Wednesday, May 21, 2003
I want to blog, but I don't know what to blog about. I spend my days working in the Greenhouse/fields and I get plenty of time to mull things over in my mind. It makes the need to blog less intense because I have hashed and rehashed my thoughts so many times that they become boring.
Menial labor is good for the soul. I have to admit, I make absolutely nothing as far as income is concerned but I have never felt more satisfied with myself at the end of the day than I do at this job. There is no insecurity involve such as, "Did I do enough today?" or "Did I do a good job." because it is all right there for you and everyone else to see. Yes, I did a lot and I did an excellent job. One of the interesting thoughts that I keep coming back to is whether or not I really want to go back to NYC. I mean, I do want to go back but is now the right time? I keep thinking of how nice it would be to stay here a little while longer and really get myself squared away financially. Save some money, buy a car, maybe even think about saving for a house. I have envisioned it enough. A really contemporary, loft-like home made of concrete with a wall of south facing windows to passively heat it, a nice courtyard and garden, all the livingspace on one floor except the master bedroom suite (that would be above the living space opening to a roof deck). It would flow between three wings all of moderate size. The central portion would be the kitchen, dining room, great room with the bedroom suite above. The wings would each be a self contained guest suite decorated with a minimialist style. I envision radiant floor heating throughout. In the winter, I would cover the central courtyard to form a greenhouse/conservatory. Beside the east wing would be a grove of white birches planted in a sight line from the bed so that the bark would reflect the golden morning sun, giving my guests a beautiful view first thing in the morning. Outside the window of the west wing would be a grove of sugar maples that I would collect sap from in the spring to make home-made maple syrup. In the fall they would turn firey red, again for the benefit of my guests. In the back - off the kitchen - would be a patio leading to the rectangular, gunnite lap pool, positioned perpendicular to the house in the middle of the sightline from a set of french doors. My breakfast table would be positioned so that I could look directly out across the pool in the morning. The outside of the house would be the simple combination of concrete, steel, iron, glass and stone devoid of all ornamentation except that which is functional. All of the bedroom furniture with the exception of the bed would be either built in or enclosed in the closets so that the room would contain only a bed and perhaps a nightstand.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003 The Old Man of the Mountain, the stoic symbol of the State of New Hampshire, fell from its mountain side perch earlier this month. It was sad but gave me some insight into the cultural differences that exist between Americans of European descent and the remaining native Americans who peopled this area for millenia.
When it was realized that the rock had crumbled, people voiced sorrow. In some cases outrage that the state didn't do more to prop up the structure to keep it from falling. It was, afterall, the symbol of the state they said. I would like to interject here that the Old Man was the most visited tourist site in the state, this may have something to do with the governor's comments that they will form a committee to research the feasibility of re-building the mammoth natural rock structure. They are afraid to lose the tourist dollars. It is odd that they also chose the word "re-build" when humans had nothing to do with its building in the first place. At any rate, it was considered a rather sad event when the face came down. The end of something. It was troubling to the locals.
Then there was the Native American version. They believed that the face was actually that of an old chief who had climbed the mountain to wait for the return of his beloved wife. She had been abducted by another tribe but he could not find her. He was sure that if he climbed up high enough, he would be able to see her when she returned. He went with a party from his tribe and sat and sat watching the horizon for days and days. Finally the others realized they needed to leave but he insisted on staying. They eventually left him there to sit his watch alone. According to the legend, by the time they got to the bottom of the mountain, he had turned to stone and his face was visible gazing off toward the horizon from the top of the mountain, waiting for his love to return. With the collapse of the face, Native Americans of the area were not sad. They danced in the shadow of the mountain. The report I saw explained that they believe that with the collapse, the spirit of the chief was released. They believe that he will now be able to return in some form to the mortal world and share with them his knowledge, making the tribe wiser and stronger. It is a joyful event to them. To them there is nothing that needs to be done because what happened is what was supposed to happen. They understand that we do not control the natural world. I love that. It is a true circle of life. It bothers me though that I know so more about Greek mythology than the mythology of the area where I grew up.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
The Big Head goes blond 19:13
Sunday, May 11, 2003
So much of our lives is filled with those little moments that make it worth living. Some moments are really experiences that are naturally longer than a "moment" but they color our lives and they create the reference points for our memories.
When I was 22 years old, only a year and three months after returning from Germany, I decided to go visit my friend Julie in Scotland. I went with my friend Andrew. We decided to fly to London, rent a car, drive north until we hit Scotland, visit Julie, drive back to London and then hit the continent...all in 10 days.
