Neptune in Scorpio

Seven o’clock.

I saw the moon to the south this morning, surreal and imperial, like something in a painting. The sight of it gave me the thought that perhaps natural piety could save our political world. A friend once claimed that people now are less moral than nature, whatever he meant by that. Probably that we waste our resources and pollute our environment in ways that nature does not. In Shakespeare’s universe, nature and the human world were sympathetic to each other. What was going on here also went on in the cosmos… So I kept walking to the road around the bend with my mail in my shopping bag. “Do you see the same things every day?” I heard the opinion again that money makes the world go round. It seems to be the current modus operandi everywhere you look. How did money replace love in this scheme? “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Somehow we have to get back to the prelapsarian state of existence, unite ourselves with nature and listen for the harmony of the spheres.

Something in all of this reminds one of Woodstock…


With a Coke. To Joni Mitchell and My Brother

Four thirty.

Clouds have rolled in and they’re saying light rain in ten minutes; but they never really know what’ll happen. My head is playing Joni Mitchell’s “Otis and Marlena,” a little ballad I heard again last night, succeeded by a long percussion jam and “Dreamland.” The music is sad for me because it evokes memories of my brother and the trips we took to the coast in the middle of the Bush era. I also think of how complex my mind has become after so much indoctrination: like a baptized Lutheran ought to feel, I guess. My body and my mind truly feel separate from each other as with the Cartesian scheme, or as if my mind had a pre established bucket for receiving the doctrines I did. I’m not the same person I was two decades ago, though I feel a tugging sensation from hearing the Joni Mitchell once again, like undertow, something treacherous and potentially lethal; and I feel that I’m back on the beach with my brother years in the past.

I wonder if it rained yet; I heard nothing like raindrops on the house and the sky doesn’t look like a cloudburst. The colors are wrong for a rainfall just now. But I’m wishing hard for the rain to come as soon as it can while I’ve got “Paprika Plains” running in my head. Music does odd things to me, as if the spirit of Dionysus dwelt in the sound of the notes and chords, the overall atmosphere.

I doubt that it has rained outside, but something has happened within me at this writing. Take it, learn from it, and move on to the next thing. 


Seven thirty.

I’m back from going to the market, where I went around the big dairy truck by the storefront. Thomas was low key and lackadaisical as always, a young guy with few worries and his whole life ahead of him. The day is starting out cloudy and cool. Everything seems dull and gray, apathetic and not very pretty. Maybe it’s the industrial quality of the landscape that gets to me sometimes, with power lines crossing everywhere and oceans of asphalt and concrete: boxy little houses and planted trees, and the traffic of cars and trucks with dummy drivers. This is suburbia for you. Life in America. We get used to the geometry of it, the feeling of existing in a box and having around us sharp angles and lines, unlike the round rolling open country or miles of wooded hills outside the city’s perimeter. I thought of Joni Mitchell: “You just picked up a hitcher / A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway.” I never noticed the oxymoron before: she’s bound and yet the freeway is a free place. It’s a paradox. You may not learn something new every day, but still you do occasionally.

Nine forty.

I got a contradictory letter from the food stamp people, so I have to get to the bottom of that. Meanwhile, Gloria fell when we were about to go to Bi Mart. Her knee buckled. So I’ll probably walk over there later today. It’s just one of those days. It happens to be my nephew’s birthday, but we don’t get along together very well.

Eleven thirty.

We wound up going to Bi Mart anyway, where I went inside by myself to buy three simple items. On the way home we took a detour, making a circle through N Park and Horn Lane and back on River Road. Those serpentine streets remind me of my mother’s “back ways.” The houses are very old and everything is canopied by green trees, almost like being in a dark wood. You feel something like Hansel and Gretel, lost in the forest and chancing on a gingerbread house full of treasure. It’s a place I don’t visit very often, but only dream about sometimes. Now the sun makes an overture of shining, breaking the spell.

30 Months

I saw the clouds roll in before darkness fell. I can believe that it will rain tomorrow. The forecast calls for rain Saturday as well. Practice is at three o’clock. If it rains, hopefully it won’t be a torrent, and I can walk to Mike’s house okay.

I’m at an odd point in my life right now, having to reevaluate the things I’ve learned in school and in life. Perhaps a lot of it is disposable now, so I can do like Whitman and set it aside in order to make my own Leaves of Grass. Actually, my life itself is my magnum opus, and writing is its chronicle. Where does it lead, and where will it end up? Le Guin was probably right that the journey is what counts, yet even that was her experience, not mine. Everybody has an opinion. I do agree with Joni Mitchell: people will tell you where to go, but until you get there yourself, you’ll never really know. And that’s what going on a hegira is all about…

A life in letters, and letters in a life: I wonder if that’s like the long essay by Coleridge? But I think Whitman’s odyssey was more interesting, because more original and authentic, even if he visited all those places only in his imagination; even if the self he portrayed was but a persona… And again, that was someone else’s hegira and chronicle. I am almost two and a half years into my recovery, which is just a bare beginning. I can’t imagine what’s in store for my future. Like moving down a hallway with a lot of doors to either side, and the view ahead dimly lit until I get there…