimness was more frightening than darkness.
I’ve had dreams throughout my life where the only light is a dim, dusty gray. I was always frightened in these dreams. Objects were just on the edge of visible, and took on a strange character, as if the gray light changed their natures into something foul, perhaps evil.
I don’t know if this is going to be a poem or article. Maybe both. I’m trying to grasp the infinite abundance of our world, our universe.
Count the pine needles
I thought of that line as I walked through the woods, looking at the yellow blanket of pine needles on the trail and under the trees. Imagine trying to count them. It made me think about the line where measurements blur into the infinite.
Look to infinity
You are standing in it
Walking on it
Throbbing with it
Infinity is the disappearing importance of measurement
Of defining numerals
Measure me out
a teaspoon of thyme.
But make me the same teaspoon twice
With the exact number of grains each time.
I feel like I’m capturing something that I have been after a long time. These are elusive thoughts, though, and it takes time to refine them.
Very few classrooms had televisions in 2001. We all crowded into those that did, students and teachers mixing together. Bells were ignored: though we didn’t know exactly what was happening, there was nothing else to focus on except the tragedy unfolding before us.
Though we had learned from the Oklahoma City bombing not to jump to conclusions about who was behind this, foreign terrorists were an obvious possibility. That’s when these moments really hit me. If that was the source, then we were about to go to war. There would be no alternative, just by using history as a guide.
This is where it went from surreal and horrifying to real and frightening. Looking around the room, it hit me that some of my students would be in uniforms in a far away land. That however many deaths would happen on 9/11 would not end with that day. That the sounds of the towers falling would echo into the future, and that this tragedy was just beginning.
I had to step out of the room. Feeling faint, I leaned my forehead against the cool wall and breathed until I could face those terrible images again, and what it meant for the future of all of us, but especially my students.
I wrote yesterday about the link between Work in Progress Writing and Work in Progress Projects. I was thinking about it just now, and it hit me that completing my indoor and outdoor projects was a type of publishing. After all, publishing is bringing a creative work to the public.
There is no choice but to “publish” a project. When a bathroom is done, people are going to use it. But with my writing, I’m guilty of holding on to it, endlessly tweaking, not working hard on trying to get it out to readers.
I wonder if making a kitchen, a bathroom, a patio is somehow linked to my decision to self-publish Tao of Thoreau? That having people walk on and through these places made me want to have my words in front of people, no matter how few or many.
Just think – reading bozbozeman is a little like using my bathroom. Except you can’t flush the toilet.
I’m very good at compartmentalizing my life. I generally keep the stresses of work life at work. I can focus on my chores and DIY work at home without thinking about it elsewhere. Thus, I can enjoy my time with family or playing Ultimate Frisbee without stressing about other parts of my life.
This has been very helpful for me since I can get pretty overwhelmed at times when I have a lot on my plate. In the past, if I couldn’t block out these burdens, I would tend to shut down and get nothing done.
The baby is crawling at the verge of the ocean. Sometimes, he surges forward, into the thin skin of water that runs up the shore. He slaps at the water, delighted. Then he looks back at his mother, grinning at what he is discovering. Wanting to share it with her.
The look back. We all do it. Even my dog Anna does it. It’s obvious what we are looking at: the eyes of those who love us.
But why do we do it? What does meeting those eyes mean?
I was not born a “go getter”. No one in school called me a “try hard”. I was easily frustrated by challenging experiences, and just got mad instead of trying to overcome the issue. As far as school went, math exemplified this. I can still remember angrily throwing my textbook, it flying through the room, hard covers and pages unfurling like layered wings.
Although I would usually still succeed, I didn’t always. I failed classes. Friends and family realized I was unreliable, guilty of promising things and not seeing them through. A lazy dreamer who napped to solve problems. (Spoiler alert: problems are still there when you wake back up).
It took really screwing up several times, then nearly losing my first teaching job, before I finally changed my course.
I’m holding a huge piece of plywood. I’m trying to cut it with a teeny-tiny saw. Plywood wobbles, and I’m not a physicist, but I know it’s not good for the thing you’re trying to cut to be wobbling when you’re trying to cut it.
I’m 30 years old. It’s the summer of 2000. I’m trying to redo the downstairs bathroom.
I have no skills. Crap tools. And practically zero knowledge of carpentry, plumbing, and tiling. I hate painting.