One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Eighty and Eighty-One

  1. 01/29/2017:  Awake early in the blackest of moods — why bother, nothing matters, etc. — only to be cheered by the multitudes of birds in the sunlight outside my window, and I’m reminded just what things truly are worth getting bloodied, emotionally or literally, for.
  2. 01/30/2017:  “Yeah,” the baked dude on the phone said, “if I write a triple-x rated sex book will you sell it?” and I said, “Man, if you write it first, I’ll see what I can do,” and he said, “Wow, alright . . . but I have to write it first?”
  3. 01/31/2017:  More wind, more ice, more snow, more fresh birdy little tracks zigzagging my yard.
  4. 02/01/2017:  On a bluebird morning I choose slow over fast to get where I am going and I’m rewarded with a view of the local bison herd up close to the fence; round backs covered with snow and frost, breath clouds of steam in the sunlight, and two young bulls circle and lunge at each other in a game of playful sparring.
  5. 02/02/2017:  A welcome side effect to taking on a few hours a week under the firm and frequent lash of an actual employer is the renewed joy of a couple days off.
  6. 02/03/2017:  Sun-breaking-through-the-clouds-moment while watching a short film featuring the iconic surfer and yogi Gerry Lopez — the first surfer I ever heard of on account of his role as Subotai in the original Conan the Barbarian — when he says, “Yoga comes into people’s lives exactly when it’s supposed to.”
  7. 02/04/2017:  I could happily close out my years living on a meager income in a hut somewhere in Mexico, eating tortillas and corn and beans and firing angry diatribes about the evils of gratuitous capitalism out into the world . . . if I could only find someone to pay me to do it.
  8. 02/05/2017:  Warming weather here in the valley has the snow on retreat, so I daydream of the North just three hours’ drive yonder where falling snow is still being measured in feet.
  9. 02/06/2017:  I was awake and energetic in the early hours before yoga class but after, in the wake of a particularly exhausting hour, it was all I could do to crawl back to my studio, strip off my soaked clothes, and collapse into my chair in front of the fan and doze for another hour.
  10. 02/07/2017:  A bonanza of books and other treasures in the mail today via friends stretching from Arizona to Oregon to Alaska reminds me how much gratitude I am actually capable of.
  11. 02/08/2017:  Wet snow falls on mushy roads; reports of traffic mayhem in all directions; a bearded guy with a tow truck pulls a gigantic SUV out of the ditch well off the road on a sharp sloping curve; and emergency vehicles scramble to points all across the valley, all in one afternoon’s drive home.
  12. 02/09/2017:  Night driving at an hour far later than normal through rain and huge lakes of slush and meltwater, my headlights barely able to push through thick patches of mist that gather about hood high on my truck.
  13. 02/10/2017:  I may try and spend a little more time in the company of wine but no way I’m turning my back on delicious beer.
  14. 02/11/2017:  The mind that collapses beneath the weather will go to some deep, dark places.

 

My Grudges Linger

The band Mastodon is coming to Missoula in a couple months. Whenever I encounter a friend or acquaintance from the local heavy rock scene, there is often a moment when they express enthusiasm over the show, and then display befuddlement when I reveal I have no interest in going. When asked why, I say it’s because I hate the band.

This is why I hate Mastodon:

It’s a limited edition “Thanksgiving” t-shirt design they put out in 2013. There was a kerfuffle over it. Of course the band claims they were making a cultural statement. I call bullshit. For a great breakdown of what played out and Mastodon’s response, you can read an excellent piece HERE.

At the time it came out, I had minor interest in the band. I loved their album art, and their noisy kind of prog/metal thing and heavy concept records were interesting at times, but I was on the fence. After this episode I unloaded my CDs and deleted the electronic versions of them and haven’t considered them since. I only think of two words, in fact, whenever they are brought to my attention.

Fuck Mastodon.

Should I be over it? Nah. Soon as pussy hats aren’t necessary, soon as we don’t need a Black Lives Matter movement, soon as places like Standing Rock don’t have to worry about having their cultural values steamrolled, then I’ll think about getting over it. Until then, lines in the sand, people. Lines in the sand.

