Walking distance – a consultation with the spirits

Back in my 20’s I read a book or a manifesto or something about how you should walk every inch of the city within a five km radius of your house.  Yesterday I learned to recognize that as wise, yet again, having forgotten it.

Slept over at Mike’s after a wonderful supper of the salmon of wisdom, the preserves of friendship and the taters of sustenance.  A deep, roborative sleep.  Then astonishment, as the whole city was fogged in and we were above it all in the Eyrie, watching it burn off. Then a brekkie of coffee, hash browns, bacon and eggs. We went a-walking in Byrne Creek Ravine park.

The day signs were most impressive; the Trickster appeared, facing the sun. Then three black dogs.  The first two were on leashes; the third was free walking with her owner. Then a Korean family, joking in English and Korean. Then a troupe of dancers rehearsing Chinese opera on the tennis courts.

THEN a dry big-leaf maple leaf, in the shape of a death’s head, lodged against the ivy twining up a snag.

Then the old man.  He came down, down down the steep incline to the water, and as soon as he saw us he BACKED UP THE TRAIL, never taking his eyes off us.  When I saw him later I tried to acknowledge him, but he would not meet my eyes, although twice I caught him staring at me. Most unnerving.

Each leaf swayed and sang; there was a deeper stillness in the plashing of the water; I could feel my brain trying to calculate things, all the tiny incremental movements, as if they could be calculated.  My vision cleared.  It was a wonderful feeling.

As we paused, walking back, looking down at the ravine from the railing on the other side from Edmonds station, a young First Nations family walked by.  The mother was saying to the toddler while the father pushed an infant in a stroller, “You can’t go climb down to the stream! You’ll scratch your bum on the blackberries!”

Safe back at the Eyrie I asked the spirits if they could help me find my family crest. I’m not knowing what to do about the answer.

At first it was all random stuff, a doodle in white letters against my closed eyes; it looked like Kufic script, and then script in no human language.  I was sad, because I could not interpret the dancing, ever shifting letters.

They gave me the bones of a salmon, the curl of a fern, the head of a vulture, a toad, and strange, gap-toothed cogs, fitting into all these things.  Ground and figure were constantly shifting, but it all felt fitting, and as I’m receiving these teachings, I’m thinking, yes, this is right, this is as it should be.  The salmon and the fern are how the land and the sea connect, the head of the vulture is the acknowledgement of the cycle of birth and death, the toad is welcoming the stranger and the orphan, the cog is the knowledge that all things fit, the gaps the incompleteness that comes with being human.  Then the last part.

It was the outline of a subdivision.  I think I know what it means – that I’m a colonial born and bred and living on the land on sufferance, but damn it is NOT what I wanted to hear, and so it is probably the most valuable part of the teaching.

All these things were interwoven.  As I looked at one thing, it turned into something else.  Everything kept shifting; animal faces into letters, into stylized hands and fingers, curving railroad tracks with swaying ties. All rendered in brilliant white, as if the world’s most skilled tagger was drawing it on my sensorium at the speed of light.

At this point, on behalf of Cousin Gerald, I would like to interject, “Wot, no MOOSE?”

I remonstrated with the spirits, who laughed very heartily at my tears (I was weeping pretty much continuously at this point).  A great woman’s voice said, “It’s nothing for you to parade around! You have no family crest! You couldn’t draw it even if you could understand it!” Then, after a pause, as if reconsidering, the same voice said, more quietly, “It will be there when you close your eyes,” and I’m back to myself and Mike’s handing me Kleenex.

It never ceases to amaze me, what’s in my head.  None of this was real, but I assure you, it happened.

Today I’m going to go keep a promise, but this time I get to drive.  Paul and I are going to Nanoose Bay for a restorative justice conference, or at least the part of it he is presenting at.  I had meant to bail, but all things considered I have a few things to tidy up before I get back to writing.  The characters are once again speaking, though. Theo came and sat with me while I was in the forest.

“I was not a philosophical person, and now I am.  At first I was angry, because I did not need to think about what it all means.  I was happy to move around in the space my people occupy, which is life and death and reproduction, and possibly looking at beautiful things. Then I was angry, because all my previous understanding was not wrong, just too small. I had thought myself as big as I needed to be.  But since I got philosophy I can only think of myself in relation to others, and that makes me angriest of all, for I don’t like most Sixers and hate most humans, and now I am stuck with them all, and I really don’t have the temperament for a philosopher.”

Poor Theo.  There’s nothing worse for a hard-core narcissist than waking up one morning and finding out you’re too small.

Meltingly grateful to Mike for his most restorative and sacred hospitality.

I’d also like to thank mOm for her bracing phone calls of late.

Tom U. is back working with Mike again, isn’t that wonderful? One half of the lunch bunch is back together.

On reading Virtualis

On reading Virtualis.

The world is an urn and a flowerpot

whirled through a thousand fractures

presented as fresh each day

a new grief / a best guess

remonstrating with that first flame.

The catchment area of consciousness

manifesting without irony

ever pointing at pressure, heat & dispersal

no mouth, no eyes, and yet there is a record.

 

Sad to walk

under a pitted and still perfect moon

to speculate of other lives suspended

in that backdrop, radiant with stars.

For they are there, attending whirligig systems

and that distance can be spanned

with all these fragile linkages

the coded tithes of empathy

as my thoughts consent to be used this way.

 

I will imagine you, poet

perceiving me across this gulf

and lose all place and time

before a sky transformed into an altar.

 

The war on vegans continues

Holy flaming balls of purulence.  I inherited John Caspell’s entire library of anarchist works – if I lived in the US I’d be subject to a Grand Jury indictment just because I lived close to some government building that was vandalized.  Here’s the link.  Or should I not be worried because I am not young?

