We pick locusts sliding fresh from the dunes like little Saint John the Baptists wandering in our wildness. Our little wilderness, sanctuaried by a wheat truck and a chain, arrives each time the metal-gray auger slips under the patch of dust- blue prairie sky.
This would have, like, cost us $1,000,000 twenty years ago.
I found vNES online today. It’s amazing how technology has gotten us to the point where something that brought so much excitement, sleepovers at Ned’s and Adam’s homes, and persistently sore thumbs could become so mundane and compact as to be virtualized on the net. Available now, without having to blow on cartridges — without pushing strange combinations of buttons to save that game of Zelda. Now you can have it all (or lots of it, at least). Er, maybe not saving games of Zelda.
I can see the folly of my youth staring me in the face. I’m glad there’s not some cosmic timer ticking in the universe for all of the Nintendo hours I’ve put it during the course of my life.
Now we just have to wait for the vPS1, and the virtualized copy of Masters of Teras Kasi. Then all will have come full-circle.
We approach our gathering, and I’m enjoying the anticipation. I look forward to speaking with you all. It’s been a long couple of weeks, one of which was spent on the road in New Jersey for the Dodge Poetry Festival (anyone who has viewed Bill Moyers’ special The Language of Life knows the Dodge Festival) and then in New York for a few days. A week away has paid a toll.
First, some housekeeping:
Toby, are you ready for us to descend upon you? Anything we can do, bring, or otherwise?
J.E. and Ned, are you able to be there?
Peters, I assume you’re set to come?
And second, a few things:
I know I’ve put in for a guys-only kind of weekend. I still stand by that, but certainly don’t mean to put any of you in a strange spot–Toby especially–about this. So whatever the configuration, it will be great. Toby in particular, I know you and Steph have had a hard few weeks by now. I hope this weekend is still good for you, and I hope it’s useful the way friendship can be useful to grief.
I look forward to such candid talk. For one, I would like to hear more about our marriages and the ways each of us makes them work. Who would have thought we’d have an HM gathering and talk about our relationships, let alone our marriages? Considering that most HM gatherings centered often on our solitude, perhaps we’ve come some distance. But I guess that’s the vicinity I’d like to discuss–how do you protect your solitude and still remain a committed and loving partner? Certainly some of that conversation can and should occur here on the site–so please do respond here–but I hope we can talk openly about some of these issues. Speaking for myself, in this last year, I’ve found it very difficult to maintain the things that I used to value and still value–solitude, reading, writing, contemplation, running, certain friendships, and so on. While I realize a new balance is being struck with Jen, and one that most often seems only to improve, it’s still sometimes hard not to feel some loss. Peters brought some of this up awhile ago on an earlier post, and it would be great to continue some of that conversation and to hear from Peters on this, since he and I are at least in a similar time frame in our marriages, but also to hear from Ned, J. E., and Toby, who have had some longer time to live within their marriages.
In any case, this is on my mind, and it’s part of what I look forward to. Of course, I also look forward to tea and coffee, walking through the leaves, and catching up on all our eccentricities. Autumn has been in full force here in Minnesota for the last couple of weeks–truly exhilarating around the Mississippi, the bridges, the lakes, our neighborhood and in the parks. It will be great to come down while Kansas City will be in the throes of its autumn.
Dear friends: Just a note to let you know that at last I finished Gandhi’s autobiography (whew!). Good but tedious at times. It does not even cover the latter part of his life when he really drew the most recognition.
I also recently re-read a book I had first read in NY, called the Ninemile Wolves, by Rick Bass. It is an insightful and well-balanced argument for the re-introduction of wolf packs into the northern United States and Yellowstone, written long before (and perhaps actually galvanized support for) the final re-introduction of wolves into Yellowstone. But as well as an engagingly written account of the re-appearance of wolves in northern Montana, almost three decades after they had been driven off by the federal “Predator Control Act”, Ninemile is an example of the new attitude and paradigm shift that needs to take place in how we think of wilderness, bio-diversity, preservation, and our ever-shrinking, truly wild places.
I mention this because of a recent, brief exchange about the Nature Conservancy. For those of you who have seen my painting “Balancing Act” this passage from Rick Bass was part of the creative spark for that image (as well as the cut hill that was the subject theme for the entire series and the Wallace Stevens poem, etc.). He refers to the irrational way in which wolves were demonized and exterminated (hunted, burned, poisoned, trapped, shot at, and beat to death) which will remain a historical fact of the transformation of the west into cattle ranches. The book also features some nice (however small) black and white ink drawings by Russel Chatham.
Is the base of our history unchanging, like some batholith of sin – are we irretrievable killers? – or can we exist with wolves, this time? I believe we are being given another chance, an opportunity to demonstrate our ability to change. This time, we have a chance to let a swaying balance be struck: not just for wolves, but for humans too.
In this part of Texas you can’t throw a rock in the air with out hitting at indie film maker. Last weekend an indie script writer landed on our porch and asked if she could use our bathroom – as a location.
When our house was on the market a few years ago this script writer, Jeni and her husband, Dutch, looked at our lovely home and they remembered our bathrooms. They were in the last week of shooting and needed a few minutes of bathroom footage. So Sunday they and an actress came and filmed for about 20 minutes in our master bath (the pink one, for those of you who have been here).
Turns out Jeni and Dutch live a block away and seem like our kind of people. In Elgin, finding our kind of people is a rare and precious gift.