I look out the window and the desert is all faded yellows and browns. At least those are the predominant colors. The skies are whitened with high clouds. The world, my world, seems in transition.
Oddly, I always seem to slide into a funk after Halloween. Forgetting that this happens every year, until it is upon me. Maybe it's just a bit of grief for the passing of October. Can you grieve a month? Why not. So, I sit here with weighty decisions hovering over my head. (But that's another post. If ever.)
I guess this is just the blues, before shifting into full holiday mode in less than a month. Holidays are ok, in and of themselves, but it seems they are way more complicated than I remember. Again, I am touching on another of many things that plague my thoughts today.
I guess I came here to bitch. But even that seems way too much to ask of this day. So, I will watch the jack-o-lantern shrivel in the afternoon sun and maybe put on some soulful music, something old. Then I'll grab a pencil and draw, something new. Drawing works wonders for the soul. Always has. Trust that.
I CAME TO TALK OF DEATH or possibly life. Sometimes it is hard to know which. Yes, they are tired, old, worn, subjects and what more could one possibly have to add? Nothing probably. But at a certain age, it all seems to be more in your face. Funerals become more frequent. People you couldn't imagine not being in your life, are gone. And well, the statistics are there, right? So whether you want to or not, the subject of life and death will enter your lexicon. And even if you try to push it away, thinking foolishly, it doesn't pertain to me. Not yet, anyway. You will find yourself thinking about it, eventually.
So, I want to believe it is a continuum. A transition, to be sure, but things keep on going, just differently. And I hear you shouting, that's what religion is all about, dummy. Yes, but I find myself needing to take the dogma out of it and just look at the evidence. Everything is cyclical. Take a look at plants. They die back at winter to return in spring. Look at the progression of the seasons, or the movement of night into day. Our whole observable Universe is in a state of becoming. Becoming something else. You see, it's the way it is all designed. And we are part of that design. No different. Death is a part of the cycle. That's all.
Now, none of this is new information. Nothing earth shattering about it. But when you can start to take it in on a personal level, there is a real beauty, a real elegance to the design. And personally, I find great comfort in that design.
(a footnote) As I am writing this, I know of someone who is dying. Possibly very soon. So, as I am wrestling with that, I needed to state or restate some things in a public manner, for my own sake and maybe for anyone else who is facing this tonight.
Spring is well upon us and Easter is now behind us. An annual restlessness begins to settle in my bones. It comes with the spring winds. It comes with the tumbleweed season. When the winds pick up the tumbleweeds race, in numbers too many to count, across the desert floor stopping only when a fence line traps them. They pile up like a colony of other-worldly beings, jostling for position, forever quivering in the wind, and attaching to each other, creating an insurmountable mountain of dried thistle.
Recently, I discovered that the tumbleweed or Russian thistle, which is symbolic of the West and seems to appear in every western movie, is not native to the West. It originated on the tundra in the Ural Mountains of Russia and didn't appear in the US until the late 1870's. Apparently their seeds were imported here by mistake with some flax seed by immigrant Ukrainian farmers in South Dakota. By 1900, it was in almost every western state and had spread all the way to the Pacific ocean. Rolling in the wind is how they spread their seeds. How very efficient and how very invasive.
The news, the other night, showed thousands of them hugging a fence that runs parallel to Interstate 40 here in New Mexico for miles. I, myself, gathered three large trash bags of them just the other morning after a particularly windy night. There is something creepy about this annual migration of these dead, skeletal weeds, and yet, awesome at the same time.
Pat Greenwell is an artist. A painter and sometimes poet, he has been searching the New Mexico desert for several years now, looking for lost possibilities and probable intentions.
"...mostly stream-of-consciousness stuff, you know...