Welshidoc and the three quarks From Jaxamicus, a commenter on io9


Welshidocs and the Three Quarks:

There was once a family of quarks who lived in a cozy cottage in the farthest reaches of space. There was a great big Papa Quark, a medium size Momma Quark, and a little tiny baby quark.

One morning Mama Quark cooked them some unaccounted-for mass for breakfast. As the mystery-breakfast was both hotter and moving faster than predicted, the three quarks decided to take a walk in the darkness while it cooled.

They had not been gone long when a physicist from Cardiff named Welshidocs came along. He had been picking Bosons and had wandered into the depths of infinity. When he saw the three quarks’ cottage, he smiled and clapped his hands. “How elegant!” he cried. “I wonder who lives there?” He stood on his toes and peaked into the Computer Model. There didn’t seem to be anyone home, so Welshidocs opened the door and went right inside!

The first thing he saw was the table set with three bowls of unaccounted-for mass; a great big bowl for Papa Quark, a medium size bowl for Momma Quark, and a tiny little bowl for baby quark. “Oh, that Nobel Prize in Physics smells so good!” Welshidocs said. Then, as he was feeling a little hungry, he picked up a spoon and tasted the mystery-breakfast in the Great Big Bowl.

“OUCH!” he cried, dropping the spoon. “That mass is MUCH too arbitrarily assumed to be spherically symmetric!”

He tasted the doctrine in the medium size bowl. But that chaos was MUCH too cold.

Then he tasted the ideas in the tiny little bowl. “Mmmmmm,” he said. “This set of assumptions is JUST right!” so he ate it all up!

Having eaten his fill, Welshidocs moved into the living room and climbed into the Great Big Superstring Theory that belonged to Papa Quark. “Oh, no!” he said. “That theory is MUCH too hard.”

Then he clambered into Mamma Quark’s Classical Mechanics Theory “Oh, no,” he said. “That theory is MUCH too soft!”

Next, he dropped himself down in Baby Quark’s Dark Energy Theory. “Ahhhh,” he said with a smile. “This theory is JUST right!”

Just then there was a loud CRAAACK! and Baby Quark’s theory broke right through!

Welshidocs stood up and dusted himself off. Then he climbed upstairs to the bedroom. There he saw three Gravitational Waves all in a row. “Oh,” he said, yawning, “I am feeling sleepy.”

So he pulled down the covers and climbed into Papa Quark’s Great Big Gravitational Wave. But he quickly jumped down. “That wave is MUCH too hard!” he said.

Then he tried Mamma Quarks’s Reasonably Observably Sized Gravitational Wave. But it was far too soft.

So he climbed into Baby Quark’s Curiously Perfect Gravitational Wave. It was JUST right. Soon Welshidocs was lulled fast asleep!

A little while later the Three Quarks returned from their walk. They were feeling very hungry and were looking forward to eating the nice bowls of tasty unaccounted-for mass.

Suddenly Papa cried out in his Great Big voice, “Someone has been eating my spherically symmetric mass!”

Then Mamma cried out in her medium size voice, “Someone has been eating MY chaos theory!”

And Baby Quark cried out in his Tiny Little Voice, “Some has been eating my wild hokum. And they’ve eaten it ALL UP!”

Then the Three Quarks saw their theories near the fireplace.

“Someone has been sitting in my hypothesis!” Papa Quark said in his Great Big Voice.

“Someone has been sitting in MY hypothesis!” Mamma Quark said in her medium size voice.

“Someone has been sitting in MY hypothesis,” Baby Quark cried in his tiny little voice. “And now it’s BROKEN!”

Then the Three Quarks went upstairs to the bedroom.

“Someone has been sleeping in my Wave, which I can observe although the wave itself is inconceivably large!” Papa Quark shouted in his Great Big Voice.

“And someone has been sleeping in MY Wave of reasonably observable size that I have no evidence of existing!” Mamma Quark exclaimed in her Medium Size Voice.

“Someone has been sleeping in MY Fermi Paradoxical wave,” Baby Quark squeaked in his Tiny Little Voice. “AND HERE HE IS!”

Just then Welshidocs woke up! When he saw the three quarks standing around him, he leaped off the Wave and ran down the stairs and out the door.

He didn’t stop until he was wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

And the Three Quarks never saw Welshidocs again!

Roundup

Gotta love the Germans: circumcision declared child abuse/harm to child.

There’s a fine line between narcissism and self esteem.  What facebook is good for.

Don’t even get my brother started on dark matter/energy.

Now that mOm is watching SG1…..

Yes, wish I had some.

Fire up some way cool google search techniques.

Up at 2:45 this morning

This early rising business MUST stop.  So I guess it’s time for a roundup.

Adult onset diabetes foreshadowing in rising level of 5 proteins.  Link here.

Lots of lawsuits won’t necessarily help your case.  Righthaven screwed up, but fair use rights have been protected.

A very commonly used contemporary chart about radiation exposure, which I only link to on the off chance one of my readers hasn’t seen it yet.  Here.

The “serpent storm” on Saturn.  via Nasa/Cassini.

The assault of the Repulsigans on women’s rights continues.  Honestly, though, the “Harper Government” would do the same thing if they thought they could get away with it; fortunately the Bloc Québecois would have a collective seizure if they tried to pass something like this.

The assault of the Repulsigans against anybody who dislikes factory farming continues.  In what universe is it illegal to take a picture of a farm? (link removed for security reasons).

From chipper, an ad for what she termed a ‘proofreader’s delight’.

Also from chipper, some lovely ‘supermoon’ pix from England.

I have no idea how church went yesterday, I was in the kitchen helping Peggy with coffee. Gave Carol a ride home and picked up some frozen fruit so I can make fruit toppings for pancakes a bit at a time.