Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who is better than you, Emmylou?

and singing one of my favorite songs, Pancho & Lefty. Back in 1977. Thank God for You Tube.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And then God smote me...

Me, laughing at life's misfortunes. Like Grant Miller does.


Friday, August 17, 2007

"Without Breath"*

My next door neighbor died last Saturday in the early morning. He was 26. It was a tangle of sirens and diesel engines, but not so big as the last early morning, back in November, when there were six fire trucks and multiple EMT rigs, because they had such a heck of a time getting this big man down the steep and narrow staircase, and off to the hospital, where he was treated for a respiratory infection.

Both times his young wife, Zoë, awakened to find him blue. This time she couldn't get him breathing again.

I was dreaming of Tex being shoeless in the car and a fire truck, which obstructed my path and was digging a hole in the street I was trying to drive on, even though I was on the passenger side. Because naturally, fire engines are equipped with back ho buckets. Perfectly logical. Maybe it was the consideration of that oddity that knocked me into consciousness, just before the emergency vehicles pulled up out front.

I've written before about this, but had no heart to post it - I feel so much and so little about all this, all at the same time. What I mean is, there is a lot of feeling about it, and even for them, but it's not a personal loss in a sense. Most of what I feel might be strictly selfish, about the fear it creates in me, about my dismay at people who won't take care of themselves, or worse, about people who are in relationships who don't seem really to want to stick around. It's not a condemnation, really, it's a sadness. When you bind your life to someone else, isn't part of your duty to them one of preserving your health the best that you can, to prevent undue suffering? Adam was young and in pretty poor shape. Overweight, chain-smoker, no evidence of other substance abuse, and as sweet and polite a guy as any other I've known from a distance. Adam had a problem with sleep apnea. Maybe it was "his time to go," as people like to say. Maybe he could have chosen a different path. It's not my place to say, and I wish him well on his next journey.

Some teachers of mine have instructed me that we have spiritual contracts with all the individuals we encounter in our lifetime. Sometimes there is an agreement that such a loss will occur. I know it is a valuable lesson, I've been schooled in it several times, but failed to graduate to the level of non-attachment. I'm not certain that's the goal I have in mind.

Of course, this isn't really about me, which is why I've demurred the post for almost seven days now. I can tell you what it was like to watch her looking shell-shocked as they loaded his body into the coroner's van, how she let me hold her hand, and hug her, just like last November, and how his mother was wailing and one of the daughters looked embarassed about it, and the cop who was quite kind, but more interested on talking to me about my massive dog and how I should buy him some "Pawsicles," because they are healthy ice cream for canine pets. Everyone deals with grief and the proximity to death differently.

And just now a knock has come on the door, it's Jo, the friend from England, letting me know about the funeral, services and the state Zoë's in, which is no state at all, it seems.

I've meant to post this photograph for some time, now. I took it on my coastal trip last December. It's from a memorial for some fishermen lost on the Oregon coast, some time ago. We live in a desert here, but it seems appropriate to me, all the same. It is not credited, and I cannot discover the author.

(*apnea - Latin, from the Greek, apnoia, Indo-Euro root: -pneu. Adam was the first man, but "red man," literally translated. Zoë means "life.")

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wild Child

This sort of thing is my dream to experience. Evidently, these blokes raised the cub until he was too big to keep, so they turned him out where he could join a pride. This is their one year reunion. I think I could die happy if a lion gave me this sort of welcome.

Or, say, the kiss from the dolphin to Yang-Yang, but we already covered that.

Then there's Hippo Jessica. She makes a nice house guest, and my dog would just want to hug the stuffings out of her.

And no, I do not wear sweatshirts with kitties, lionesses or Pooh Bear airbrushed and spangled on them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Napoleon Palindrome

Can any one suggest a reason why at least five different people have arrived at my blog by Googling, "Able was I" and "who said able was I"? Something cultural afoot that has resurrected The Short Man's Lament?

And did Napoleon actually say that after he saw Elba, or is it like Young George's cherry tree proclamation? Some sites say the source is anon.

Dig in, armchair historians.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Be Free*

I saved a hummingbird that was trapped in my laundry room the other day. I like to think it's the same one that was coming each and every day, several times a day, to my study window and peering in at me. I kid you not. He spent a fair amount of time looking in, is why I think that. Or maybe he just envied the wood panelling, all that vinyl and all those books. So anyway, I put up one of those syrupy red feeders, because what else could he possibly be asking for? Then I stopped sitting there; it's hot in the summer in the SW corner of the house. A few days ago I heard loud buzzing in the laundry room and the bird was pressing itself up against the interior windows, the way moths and flies get when they can't realize there is no passing through the glass. I picked up a box to try and gently trap it, which didn't happen, but pretty soon after it perched on the edge of the cardboard and remained completely still until I walked it out the back door. Away it flew. That was a good day.

(*And please don't sue me, Mr. Photographer)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jurassic Genocide?

Dinosaur Mass Grave Discovered in Switzerland

See, the land of my father's people ain't so neutral after all.

This jogs a memory of second grade, when my know-it-all friend Auralee, whose daddy was a scientist, convinced me that there were two unearthed dinosaur eggs in her side yard. On reflection, I think they might have been decomposing squash, but I was a pliable sucker for years to come. I do recall arguing with her about it, but being an overall trusting sort of child, who was foolishly incapable of lying myself and therefore utterly solipsistic in my view of the potential mendacity of others, I caved. Later on I think she mocked me for my gullibility. She claimed to share some disease with The Bionic Woman, which must also have been a lie, because the only thing I could find noted about the woman who portrayed Jamie Sommers was dyslexia. Or maybe the actress involved herself in a related charity which benefitted folks similarly afflicted to Auralee. Actresses like to do that, you know. Anyway, TBW had lived in our area, and had written the ailing youngster her condolences. Consequently, Auralee had a signed picture of Lindsay Wagner (who, according to a few misguided people, I allegedly resemble. I don't think so, but there's a list like that, which is probably too embarassing to recount), which gave her extra credibility, of course.

It should be noted that my favorite dinosaur word is Diplodocus, which is phonetically as close a representation of the awkwardness of my movements in the subsequent years of grammar school, as any other cumbersome word you could find. I'd enjoy it if you could suggest a few more - sort of the opposite of our past lyric searches. To say I was all legs would be an understatement, and one would be overlooking The Feet. Odd that with platforms like that I should have toppled so easily. Sigh.

More Dinosaur facts? Don't really have any, except I used to know a founding member of the band, Dinosaur Jr., and that always reminds me of my friend and onetime roommate's old Lab mix, Dog, Jr. Dog, Jr, who quite possibly had the best dog name I've ever heard, was a sweet old man, and was terrified of the telephone. We never knew why. Despite his kindly disposition, he did abuse a drunken house-guest most terribly once. She had passed out on the sofa and he ate a hank of her hair off as she slept, right down to the scalp.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Even More Evidence That I Am Quite Like an Eisenhower Era housewife

I think this is what is known as "house proud."

I've scrubbed out the inside of my refrigerator, and I can't stop opening the door and peering in at the pristine perfection. (This is quite hard on the electric bill, by the way, much like what those flies suffered last summer.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Good to Be Bad Grammar*

Exchange between erstwhile roommates:

David - You know that tv show, America Has Talent?

Me - I think so, but I almost never watch t.v...

Steven - It's, "America's Got Talent."

David - But I refuse to call it that, because the grammar galls...

Me - Then call it, "America Gots Talent"

David - Ooh, I like that.

*(uh, poor.)