Back then, I felt that I had it all figured out, that I was worldly, that I had it together, how wrong I was. The first time I ever went to Great Britain was a huge wake-up call. It was actually intimidating. Germany was a walk in the park compared to being in England and then Scotland. It was the first time that I actually realized that there were societies with popular cultures outside of the United States that were equally as strong, if not stronger, than American Popular Culture. In Germany it is hard to explain but the Germans tend to be wide-eyed, goofy. I can't really put it into words but their popular culture seemed hollow and even as a 20/21 year old I found it the antithesis of cool. Sort of like when you were a teen and your mother tried to do something cool around your friends and it backfired but she still thought it was hysterical and is laughing loudly and you are all red-faced and mortified and saying, "Moooommm..." in that strained, exasperated teen way...German pop culture is like that mom...
While I was in England and Scotland though, I realized quite the opposite, I was soooo uncool. So unimpressive. So simplistic and sheltered. Me and my acid washed jeans and my Generra Logo sweatshirts and tees. Eek. My eyes opened. I was like this geeky, American suburbanite trying to be hip with these Glaswegian students and London hipsters with their highly honed fashion senses and unwavering dry wit. It was an education to say the least. Luckily most of the scathing comments flew right over my head.
Well, on the return trip, Julie decided to drive with us down to London to visit her pseudo-boyfriend Steven. We ended up staying with him for a few days and having a great time. He was trendy in a bohemian sort of way, not really handsome but attractive in that pasty British, skin and bones with a belly, protruding ears, crooked teeth sort of way. His personality and intelligence where amazing though and his hospitality was like something I had never experienced. Musically at the time, I thought Pebbles was cool, okay? Dork. He, however, was musically ept like no one I had ever met. There was a tape that he played at night as he fell to sleep (we all crashed in his room on the floor) that I fell in love with. He made me a copy of it before I left but since we we hung over and in a rush, he didn't label it with the artist or the songs. That was okay though, I figured I would figure it out later. That music though really became the soundtrack of that vacation in Britain and I treasured it when I came home. It was a moment. I listened to that tape quite a lot for two or three years until it mysteriously vanished sometime in 1991 or 1992. I never saw it again. I did know the title of one song though, "Walter and John" and once in a while I would go into an independent record store and ask if they knew of an artist with a song of that title. No one ever did. Eventually I stopped trying to find it. So, in a way, fate took a little part of that moment away.
Today I was given it back. I have no idea why and it really made me happy. I was in a Hallmark Store looking for a mother's day card, when over the speakers came a haunting voice from the past. I recognized it immediately. I went to the counter and asked immediately what CD was playing. We narrowed it down and I found the CD on the shelf. For the first time in 15 years I knew who that artist was. It felt like something was given back to me. There in front of me was the name Ben Watt. I could have smacked myself for not putting it together sooner since I have every EBTG album ever released. I guess inside I still hold onto a bit of that uncouth, geeky, suburbanite in the acid-washed jeans who needs things explained to him. He kept the more saavy side of me in the dark for 15 years. The album I have been missing for all that time is North Marine Drive by Ben Watt which was released in 1983. You can get it from CDNow. I am so getting it even if it is 20 years old now. I am sooo excited. I'm going to sit in my room, with a cup of tea, and listen to it alone. I'm hoping it will be like a little time capsule and kick up memories of conversations and drunken nights from when I was in London with Andrew and Julie and Steve way back in 1988 when I was 22 and still rather green at this whole life thing. I'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Things in my life are about to change again. I'm not sure that I am quite ready.
I have accepted the teaching fellowship in NYC. There is a lot to say about that but I'll narrow it down to, I get to move back to NYC, I get to teach there, and I get to work on my master's degree in education. I have to say though, that the whole prospect of moving back there is bitter sweet. I have gotten used to being around my family again. I haven't felt this close to them for years. It will be hard to leave knowing that my relationships with each of them could only get stronger if I were to stay. New York is not that far away and I will be doing something worthwhile and of a true betterment to myself so I need to keep my eyes trained on that. It was always my intention to get back there as soon as possible anyway. It just isn't going to be as easy as I had hoped it would be, at least economically, since I have only just started to get a paycheck again. I am hoping that it will all work out though.
Since I have been working so much, and doing little else, I feel slightly isolated from everyone. I have been e-mailing back and forth with Illinois boy and it is apparent that our lives will never be in the same part of the world. He is doing well and starting to get opportunities that he is grabbing. My opportunities are all in New York. Even though I realized a long time ago that he and I would have to go our seperate ways, I still get that sense that it could have been good if we had had the chance to be a couple. All I can do is watch the only person that I have felt this way about for a really long time as he drifts (or more accurately, moves) farther and farther from me. I think about his face and his voice and how it felt to wake up next to him and I wish I could have that for a while. What I will have will be great, and I'm sure if it is meant to be it will somehow come to pass. I guess I am having melancholy feelings on a gray Tuesday evening and I wish I had someone special in my life to smile at me and tell me that things will be fine.