Garden & Gathering

Nature is Party to All

Category: Diary

Diary Entry January 12, 2014

Honestly stunned by summerlike weather mid-January. Supposed to write my thoughts down, supposed to spend however long a day writing, supposed to supposed to. All I can think about are summer bike rides through downtown. Pedaling the heat away. Falling asleep at Wash Park. Lying out on my rooftop. The slow days. Waking to a gaggle of geese surrounding my bench. The slow days…

Each one the same. Waking up with nothing to do, not much money, surviving on caffeine and nicotine. An awful balance, but it got me through some rough times. The shower was the hottest part of the house, between the steam and morning window. I would take cold shower. Run a brush over my teeth while I picked out what to wear. My closet still had my suitcase in it, filled with cut off button up t-shirts. Make my way to Crema. Ride along Walnut taking pictures of forgotten signs and inspired graffiti. Ride to Gorditas y Tacos, fill mine with tender pork and cactus. Grab a couple 24oz PBRs for $3 and ride home. I would sit on the floor, next to the window, to feel the breeze. Stevie Wonder crackling out of my broken cassette player and watch the clouds, naming them wonder and awe. Ride downtown to The Market, buy cheese and meat placing it between slices of the loaf I baked the day before. I gave the rest to a man struggling at a bench off 18th and Blake.

The Call of the Wild

National Wild Life Refuge, Lake Mary Pathway

National Wild Life Refuge, Lake Mary Pathway

“The trouble with drug addiction is that it really isn’t about the drugs, no matter how much most people seem to believe that. Drug addiction is a means to an end. It begins usually as a way to try something new, to try and get high, to try and transport yourself somewhere else, to try and just feel better for a minute.

Most drug use is self medication for the things that people either can’t or won’t cope with in real life. The root of most of all that? Mental health conditions, the huge piece of this issue that we find ourselves ignoring all too often every time drugs are involved.” –DeBie Hive Blog

I am truly appalled when people insist on imposing their ideology on the lives of others, BUT…

In the spirit of quietness and self-reflection I have deleted most of the following blog post. I don’t obsess over, or even particularly like, Russell Brand as a comedian or an actor. Nevertheless, his piece in The Guardian, which I have linked below, brought me to tears. I think it is an adequate side note to the Philip Seymour Hoffman discussion, which has filled news feeds since his death.

“Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

If this seems odd to you it is because you are not an alcoholic or a drug addict. You are likely one of the 90% of people who can drink and use drugs safely. I have friends who can smoke weed, swill gin, even do crack and then merrily get on with their lives. For me, this is not an option. I will relinquish all else to ride that buzz to oblivion. Even if it began as a timid glass of chardonnay on a ponce’s yacht, it would end with me necking the bottle, swimming to shore and sprinting to Bethnal Green in search of a crack house. I look to drugs and booze to fill up a hole in me; unchecked, the call of the wild is too strong. I still survey streets for signs of the subterranean escapes that used to provide my sanctuary. I still eye the shuffling subclass of junkies and dealers, invisibly gliding between doorways through the gutters. I see that dereliction can survive in opulence; the abundantly wealthy with destitution in their stare.”

-Russell Brand: My Life Without Drugs

Note: I know his article is a bit dated, but still seemed to fit.

A Case of Tenderness

I am reminded now of a night in the college dormitories, where I was suffering from a high fever. I was angry, sputtering. Getting in the bath because I could not get warm. I tossed in our bunk bed as my roommate CJ was studying. It’s all such a dream now, I remember moaning. I remember slipping in and out of sleep, never aware of reality. I woke to see CJ watching my pathetic misery. He asked me if it was okay if he prayed. He was Russian Orthodox. I might have feebly nodded my head yes, that’s fine. He laid his hand on my head and started his prayer. I slept the rest of the night through, my fever broken in the morning.

 

I am also reminded of the migraines I had as a child. At some point, I was on a lake with friends and their parents when the pain struck. I had to lie down and occasionally vomited into the lake. They took us back, we went to our cabin and I got into bed. A friend’s dad came in and told me his daughter get migraines. He learned that there are pressure points on the feet to relieve head pain. He asked me if it was okay to massage my feet. I grumbled out a yes. I fell asleep and when I woke up the pain was gone. I even had my first kiss that night.

 

I think there is something to say about occasional vulnerability and a bond formed in tenderness.

