UP BEAR CREEK | Taking a Step Back for a Bit
by Art Goodtimes
Jul 22, 2013 | 2449 views | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print

LOSS & FINDINGS … Losing an intimate – one with whom you’ve shared stories and dreams, desires and dreads – necessitates taking a step back. You almost involuntarily drop what you’ve been doing to reassess what it is you’ve been up to, what’s been driving you, what it is you want to do for whatever time’s left … Funny, even separated, Mary and I were still deeply connected. By our children. By our finances. By 15 years of partnership on various levels. It’s hard to even describe the emotional, psychological and spiritual ties that held us together, even as we lived apart a while. That we reconnected in the end, my being there for her through her last sickness, was a blessing for both of us. Now I find myself spending a lot of time reflecting on what it was that we had, what was it that we missed, what brought us together and apart. There is this deep need to understand things, to see what it reveals about me, about her, about all of us as human beings … So, I have put a lot of what I used to run around doing on hold. My first priority is my youngest son, for whom I’ve become mom&pop – although several wonderful woman friends and couples have stepped in to provide surrogates for the amazing mother that Mary was. My daughter Sara is off to college soon, and her life is on its own trajectory. I’m there for her, if she needs me. Gorio and I hope to travel out to Whitman College for her parent orientation this August. But her mom gave her most of the tools she’ll ever need. And various angels have stepped in to provide whatever was missing. The rest, now, is up to her … Family first, I seemed to have been blessed with a drought that’s forced me to “chop wood, carry water.” Cloud Acre’s spud patch and tree plantings and small gardens require daily watering, weeding, attention. I still attend meetings in the county, and sometimes outside of it, representing the people (a job I love). But after 17 years of forging connections and alliances, creating partnerships and projects, I’ve taken a bit of a step back there too. I was supposed to be the current chair of the county board in the rotation we’ve used since Anna Zivian took office, but my two colleagues agreed to let me defer that role a year. Both Elaine Fischer and Joan May are amazing leaders, and they’ve stepped up with increased fervor and are doing wonderful work. It’s given me a year to focus on my land and my family, the time to reflect and heal … As a person of boundless energy, I have needed this period of reassessment and (dare I say) lassitude. One has to get one’s life in order to be of use to others. And order is something that comes out of chaos – a reassembling of things as one would like them to be … So, forgive me if I’ve not returned a call, an email, or missed an event or not addressed a need you had as a citizen. I’ve lost my dad, my brother, and now my wife in a few short years. I have my children, my friends and fellow citizens, my Cloud Acre and the amazing San Juans. It’s good to take a step back and mourn what’s gone and start reordering things so that I can appreciate the gifts that remain and continue working for my community.

 

EXOTICA … There’s a lot of exotica in Fruita geologist-astronomer-poet Danny Rosen’s new chapbook, Ghosts of Giant Kudu (Kattywompus Press, Cleveland Heights, OH, 2013). Having spent several tours as resident stargazer in a Dutch wildlife camp in Namibia, Rosen takes us on a lyric tour of this former German protectorate in Southern East Africa dominated by the Nabib desert, thought to be the oldest in the world. We learn of thorntrees, wet red sand dunes, dassie rats, koppies (Afrikaans for a small hill rising from the veld), klipspringers and kudus. But more, we feel as Rosen felt the “bowl of your soft dark belly / hanging above me every night, tucking me in, / rolling me over and over until I’d been rolled / into the arms of your African fold” … Marvelous poems that trek and travel and stand their ground, taking you into a place wholly foreign and yet alluring, familiar. As one poem ends, “I’m stranded in the Hoanib, / under the canyon moon. / If they ever find me, / it will be too soon” … Highly recommended.

 

SCI-FI … A few years ago I saw a film called Serenity, and thought it was a marvelous sci-fli flick. Last month Gorio and I were surprised to run across the Firefly TV series on Netflix. Watching the first couple episodes, we began to realize it had all the same characters as the film. Wikipedia revealed the whole story of what Emily Nussbaum of the New York Times described as a “character-rich sci-fi western comedy-drama with existential underpinnings” … Unfortunately, in spite of winning an Emmy and several other awards, the Fox network cancelled the Firefly series in its first season (2002) but strong DVD sales have led to a huge fan base and a cult following. The movie came out as a sequel … I can see why there’s a following. It’s a cult worth tracking (no, not trekking) – appealing characters, an anti-establishment bias, nice special effects, an honorable outlaw ethic, and some good dialogue. Personally I loved the use of Chinese for swear words throughout – a brilliant touch … We’ve seen all 14 episodes of Firefly now, and only wish there were more.

 

THE TALKING GOURD

 

Drought

 

“Nature’s rasp never stops

rounding the edges”

- Wu Xing

 

 

Just a frayed thread of

Moon leading Venus down

into a La Sal dusk

 

smudged over Paradox

with smoky sage clouds

teasing monsoon

 

On my Cloud Acre

walkabout

carrying hauled water

 

plants & soil gulp

their once-a-day from

Wrenheim’s Naturita overflow

 

Is an unexamined

life what is meant by

being here now?

 

Or are there replays?

Second guesses?

Answers?

 

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