One-Sentence Journal, Weeks Seventy-Eight and Seventy-Nine

  1. 01/15/2017:  Ah, the season of rough hands and split open fingertips rolls on.
  2. 01/16/2017:  A deer stands broadside to the nearest edge of the road on my way home in the dark, and I have half a mind to stop, back up, and demand to know exactly WTF she is thinking.
  3. 01/17/2017:  A sixty minute span of awful food choices following 48 hours of good and now my body, delivering torments in waves of clenching and nausea, says, “Oh no, death would be too easy for you, lardass….”
  4. 01/18/2017:  I admire the three-years-and-counting commitment the neighbor’s dog has made to going apeshit with barking whenever she sees me arrive home, as if I were the first man she’s ever seen.
  5. 01/19/2017:  At what felt like nearly 40°, today saw the arrival of a slush-making heat wave.
  6. 01/20/2017:  Mist rises from the fields as I drive home in the waning light before nighttime and an owl appears out of the gloom to land atop a power pole.
  7. 01/21/2017:  Reviewing my various social media feeds that are blowing up with images from womens’ marches all over the country, I’m disappointed I didn’t figure out a way to get to Helena and back to part of it here … but I am reminded that this is only the beginning.
  8. 01/22/2017:  I am a fat, barely employable, middle-aged Native guy with a chip on his shoulder and no health insurance, living below the poverty line with huge love for much and many, and you can believe I have a stake in this.
  9. 01/23/2017:  I have never been strung out on a particular style or brand of beer before, but two nights in a row now without any Haybag Hefeweizen from Philipsburg Brewing Company and I find myself uncertain that I will survive the night, or find a reason to even want to.
  10. 01/24/2017:  A benefit of oversleeping and missing my first typical hour in darkness is that instead I was at my kitchen window making coffee at the first hints of silver light to the east, before the assault of reds and oranges, when the moving clouds were like the outlines of the states on a map, and the crescent-shaped moon hung brightly in the sky.
  11. 01/25/2017:  If there is anything to enjoy these few days, it’s the sight of federal agencies run by smart people rising up to oppose the will of our newly-inaugurated Commander in Lunacy.
  12. 01/26/2017:  As a person who has never struck anyone in anger, I find the desire to lash out in violent protest — and the wish to see a number of specific people dragged through the streets — most disturbing.
  13. 01/27/2016:  Never underestimate the emotional healing powers of a styrofoam tray heaped with cheap Chinese takeout.
  14. 01/28/2017:  To call the emotions of the past week anything other than despair would be an understatement.

Gratitude Monday

There was a peace march in downtown Missoula Sunday afternoon. I could see it through the front windows from where I was working. I felt lame for not being a part of it, that for all my bluster about “doing my part” I was just on the sidelines. Same thing today — there is a rally for public lands in Helena two hours away that I’ll miss. I won’t be there and it is the thing I am most concerned about in how it affects my actual day-to-day life and I feel like shit about it. I suppose my “I have to work” excuse is valid, but I still feel like a sellout because, once again, I’m more concerned about a steady paycheck than pursuing something important. But I digress.

During the parade of people passing by the windows I saw several signs that were of an American flag, and in the spaces where the stars and stripes would be, words like “Peace” and “Freedom” and “No Hate” were spelled out. It made me think back to some musclehead I saw in a shop earlier wearing jeans with back pockets covered in bling, sunglasses perched on the back of his head, and a tight t-shirt also sporting a design of an American flag, only his stars and stripes were in the shape of bullets. Contrasting the two scenes made me realize, for the nth time, the gulf between people that I really don’t see any hope of overcoming. There is no idea of America in my mind that begins with bullets. And the people who do see that way don’t understand the values of those of us who put a higher value on life beyond the made-up idea of borders and religion and all that bullshit.

Yet today I am grateful there are people out fighting the good fight in spite of the worthlessness of the rest of us. I’m particularly grateful for the workers in the government agencies who have “gone rogue” to post their truths in the face of this abomination of an administration we find ourselves chained to. I’m happy they are out there in spite of the despair they must feel. I’m happy not everyone has bought into the idea of “do what the boss tells you to and keep your mouth shut.” There was never a man who deserved more sticking it to than this fucking one.