The Cure for Depression

The other day I was catching up with an old friend. He has gone through a full lifetime of hardship in the last few years. He told me, “I put a pull up bar in my front door. Every time I walk in the house or leave I jump up and do a couple. I don’t feel anxious or depressed anymore. Everyday I change it up, I think that is what is helping.”

In other words: If you are depressed, get out of bed.

I understand mental illness is not so simple. I am only encouraging myself to do the opposite of what my head is telling me to do.

Notes from the East

It is almost like I never left. I was sitting inside an Irish Pub, Jack of the Woods, and I heard car tires on wet cement. I took my local lager outside to feel a real Southern rain. A warm rain. Is it true that every place is the same?

***

The difference here is you can roll out of bed and set immediately into the Black Mountain soil. This morning the Blue Ridge Parkway pulled its foggy sheet to its chin. I pulled the car over to walk through the forest. I remembered when I was ten walking through the Philadelphia arboretum. A tick had decided that my crotch was a good place to look for blood. I cried and made my Mother take it out with tweezers. A short film on the meditation of humility. The woods are still full of these tales. I still love the forest. I turn off my phone, get lost. I look down and walk paths that have been made by ancient animals. In the city, there is a different poetry. I look to the sky, where men have climbed and sculpted. The gargoyles watching. The mason’s symmetry signaling an ordered universe.

***

How can history be old in the South? The land seems alive and fresh. I imagine the men marching through this forest. Their feet sinking in the soil. Begging their bodies to take another step. Begging for another day. Begging for their families. I suppose they had each other. Companions marching into fate. Do we all look for companions? Isn’t it only the most basic of human needs? Most of the time I want to be alone. Writing and reading. Suddenly, I realize I have no one to share this with, except pen and paper.

***

In reading The Good LifeI am not always sure if I agree. Life is not so simple. Their way can not always be true. It might be simple to agree to that statement, but in practice it is hard. I want to be convinced. Perhaps the key is to understand our purpose is not the same as another’s purpose. You can live for your needs or your wants, but maybe there is a gray area here as well. I want to live on a farm, that seems like an ideal, but I need to be surrounded by the culture of the city. Where is my in between? Sustainable living in an urban setting? Maybe. Where is yours?

***

I often find myself not being completely honest with strangers. I think it stems from being unsure of who I am. Here is a list of responses I have given so far on the trip:

  • A writer
  • An unpublished writer, except a couple ‘zine’s
  • A poet
  • I work in coffee
  • Blogger
  • Publicist
  • In the music industry
  • Floral design
  • A dreamer
  • Customer service
  • Cashier

***

In a recent tarot reading, my past an present were Cups. The Seven of Cups in my past signifies my pleasure seeking self. My fast felt fulfilling, because it was selfish. The present was a Ten of Cups. I feel emotionally rich because of my past pleasure seeking self. The future was an Ace of Swords. Time to cut through the bullshit and think about what comes next. Talking to all the travelers has been a beautiful experience. Why? Because I am not like them. We are both okay, we don’t envy each other, and we have much to learn from each other. I seek deep and meaningful relationships. I need a homestead. I understand the road as home. It has been my home for a while now. Part of this quest is to discover, what makes me who I am. That is what is being uncovered. What is your most basic self?

***

Asheville rains silver in the park / Light of banjos racket thumping / Parades of foreign and Southern accents / Symphonic and friendly farms……….

***

In Brooklyn. Just realized the answer to what I do is not where I work. I love personalities. I love people. I love culture. Replace with I am. “Where are you from?” The correct answer is, “When?” The better question is, “Where do you live?”

***

Joe and I are on the waterfront. Tourists everywhere, laughing at bikes yelling at families on the Brooklyn Bridge. “Get out of the way unless you want to die!” “This is the bike lane! Not the take pictures lane!” Singing falls from open windows all over Brooklyn. Groups of friends and strangers sitting on apartment floors in every brownstone, drinking wine and smoking cigarettes on the roof. Locks on every door, every door is open. Where is your crime? Ripped off in Manhattan. Where are your rats? Cursing the underground. Blessings from the corner. Blessing for the heartbeat. Artists starving in designer jackets. Shoes worn from cement hikes. Empty space, the womb of Grand Central, stars blinking backwards behind the tar. City skin lined with tile. There is only one life to take lightly and it is this one.

%d bloggers like this: