Seven thirty five.
For the first time in months I saw the moon this morning. It was half full and hanging in the south part of the sky, and it was just six o’clock. There was not an abundance of daylight at the time; the air was kind of midnight blue while the neighborhood still slept. I completed my mission to the market, came home and fed the dog, and went online and bought two small poetry volumes: Amy Lowell and Carlos Williams. I think I’ll give the second one to Gloria simply because… Now the sun strives with the clouds to show itself. It’s been so long that I’d forgotten that the sky is blue. An old tune by The Crusaders runs on in my head and for the moment I feel fairly free and easy. This can change in the blink of an eye. Overhead looms a great dark cloud blacking out the morning light. A downpour is inevitable. Every kind of weather passes, and so do our moods. I’ll still give the book to Gloria.
Five o’clock evening.
I’m trying not to get involved in a big family fiasco happening right now. Deep breaths. But I feel rather bad for my sister being caught in the middle of everything. It happens to be her birthday as well… The sun has come out partially a few times today, alternated with gray and black skies, yet no rain the whole day. I’ve just had a modest dinner and now want to unwind for a while. The daylight will last until after seven thirty. I’ve observed how everyone seems so apathetic every day except to be greedy and materialistic, and every person for himself. I see no love and we’re not having fun anymore. With a little motivation I’d take down my big book of Goethe and finish Faust. At least I need a shot of passion and seizing the day. I believe we waste so much of our lives making mistakes and controlling the damage afterwards. Perhaps it can’t be helped. Howsoever we live life is a wager and the stakes are very high. Do you go for all the marbles? Often I feel content to just sit quietly at home.
“Never wanted to be the boy next door
Always thought I’d be something more
But it ain’t easy for a small town boy
It ain’t easy at all
“Thinking it right, doing it wrong
Is easier from an armchair…”
The afternoon yesterday was very beautiful with pillars of white cloud rising in a circle around the community, huge massy columns on a blue backdrop, while the sun was brilliant like a trumpet. I walked to the store again, where JR sold me a Wild Cherry Pepsi and a toy for my dog. His black T-shirt was an advertisement for The Goonies, the Spielberg film from the mid Eighties made in Astoria Oregon. Other times, he wears shirts with Back to the Future or Star Wars on the front. Lisa was just leaving in her Jeep as I arrived at the parking lot, with all these colossal clouds like brontosaurs looming over and around us. It was as good as seeing the moon when it’s close, low, and red in September. Randy greeted, “A beautiful day in the neighborhood” when I passed his lot of used cars, by now empty to make way for Will’s Auto Repair. I don’t remember my thoughts as I made my slow promenade; I was a little concerned about the Achilles’ tendon in my right heel, which tends to pop in and out of place. I told myself that eventually it would be a problem needing surgery, perhaps. It’s a symptom of being a daily pedestrian, of pounding the hard and unforgiving pave for time out of mind. There’s always a fiddler to pay for the things we use maybe too much.
Quarter after ten.
I am abominably tired this morning. There was no way I could walk a mile to church again today for service. So I stayed home except to go to the store around the bend. The clouds earlier were blue in layered bars against white sky. It rained on me a little as I arrived to market just after seven o’clock. Nothing remarkable happened, but my right foot hurt from time to time so I limped a bit. The rest of the day should go pretty quiet. I’m thinking about reading from one of my Free Press philosophy books later on. A little of that goes a long way. It’s a good thing to do on a rainy Sunday. The neighborhood is quite dormant but for the activity of wild birds. The mourning doves are always around to feed on seeds and make their cooing calls. The whole day is a wash of green and gray from the overcast skies, and not many signs of life right now. I don’t know what ideas are popular today, except Christianity never goes away in America. Is it a deficiency in morals not to believe what seems very improbable as far as physics can allow? I think it’s better to tell your truth than be an imposter, standing in the pews saying words you do not mean.
Quarter of ten.
By the time I left the house, the rush hour was over and things were pretty calm. The wet streets were more or less deserted and the store wasn’t busy. Lemon clouds admit just a little sunlight and the sparrows have come out. I put on a purple beanie I bought at the Dollar Tree five years ago prior to my trip. Lisa was outside with a guy on his bicycle on her break, shooting the bull. Her leg gave her trouble but she hadn’t been to the doctor, probably due to the expense. It reminds me that I’m very lucky in my position. I made a few food purchases, plus a little stuffed animal I thought I’d give to Gloria the next time I see her.
I’ve got a biography of James Joyce I’d like to examine again, or maybe just reread Dubliners and think about old times. It isn’t like I’m searching for lost time; I was very present for my youth. But somehow it seems that youth is wasted on the young. I guess you can’t have youth and wisdom all in one. It’s also true that making it to old age is a victory. If I had a dollar for every mistake I made; yet wisdom is its own wealth.
