Now and then I climb up on a day like I have done a few times at a water park in the summer. Up the steps I go to sit on the top to slide down into the water, hoping for a thrill and some refreshment. Instead, the water is too warm with piss and sun and I get tangled in the legs of others already there. Today, I fell into the human cesspool and I’m still swimming around trying to find the way out.
I saw a golden eagle and a bluebird over the weekend and floated on serene river water in a kayak. I thought this would be enough to begin the week with, especially since winter has loosened its grip on April and flowers are emerging with a shy smile of yellow and green. Nothing bold and sure yet. It all seems so fragile. Like the news of human beings caught in the cross-fire of war and Japan undergoing a sort of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
I started the day with good coffee, fair trade, of course. And with a little reading from the writings of John O’Donohue. He is always inspiring. And then I read from Thoreau and the Art of Life.
“The words of some men are thrown forcibly against you and adhere like burrs.”
“Wherever a man goes men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions.”
“My heart leaps into my mouth at the sound of the wind in the woods.”
And so forth. I read enough to have dressed my soul and mind to go out into the day. To climb up on a day for some thrill and refreshment. I didn’t have to go too far, for I work at home in my office, on my bed, and around the house. I started with sending out a media kit to some venues I am speaking at in the next month. And then I was going to work on some interview questions for a radio interview I have later in April.
I opened my windows, for the cardinals and mourning doves were singing their hearts out, as well as that Carolina wren with two notes. And then the motorcycles started driving by and I wondered whether there’s a muffler law in New Hampshire. I don’t think so. I used to get stopped and warned by a police officer in New York State when I was young and driving an old car with a bad muffler. Not only is there no helmet law, there must be no muffler law. It’s spring in New Hampshire and the dudes and babes come out on their Harleys like the insects suddenly flying in the air. But the insects are not as loud. Behind our house is a trail that leads to wetlands, a place we relished going to when we first moved here. An old railroad track, now a Fish and Game multi-use trail. There used to be horses and hikers who walked on it, and we would go for fishing and picnics. There’s not many on hoof or foot anymore because the all terrain vehicles have taken it over and New Hampshire really doesn’t care about their wetlands as you would think they would.
I gave up working and went to the health club with my Ipad. I’ve downloaded a Trollope novel and I’ve been enjoying reading it while I’m on the treadmill. I can usually forego the ear buds and listen to the music they have in the club. Today, however, they had a talk radio program on and I listened to the most inane and empty conversation. I had to go look for my ear buds. Before I found them, I heard a man say on the program, “What do ya mean, I have a fuckin’ kid now!” Well, that’s not anything unusual, really…not really…not in today’s society. But as I thought about it, I was angry. Why should I have to be out in public and constantly be bombarded with the crude talk, news of countries coming to an end, and sex change operations? And I pay for this? And since when should a kid ever be thought of as a ‘fuckin’ kid?’
I came home to work, with mixed blessings. Antique houses are usually on main streets that used to be dirt roads. You want the antique house and so you suffer these noisy consequences. Winter is a good time to work here. I opened up e-mails and one read, “As much as we would enjoy having you here at our store for an author event, we are unable to host a book signing event for you.”
This is my third book and I’ve hung in there for a good fight to keep the other two on the shelves. I get good reviews, but…this is the day in the life of a small author. I go for a walk. It’s 72 degrees and the wind is making my heart leap into my mouth to shut it up complaining about the publishing industry and the noise. But soon I am on the trail, being dogged by a family. An American family – Mom, Dad, a boy, and a girl. They are constantly bickering. I think they’ll go by on their bikes, but they’re trying to help the kids ride or something. The one girl is screaming she doesn’t want to ride her bike. Screaming! And all the way down the trail. The boy rides by me, embarrassed, and says, “She’s a big baby!” Okay, I smile…so glad my time with a little one is way over. But for half an hour, they catch up with me and then go ahead of me. I hear them the whole time while I walk and they aren’t a happy family. The peepers are singing loudly and I can’t hear them because of this sit com American family. I want to yell at them to shut up…to teach their kids to listen, to look, and learn from nature. To look for bluebirds, eagles, and the delicate face of a new spring flower that quivers in the warm breeze.
I’m home now…there’s more work to do. I never did answer the interview questions. But I opened my e-mail to find another good review for my novel, Norah. I have written this blog to climb out of a day that got soiled with humanity, my own included, and to take note that the grape hyacinths I picked still had some dirt clinging to them. I shook off the dirt before putting them into water. I shake off my own, too. There’ll be more tomorrow to help me grow.
I will end this day as I started it…with Thoreau:
Men’s minds run so much on work and money that the mass instantly associate all literary labor with a pecuniary reward. They are mainly curious to know how much money the lecturer or author gets for his work. They think that the naturalist takes so much pains to collect plants or animals because he is paid for it ~ journal entry, 1859