There’s a brush fire burning not so terribly far outside of town. With the wind yesterday and today the smoke moved in and the air quality took on that most questionable of feels to it. When every breath tastes like cigar smoke should you really be outside moving around at all?
The raining ash finished answering that question.
While fire season sucks, there are a few moments that always stand out. The way the Sun turns into a brilliant red ball behind the smoke screen, the ongoing smell of wood burning as though the whole world was joined in some weird form of camping together, and the silence–that eerie crazy silence that happens sometimes like yesterday.
No birds, no animals, barely any cars, and aside from the breeze, just stillness to the air.
If anyone happened to be in the total eclipse crossover zone a few years back (happened to be at one of the main spots for it myself accidentally) and remembers what the world was like for those few minutes, shockingly similar.
I’m not sure why I like the silence so much. On some level I know it’s because the animals are afraid and their habitats are being destroyed, so it should have a mournful or lonesome quality to it. Despite, it grabs the happy spots inside my brain and milks them with something so surreal for me that I always find myself questioning its existence to begin with.
True unadulterated peace.
The only other time I seem to be able to find it is in a sensory deprivation tank, floating like a child in the cosmos across massive fields of stars and nebulae instead of inside a water filled coffin creation. If you’ve never experienced one before, I highly recommend it.
Isn’t that the end game we’re all pursuing in some way? A feeling of peace? Is it so wrong I get it when the world is on fire enough that the birds stop chirping and the crickets are silent at last? To be fair, the landscape of raining ash and a red son also bespeaks a darker place to be sure, but we all find our joy where, when, and how we can right?
Ok, so a bit of a haphazard start….I decided to do this 30 day writing challenge and then promptly went on a camping trip with the girlfriend and kids.
I’m struck by how interesting it is to watch these kids learn, to envelope their surroundings in excited shrieks and exploring activities that stretch them to find comfort zones expanded or reformed. It’s heartbreaking in some ways, as both her children are the same age as my own who I find myself estranged from at the ice wall defense of an ex-wife who wants me to have nothing to do with them. Sad because I miss them, but also because I finally have been able to realize that for all my foibles and gaffs as a human being, I am a good man (more so today than in the past) and that I do well in a paternal(ish) role. Always patient, even keeled, understanding and willing to discuss or talk about anything.
Not trying to toot my own horn, it’s just been a realization of late and I’m pretty excited about it.
So with all that said, I’m going to attempt to restart the challenge knowing full well that I’m going to be headed away again on the 1st and 2nd weekends of October for a shamanic healing retreat that I’m also very geared up on, but I suppose more to come on that front. Suffice to say that it may be an opportunity to work with both Grandmother and Grandfather in a way to address some deep seeded and frustratingly difficult to change tendencies that I still struggle with on the daily.
So apologies about the false start, here we go into revision 1.5……let’s see how it goes this time.
I’m going to try and actually stay consistent about something for the first time in, well, probably ever. I’m making it a personal challenge to write 30 pieces, one a day, for the next month to practice, and to see if I can actually do it. Sure much of it is going to be slop….but here we go. -S
Another mental crunch as the pieces fall into place. Patience is watching without virtue the calamities of yourself as they leave ricochet pockmarks into the surrounding population. What a shame that it all came circling back around this direction, to the twitchy fingers and uneasy guts. The lackluster moans and the desire for release in some way from the grip and tight tenor of the fingers laced around your brain stem.
Just another day in paradise it seems. Drooling into a cacophony of disinterested moments where the past is relieved in modern terms and the future slips by as identical discord. Yeah, here it goes again with the “will I nevers” and “if only I had the”–this time will be different, sure of it. Always remember that slip comes before the fall and that landing on your hands is a great way to break something. Take the bumps and bruises, roll yourself up and get a grip.
Next hour is a doozy, but the one after that brings us closer to setting off on a worldwide trip. Settle down now young buck, rest your weary head, we’re in this for the long hall, and some might question why it is you aren’t just dead.
