1 Apr 2010, 6:29pm
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hey there. it is april and today has been beautiful. i walked seven miles or so across town just ’cause.

been hanging out with my brother, who has more or less moved to portland, a lot lately. we are pretty close in age (he’s 14 months younger than me) and when we were young we were really close, but sibling rivalry, different interests, and eventually physical distance kept us apart for a long time (stressed-out phone calls during college in which it was suggested that we run away and join the circus together notwithstanding), until fairly recently. it’s pretty fantastic to have him around. he bought me a month membership at the portland rock gym and we’ve been going climbing a few times a week. climbing is pretty fun, and i know it’s making me stronger. when we first started, i was sort of surprised to discover that i am a little bit afraid of heights. i mean i’d get up there all right, but then i’d be drenched in sweat and things that would be easy closer to the ground were nigh impossible. it has been something really tangible to work on w/r/t courage, and i am getting better. the climbing routes are all numerically rated in terms of difficulty, so it’s easy to see improvement and get that awesome feeling of accomplishment. yesterday i climbed a 5.8 for the first time! (still relatively “easy,” but pretty hard for me.)

plus, i am excited to get my arm strength back. i keep saying that, “get it back,” but i’m not sure really that i have ever been much stronger than i am right now. i just still think of myself as having been stronger before getting hit by a car, and as still being weak from that. which says to me that i still have some work to do w/r/t that, too. sometimes i feel strong enough to start to do that work. more of it. it feels never-ending, and i feel ridiculous for feeling that way, because i am happy and healthy now despite what happened almost two years ago, so why should it still feel so looming and important to me?

have also been chipping away at my master gardener “payback” volunteer hours, weeding and spreading mulch and potting plants at the beautiful public gardens i like to hang out at anyway. workin’ on dreams; i know i can’t make them true if i can’t tell quite what they look like. but the more i do, the more i know, and there is no climax forest (see below).

a. and i celebrated our 2-year anniversary last week. i drew this picture of him a couple weeks ago on the first day of spring, which was BEAUTIFUL, while we were hanging out at laurelhurst park (along with the rest of portland):

we sort of blow my mind, all the time. i know that our struggles and successes, and our care for one another, are nothing new or unusual in the grand scheme of things (and that itself is a pretty amazing and fantastic thing, i think), but our relationship does new and unusual things to me, for sure, and regardless of its future (one big giant question mark), i am really grateful for it.

a few weeks ago we went hiking on the coast with aniss and sarah (my roommate from freshman year of college, recently returned to our city of roses, much to my delight!)—


quotations from things i’ve read in the last month or so:

Barefoot Barry resigned his position from what he called “the Ivory Tower of Babel” shortly thereafter and migrated into the French Quarter. His decision, and his grandstanding, were hardly unique. In the French Quarter, it seemed as if everyone had a gigantic personality. There were exceptions, of course, but every day saw the additive madness of the world surpassing the wits of another to understand, and they surrendered. Not to some enemy foreign or domestic, but rather to the world itself, to life and death, to illusion and confusion, to the blowing of the wind. They surrendered to the Great White Spot, to all the uncertainty, insecurity, and impermanence that it emphasized. They clicked off their teevees with a dismissive cuss, shrugged, shook their heads, and walked away into the wilds of whatever.

But what is whatever? Whatever does it mean? According to Barefoot Barry at one of his many public lectures throughout the French Quarter, “Whatever we wish is what is whatever. Whatever is our final frontier, our shrug against the imperatives of the bossy, the declarations of the boorish, the grumbles of the fretful. Whatever is unimpressed, uninvolved, the supreme dismissal of all conflict, push leads to shrug, don’t you know? Whatever you wanna believe, man, I don’t really give a fuck. It ain’t my trip, and it’s just not that important. Whatever is the proper response to any and all nonsense, but what do we presume to answer by our utter of whatever? Whatever what? What is whatever supposed to mean?

“Hear me now, for this is the wisdom of whatever: Whatever means anything, and exactly that. Anything and whatever indicate the same concept, they are synonymous, they mean the same thing. Do whatever you want. Do anything you want. Anything. Any thing. Limitless possibility. This is the wisdom of whatever, and this is the wisdom you have always known. You can always say whatever. You can always walk away.

“And you can never lose more than you can abandon.”

—from nine kinds of naked, by tony vigorito, my over-the-top ridiculous chaser to oh-so HEAVY infinite jest, courtesy of the zine-and-book-exchange mailbox at 33rd and belmont (i love that thing). i picked it up because i remembered enjoying vigorito’s just a couple of days when i read it a few years ago. his writing is like that of tom robbins, but, uh, less subtle, if you can believe it (and his metaphors are frankly not as good). still, i enjoyed it and it was very different from ij, which i needed.

Together the two classes of specialists [pioneer species and old-forest species] create a complex mosaic of vegetation types across the forest which, by regular tree falls and landslides, is forever changing. If square kilometers of space are mapped over decades of time, the mosaic turns into a riotous kaleidoscope whose patterns come and go and come again. A new marathon is always beginning somewhere in the forest. The percentages of successional vegetation types are consequently more or less in a steady state, from earliest pioneer species through various mixes of pioneer and deep-forest trees to stands of the most mature physiognomy. Walk randomly on any given day for one or two kilometers through the forest, and you will cut through many of these successional stages and sense the diversity sustained by the passage of storms and the fall of forest giants.

—from the diversity of life, by edward o. wilson. there is no such thing as a climax forest.

i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself

—from for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, by ntozake shange.

Next, she thought, “When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.”

—from still life with woodpecker, which rivals jitterbug perfume for the title of my favorite tom robbins novel (i have read both of them several times). “who knows how to make love stay?” is one of the central questions of the book, and has been on my mind these days. hard work for sure! but magical too.

I returned to stalking the wild universe.

Final question, if you please. How do I stop being afraid?

“Know that there is no safety anywhere. There never was and there never will be. Stop looking for it. Live with a fierce intent to waste nothing of yourself or life.”

There was one final message.

“Turn fear around. Its other face is excitement.”

—from PiHKAL: a chemical love story, by alexander & ann shulgin. i am really enjoying this book!

“Well, there are often several levels going on at the same time. Right now, on one level, there seems to be a sort of compulsive surveying of human history, images of people from prehistoric times up through the present, creating cities, books, paintings, religions, political systems, wars, making the same damned mistakes, over and over, and every generation asking the same basic questions and having to figure out there own versions of the answers.

“It’s hard not to feel a dreadful despair about the whole picture. I mean, why don’t we get wiser, as a species? Why can’t one generation pass on what it’s learned in such a way as to save its children from falling into the same stupid traps?”

I shrugged, spreading my hands, “Then, on another level, I’m seeing that if the elders of each generation were capable of really instilling chunks of wisdom into their children, they would also be able to instill other things. Along with the good stuff, you’d also get all the misconceptions. prejudices, traditional tribal hatreds—all that sort of thing would be absorbed and perpetuated too—and that would mean no new perspectives, no moving forward at all. If there’s to be growth, evolution, the children have to shape their world differently, taking some of the good and some of the bad from their parents and ancestors, but basically remodeling it, putting their own stamp on it.”

—another one from PiHKAL: a chemical love story.



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