Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A deep breath

I keep losing my threads, dropping all the must write this later balls I've been trying to keep in the air this afternoon. Maybe I'll be able to collect them from all the disparate corners of the house into which they have rolled.

After recovering from my little episode this afternoon--here already I must stop and pick up a ball. As I was driving and thinking about how writing can be so helpful to me sometimes, I realized that as Anne Sexton so astutely pointed out, words "can be as good as fingers. They can be as trusty as the rock you stick your bottom on." And have you ever seen a picture of my room, or better yet, seen my actual room in person? Generally it is a wreck. Everything is everywhere, and to get through one must tiptoe or climb or leap over piles or baskets or puddles of stuff. To find anything, one must move and remove and dig. My room, I sometimes think, is a reflection of my mental state--a joke played on me by the universe. So I write, because words, once written, stay where you put them. Before being written, as I said above, they bounce every which way and disappear into the darknesses behind the dresser, under the dirty laundry, beneath the sofa cushions. So I realized on the drive that when I am lucky, the things I write become stepping stones in the mire, and give me a higher place to climb to, and a place to sit and rest a while.

After recovering this afternoon, the day was fairly uneventful. I walked the dog and emptied and re-loaded the dishwasher, checked blogger-facebook-gmail-etc in quick succession like a meth addict looking for a fix, as has been my custom lately, took a nap. Was about to head to the library when I was reminded that it is labor day (or was at the time), and the library is one of the few businesses that pays attention to that sort of thing. Was respectfully disappointed, and trekked across my room to pull at least six books out of the piles in desperation. (This is for two days, folks. I have portion control issues.) After dinner I headed out at 7, and tried to listen to this WoT audio book I checked out on a whim before Chloe left for school (24 hours of listening, ftw), but was having issues with my speakers and with the erratic box of wires that is my stereo. Chris called, and I gratefully turned the thing off.

We talked a while, mainly about camping hammocks actually, and when we hung up I left the sound off. I drove Westward through the night in the cool arms of September, shivering happily, barefoot in a short skirt and zip hoodie with the windows down, smiling in welcome at the oncoming season and savoring the novel feeling of cold fingers and chilled limbs. I love driving in silence. There was no roof but the stars and the Milky Way, there was no sound but that of the wind in my ears and the faint chirping of crickets behind the buffeting of the air. I thanked God again, just as I did last time, for the smell of freshly mown fields.

I thought for a little while about David and Larry, how very similar they are when I stop and think about it, despite the differences between them that I see more easily. How I could love either of them if given the chance (I guess that quiet, outdoorsy thing must be my type or something, though it's not what I look for), could see myself permanently with either, but how it's obviously not happening. How kind they both are, though Larry would break my heart if I put it in his hands. How that knowledge is the main reason I never did. Thankfully this was a peaceful and idle train of thought. I wrote a poem sort of thing about it all actually, in the dentist's waiting room, shortly after returning from Arkansas. It wasn't very good, but it was about the way I felt like a little piece of iron caught hovering between two magnets, held by my attraction for both, but welcomed by neither. I don't mean that in a melodramatic way--both like me very much, but both want me as a friend. Anyway, I wrote it, didn't much like it, and forgot about it. And then, lo and behold, as Larry receded from my radar, I zipped like a sugar-starved hummingbird straight back to that David-magnet and I can't seem to let go. But as they always say, "can't never could until it did," right? So maybe there's hope, if I take it.

I have a feeling that there was one more ball, but I can't right now see where it rolled. Maybe I'll find it tomorrow.

No! I have remembered. Here it is.

I started singing to myself around Buffalo Gap, first Christmas carols, which receded to a mostly wordless hum after a while, and then Disney songs (Part of Your World, and then most of the Pocahontas soundtrack, if you were wondering) when I turned off 39. Eventually, prompted by my sadness for the loss of all the moths that met their end against my windshield, I started to compose my argument for the value of life. The callousness with which people kill makes me so sad sometimes. Though I recognize that my view isn't very sustainable and is considered to be eccentric at best, I hate to kill anything. I'll do it, but I don't like to smack mosquitoes. I don't like to drown fleas or ticks, even. I never, ever kill spiders, except possibly by accident. I guess this is because I feel that every form of life has a purpose and deserves a measure of respect. Did you ask to be born a human? Do you think that that flea approached God and said, "if you don't mind, I'd like to be incarnated as a tiny, parasitic, loathsome speck of an insect. I really like the idea of crawling around on larger creatures and causing them as much vexation as possible by tickling them and then sucking their blood."

Probably not.

And what is life, but a divine spark of energy that mobilizes some pile of molecules? Don't blow me off--this is truth. Yes, clearly humans are fearfully and wonderfully made, and capable, as far as we know, of higher and more complex thought than any other life form on this planet. But what animates you? A spark of the divine. What animates a moth?

We just stomp around, carelessly extinguishing little lights everywhere we walk.

And yes, yes, the world is a savage place. Everything has to eat, and there's no escape from that. Even plants have something inside that makes them grow and seek the sun, but the world was designed thus.

But there is a difference between survival and murder. There is a difference between killing to protect and killing for boredom or convenience or ignorant fear. There is a difference between respect and disdain.

I have very little interest in vegetarianism, but it occurred to me then that perhaps I should start living what I believe in a way that matters a little more than carrying a spider outside. One consumer among billions is a small drop in an ocean, but from now on, I think I'll look for the vegetarian option a little more often when I'm buying. People have to eat, but conscious beings shouldn't have to live torturous, unthinkably vile and hellish lives for the sake of cheaper chicken nuggets and steak on my plate. That's not something I want to support.

1 comment:

  1. i read this a few days ago when you posted it and didnt comment, thinking i'd come up with something good/useful to say.. but i havent been able to.. so, /kind thoughts and i agree.