I’m expecting Gloria at ten this morning, and we’ll probably go to Bi Mart because Aesop needs canned food. The lemon sky and something about the atmosphere suggest to me an early spring, not to mention the sparrows behind my house. There are times when I admit to myself that I’d love to get drunk on a tasty beer and pretend it’s the Pleasure Dome. But at this point, the consequences of alcohol are very dire. I have everything to lose by getting plastered, so I just daydream what I can’t actually do. There is music in my mind by Ravel from Daphnis et Chloe. I have the disc of the ballet and could listen to it, but I remember how it sounds well enough. Also, I’m feeling rather tired of being versed in the Western tradition in the arts and philosophy. There must be a way to escape it all. For today, it’ll have to be sufficient to make a trip to Bi Mart.
I was awake at three, then slumbered another hour and a half. The store opens at six, so I’ll probably stumble over there before sunrise. I’m not having much fun lately; rather, I’m frustrated that people aren’t more intelligent.
Eight thirty five.
Just a cold white sky. I got a little more sleep this morning, and now I’ve fed the dog. I dreamed about drinking again, and what a superman it made me feel like, but the reality is Clark Kent. Dreams are necessarily not real unless you live in one, like Edgar Poe in all his decadence and brilliance. Chemical dependency is a strange thing. It seems larger than life at the same time that it takes it away from you. Mostly it’s a game of self delusion. I don’t even think my dog believes I’m a god. Everyone is mortal and makes mistakes, if you are honest enough to confess it. It would be weird to read Nietzsche again, speaking of supermen and mistakes. We’re all vulnerable and ordinary, so it’s probably not right to make yourself a hero.
I haven’t felt this kind of humility in some time. Soon I’ll go on flat feet over to the market and get my regular stuff for the day. Everyone can agree that it’s cold today. I’ve put on a gray sweater: no flamboyant colors. I’ll wear a belt because I ordered my jeans a size too big in the waist. And wear a beanie to cover my bald head on top.
The ides of January, I suppose. I got back from church 45 minutes ago, stopping at the store in between. The best part of the service was the Debussy postlude. You don’t hear the second Arabesque often, so it was a treat for me. The weather continues windy with scattered showers. I feel kind of like a worthless epicure, a person who doesn’t inconvenience himself to help others as a Christian does. There have been other insights to what made my sobriety possible, not so admirable except for my honesty in observing them. Pastor didn’t address a word to me today; he’s probably a bit upset because I wasn’t there for Christmas Eve. But it was okay. Nobody booed and hissed at me. I noticed that turnout today was pretty low. Dunno. I sometimes feel like a reverse magnet, a repellent for people. At least I tell the truth; and that’s exactly why I am avoided. With that, the sun breaks through a little. It shines on righteous and not so righteous alike. I used to think the sun was partial to everyone but me, like the blonde assassin passing on in the Dickinson poem. But it was always the same.
Paranoia comes and goes…
I was late getting to the store after trying to sleep in for a while. The forecast said possible snow this morning followed by rain and it’s cold. In my journal I’ve been thrashing out my problems with the church, the arguments and attitudes of Christians. If I say anything about Kierkegaard then more likely it’s something I heard from a friend. I think it’s important to keep everything personal and immediate, real and specific, and less general and intellectual. I’ve burnt out on abstracts and rhetoric and the hot air balloon of metaphysics. One more thing I’d like to investigate is the work of Coleridge before saying goodbye to the spiritual stuff, then never look at it again… It’s begun raining.
Quarter of one.
Aesop hurt his foot from scratching the door of his prison while Gloria was here. Things otherwise are quite settled and mellow just now, the atmosphere outside still and breathless and the sky leaden. It is cold and wintry. It’s probably not a good day for another walk outdoors, though the squirrels disagree. I feel bad for my dog.
Quarter of ten.
At the intersection with Fremont Avenue I stood in the gutter while a car passed me and I saw Jan wave at me from inside. On the way back I introduced myself to Wade who was neighbors with Kat before she and Corey moved into their new house. I took a risk on the snowberry Peace Tea when I was at the store and was surprised that it tasted awesome and very sweet. Also I bought Aesop’s favorite chicken jerky for $1.20, to his great delight. I noticed that walking south on N Park is where the wind is always worse, virtually knocking me off my feet the other day. This is Sunday, and there is church for those who want to go, but I’m staying home today. Right now I feel really good. It’s mostly overcast with a few rays of sun coming through. I had a nice little trip. A bit later I might read to the end of the Whitman book, though it’s hard for me to finish the things I begin. It’s like saying goodbye, and I don’t like sad goodbyes.