Thursday, April 23, 2009

Phase 3

My impression, which I haven't tried to verify, is that the earliest days of this blog were primarily about individual animal ethics issues, and then moved on to more ecological issues and books. Now I suspect the focus is going to be more personal for the next couple months. None of this has been deliberate, and nothing I've written has been renounced--it probably has as much to do with who's commenting as what I'm writing. I think all three areas were intended from the first post, have always been included in the mix, and should be.

I went down to St. Paul yesterday to sell some more stuff. Made about a 300% profit over the cost of the bus ticket, and undoubtedly many times as much of a loss over what I originally spent. The temperature was in the 60s with a nice breeze and after getting rid of the books and dvds and cds and videos and cassettes, I spent most of the day wandering along the river or sitting in parks.

I admit to taking pleasure in the fact that my appearance frightens the average Minnesotan a little. Throw in carrying a few big bags and I get really scary. Someone walking? Carrying stuff? So I indulged the homeless frame of mind. In the river, a few large dead trees were trying to make their way to N'Awlins. A mallard hitched a ride on one; I wondered how far I'd get trying the same. Too damn many dams, my woody friends.

I sat in a park where some of the living trees had a variety of objects growing from their branches, jotting these notes, listening to sparrow song, watching people and squirrels and pigeons. The poor females just wanted to eat; males strutted around them, puffing out their chests, displaying their tails, cooing nonsense. The pigeons acted similarly. I felt at peace. Give me a bathroom and a safe place to pitch my tent and being homeless would be fine with me. I don't need the things I'm selling and my thoughts are freer when I'm outside.

St. Paul, St. Paul, got a hell of a neighborhood--sung to the tune of Paul Simon's Papa Hobo (!)--Detroit, Detroit, got a hell of a hockey team. I've been consolidating email accounts and forwarding and rereading some messages I saved. Back in 2006, many were about the possibility of moving to St. Paul and how much I loved this neighborhood. I came very close to getting a job with the county (not a lineman), and how different the past three years and present would have been.

Visiting now is not only a case of weight off the shoulders, and appreciating new life in the trees and the predominant attitudes of the people. St. Paul will always be the woman who almost became your lover, but the timing was never quite right. The eyes met, the interest shown, the flirtation---but the commitments, the responsibilities, the doubts. Yesterday, I settled for a bag of bagels.

Duluth, of course, is the relationship stayed in much too long. A few years of ecstasy, but by 2004 those emails were already about leaving. When the city allowed deer hunting in 2006, there was no hope of reconciliation.

Three things made me stay--my inertia, the natural beauty, and the stray cat I rather reluctantly took in in 2004. Couldn't let him die. He took a vacation recently, though not a relaxing one, spending a week and a half with a couple friends and their couple cats as a test. It certainly didn't go perfectly but wasn't the complete disaster I expected and they've agreed to take him when I leave. If it doesn't work out, I know they'll do their best to find another home for him. So no matter what else happens in my life, no dead cat guilt. Whew.

He has a habit of sleeping under blankets, and also hiding under them when frightened--no doubt learned from his need for safety as a kitten in the wild. When I got home late last night, I could tell from the condition of my bed that something drastic had gone on yesterday.

This morning, I see what. The alleyway is covered with sawdust, and the trees in the small natural area across the alley have been butchered. I believe they call it pruning, like the harvesting of deer, the development of land. They do love their euphemisms. By god, there's a branch within a yard of our wire, we can't have that. I'm glad I wasn't here to witness it--if there's one thing I've learned from 50+ years in this society, and I've been given this lesson many times, it's that impotent fury doesn't make for a good life. One more reason to move on, looking for a branch with new life.


Allan Stellar said...

I very much enjoy how you wrestle with the personal and the global. And how you express it. Thanks!

greentangle said...

Thanks, Allan.

For possible future readers of this post, I need to define "pruning" in this case. They cut down more than a dozen small to medium sized trees completely, and cut the tops off many more, 4-5 feet below the wires. Privacy's been greatly reduced for me and many neighbors and there's going to be many fewer berries for the wildlife this year. It still hurts to look out my windows. Bastards.

Andrea said...

Like Allan, I love how you write. It is poetic and moving and makes a strong point.

greentangle said...

Thank you, Andrea. The "A"s seem to like me. Anonymous leaves comments also . . . well, actually, they're not all so complimentary.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anonymous enjoys your writing, too.