Today marks the end of my doggo’s existence on this plane and everything she would have experienced pre-Rainbow Bridge if only she could have stopped being so erratic. We worked together, played together, drove each other nuts periodically with either one of us having spontaneous bouts of neediness. She has/had such a soft demeanor if she knew you, only wanted cuddles–something she would come bounding into the bed to collect every morning as soon as you blinked your eyes for even a moment–and belly scratches. Her favorite thing was to throw herself in snorting and snuffling pig-like delight into shaded grass with complete abandon. When she had spree and would do the little butt tuck run that dogs do as she raced highest speed back and forth to a toy she was throwing for herself you couldn’t help but laugh.
With all that said, she bit someone (again) and then attacked another dog the following day (again). The results of my breaking up the fray are (as the doctors put it) “near complete amputation of the soft tissue on the left thumb” where she in a moment of frenzy decided to clamp down on me and chew, hard. She’s too unpredictable, like I’ve been so often in my life as well. She reminds me all too well of what it was like to be in a psychosis, seemingly find one instant, chasing strangers the next.
Thankfully I wasn’t put down during those episodes, I was treated with care and compassion well beyond what I feel I actually deserved. It’s sad to think that despite all my efforts and love she will still hit the end of the road far sooner than she (in my mind) was intended. I imagine on some base level, it’s the same frustration and discontent that so many who have watched me battle with addiction have felt. For me, though she be only a dog, there is a lesson to be learned in her passing.
Time is short, personal stability is crucial to long term happiness, and you never know when the final curtain call is going to land.
I’ll miss you Gigi…..you have been a touchstone and an embodiment of all the insanity and weirdness in my head. You always seemed to be on edge and I never knew what would scare you and have you shivering in a puddle as close to me as you could. After surviving kill shelters, humane society returns, homelessness and then finally landing someplace rather comfortable, the clock has run out. I can’t continue to jeopardize the safety of those around us and I don’t have any other rescue options open to me. I love you, and hope you’ll be happier on the other side of the veil. Maybe you’ll find some of that peace that you never quite were able to find with me.
“Tom, there’s no way that they can take another round. See that ocular leakage, way over tolerance.”
“Yeah, yeah I know Bill. I can hear too can’t I? Ancestral recall or personal identification with Canis lupus do you think?”
“No family resemblance but that baying is putting my skin on edge regardless. How you want to do this? We’ll get some sympathy views if we drag it out—personal favorite of mine I’ll have you know since this is our first time working together—might even get a couple more weeks out of the budget. Holds a lot of risk with this pair though from what we’ve seen and neither of us wants to explain why we’re carting off a pair of body bags.”
“Fair point. How would you feel about a hybrid? Start off slow but keep an eye on a drop dead date where it all crescendos again and forces a clean cut. Watched Geoff do something similar once. Takes finesse, as always, but it can be done.”
“I’m game, closeouts are your arena anyways from what I hear, I’m better at the fluff and the early game. Just let me know the confidence and insecurity tables you want to use before we start so I can keep things on track.”
“Retro-consideration and empathetic quotients are going to be key factors as well. Can you send Jim to let psych know that we will need their numbers first. Future orientation has always been lacking in 5KY3 and like you said, we don’t want any b-bags.”
Meandering feet fall between the scent of wildflowers and moss, deeper into the mountain side this long trail winds. Water courses on a ceaseless tract towards the valley, runs furiously far below where the air is cooler and the sun rains its heat against the rapids.
Summer becomes the tone of fresh and old love mingled. Of exhilaration, fascination, inspiration, all put in skin sacks, given names. Each heat riddled day the sun bakes us, we are entwined in passionate reverie, where no mere words will penetrate the sanctum.
A sense of calm resignation is starting to settle in. So often shunted aside still for madcap panic and desperate flailing as this faltering shell of a body which carries an acidic sonofabitch that wants out while refusing to take pleas, no’s, or prayers as a hint to get lost. It’s there on the outskirts as the magnitude, the absolute fucking magnitude of how colossally I’ve screwed the lives of those around me up, while trying to ruin my own existence..
It always sat there just on the outskirts, even when it should have been blatant. The self concocted cocoon of ignorant bliss I had woven around myself to keep the realities of life and the need for growing up at bay made sure that even if I was looking at it head on, I wouldn’t see. I’d spin it internally, sometimes to deflect the judgement and actions needed, sometimes to punish myself further and feel so amply deserving of it while begging confusion to those closest to me.
God help me. I sat there blind to love, affection, nurturing, opportunity, friendships, my children, the actuality of LIFE itself.
All in favor of an endless repetition of the same monotonous actions. Awake, chase, get high, drink, crash, rinse and repeat ad infinitum, The same rhythm that most humans are going through their awake, cabinet, coffee, drink, functional, productive, competent portions of their day to day.
What has it cost?
I’m sitting in the mountains which are my peaceful place, body too exhausted to hike or sleep. Dimly aware that I’ve imploded yet another beautiful person’s life, tucked mine into an 18’ trailer, and spiraled into oblivion while desperately fighting a battle that can’t be won on my terms. Beginning to come around the edges of what that actually means–to be so viral, so toxic and caustic in someone’s life that you can literally see it reshape their entire being from what they were prior–knowing that even if it wasn’t intended, that’s what happened.
To know that the fiber of your being is so saturated in selfish self-hatred that it closes you off to the possibility of trusting and believing that anyone could actually love you for a person you don’t even know any longer, yourself? Knowing that sounds like Narcissistic Personality Disorder and digging around to see if there’s ways to be less of a screaming manchild asshole only to find that if it’s really the case, there ain’t shit to be done?
To realize that I don’t even fucking know what things I actually enjoy in life? To have focused so many countless hours on a single destructive course that it has literally obliterated all remnants of understanding about what joy means. How love is shown. What fun is. How to treat others or myself in any sort of a humane way laced starkly with the deep confusion of always being at odds with myself to begin with. That I have erased inborn gifts, destroyed my mind, poisoned my body wildly–that I will die younger than I had to and may never have the chance to see my children again. That my children have been growing up without their father.
Being aware now of the wreckage and turbulence behind my passing from those unlucky enough to have had me walk into their life “chaos incarnate” as I used to joke. To not even be able to apologize in any sort of a meaningful way yet because time and action is all that really will matter, could matter at this point. To not be able to say thank you sufficiently where I mean it within such limited scopes as I’m tooled to have the capacity for. The endless dreams that have died in lieu of one more hit, one more drink.The beautiful dreams that staggered onward beneath the weight only to have the carpet ripped out from under them again. The smashed hopes that held them aloft for so long.
It is seriously time for a change. So for the first time in YEARS, I’m throwing in the towel, surrendering, and just going with it. I have a bed at a program starting in a few days, a kennel for the dog, a storage spot for the trailer/home, and a hiatus from school while I straighten myself out and make some so critically needed changes. Peter Pan with a crack pipe and a 100u shot–fuck it’s old.
The next time I write will be on the back end the next 30+ days probably, so until then, thanks for everything and all the kind words, help, camaraderie, and digital awesomeness that is everyone else out there. Addiction’s a beast. Mental illness is a beast. But neither gives any permission to keep perpetuating that cycle endlessly or to inflict them on those around you.
Time to give up the fight and go back to the drawing board, starting fresh all over again.
Take them speak them see them churn Syllables crawling spinning, clawing freely turned. Whip them soothe them love to let them linger for the burn. Aching blessing, listen guessing, minds unfurl. Use them, consume them, believe them, don’t be spurned. Light step dances, crossing lips, and tongue tips, spilling hope for which we yearn.