Monday, August 25, 2008

The God and Garden of Intellect

So there we were. In a place as magical as the Garden of Eden. Living in sweet and peaceful harmony. And yes, God walked with us and talked with us.

And on our own, we found wonder in each new day and each new minute. We consulted with fairies dancing in fairy rings. We viewed with pleasured sweetness the videos of our afterlife in golden cities painted on dark blue skies at sunset. We were calm, happy, and so completely at peace. Restlessness and anxiety, foreign to us.

We questioned life in a pleasant way, drawing solace and eternal security from the rebirth of all of nature. And, in particular, the death and internment of ‘dead’ worms in silk winding sheets tucked away in coffin-chrysalises. In sarcophaguses made of bleached gray limestone-colored ash and moth-eaten burial linens. And when we poked them with a stick they were dead, dead, dead.

Buried and forgotten under the old granary roof. But, as children, we watched them closely and came a day, when they were divinely and magically resurrected. Rising from that brutal and lonely place into sunny skies on delicate wings of unsurpassed beauty.

And there in our youth, and in our Eden, we felt the warmth of heart-felt appreciation when a plump deer of the forest came by when for so long, so very long, our stomachs were aching and hungry and gnawing at night. We were hungry, and so our father shot that deer and skinned it out.

And with that, hope and happiness were instantaneously renewed. A divine blessing and generous gift it was, when at long last, once again our dinner table was loaded with heaping plates of tender meat and golden gravy.

In Eden, we went to bed without fear. Confidently cradled by the same loving divinity that brought us food. And in our daily lives, we ignored those sorrows imposed by thoughtless or contemptible people knowing that a justice reigned that they could not escape. A justice that would humble them to full and complete penitence. Whether they ever showed a countenance of remorse or not. Connections to prestige, money, and wealth would in no way lighten the divine discipline meted out for their thoughtlessness.

And we reveled always in the miracle of what was seemingly so impossible. New babies with cooing smiles, and new puppies and kittens with stubby little wags that expressed such joy in life.

We smelled them. The babies’ hair – how sweet and lovely it was! And new puppies, kittens, lambs, and baby goats held their own fragrant scent. We breathed in deeply. And found that a lung-full made our own breath come easier and made us laugh with joy (rather than simply good humor or passing fancy).

We reveled in the uniqueness of our minds, our hopes and passions. All of life was wonderful new discoveries that fit into the pattern of a Garden of Eden. The joy of life, love, rebirth, breezes, rain, and sunshine all blended into a divine magic, within the sweet and secure cradling of nature.

And then, oh woe is me. Along came the Intellect.

A devil, as it were, that forced us to discard fancy, and miracles, and God, and the meaning of nature that fit so comfortably with our own understanding. The Intellect took away our most stunning miracles and put them in labs and test tubes. The Intellect taught us to ignore visions of golden cities at sunset. The Intellect seduced us and the dialect of life with nature was hushed. And like the serpent in the original Garden of Eden he offered us great and wonderful things. And so we believed and became a chaotic mass of competitive followers striving to be the greater, and the greatest of the Intellects.

Now we shiver and quail by day and night, with nothing more to comfort or clothe us than the Intellect’s cold, chilling facts. All the wondrous magic that once surrounded us like a warm, downy blanket, destroyed through explanation.

And with the new found knowledge of the Intellect, and the newfound aspirations of the Intellect, we now have schemes and methods to kill creatures in mass rather than just for dinner. We have ways to alter nature to our own economic advantage and at the same time we continue to unwittingly destroy the balance and the rhythm. We make babies in petri dishes, without fragrant hair, and new forms of life, without real souls.

We have used more of our intellect for evil than good. We have used it to kill God, kill oceans, kill forests, kill morality, and kill conscience. And with God and conscience dead, we continue to use our ever-evolving intellect to split atoms in order to kill even more.

And so the Divine Comptroller of earth and nature, shadow and light; that divine one that walked with us in the cool of the day when I was a child, was compelled to cast us out. We were forced to pack up our facts and leave the Garden of Eden to tread the refuse, toxic, and gunk-strewn paths of our new god – the God of Intellect.

All I can say now is that, ‘As an intellect, I’m not loving it!’

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obscenities of Truth & Clarity

I was raised in a home without vulgarity. The most extreme language verging on obscenity was ‘Holy Cow’ or ‘Drat It Anyway!’ Similar to the old book I am now reading that repeatedly says, “Go obscenity thyself”.

But our neighbors, when I was a kid. That was a different story. Theirs was a democratic household where they spoke obscenities openly and eloquently without guilty hesitation or a catch in the throat. Oaths and obscenities rang through the house from morning to night like a never-ending catchy little tune.

And yes, the expressions they used were shocking. Their words made my heart pound in my chest. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but admire their freedom of expression that surpassed all rules and regulations. It was to be admired. The daring bravery of it all.

When one of the kids wandered into the kitchen in a pair of baggy jeans, the other sneered. “You’re not going to wear those, are you? Go look at your backside in the mirror, you look like you sh_ _ yourself.”

The obscenity of the remark was shocking as always, but even more shocking, was the fact that the expression was one of absolute unadulterated truth. From the back, without a doubt, that is exactly what those baggy jeans looked like. Like they were masking a very firm finely formed fecal log (or two).

And that only added to my amazement of their vocabulary. That such sinful expressions could carry a level of absolute accuracy and, at the same time, concerned goodness. In this instance, good advice and concern that would prevent a sibling from walking around town looking like they messed themselves.

Goodness in obscenity. Quite remarkable. But I silently observed and listened and found an endearing feeling in this exchange. Concern of one sibling for how the other might look.

Now many of the expressions so prevalent in everyday conversation in that household were never defined for me. And of course I refused to ask. I would appear far too ignorant, far too non-worldly, and if I were to question the meanings, such an exchange might force me to have to say the word. And furthermore, I pretty much believed that if I did ask, the neighbor’s kids (parents included) would roll on the floor and laugh until they literally fecalled themselves.

And so, I knew I must circumvent their style of speak by giving it a wide berth. By skirting it entirely. And truly, since these were words I was not allowed to use, what matter the meaning? What use to me? When applied?

In our house – never. Not unless I was hell-bent on nursing hurt feelings and a blistered backside.

And so, because of all this, I cast my own connotations and definitions on the expressions I heard.

But one of the more frequently used words, I found rather confusing. I wasn’t sure if a donkey was a reference to testes, the penis, the vagina, or the anus. Was it all or one? What was it anyway?

And so here I am, some fifty years later, and still not certain. And still, resolved in mind to never ask.

But now I don’t need to. The meaning has suddenly become crystal clear. In the past, without certainty of what a donkey was, I likewise never knew if a donkey hole was a penis, an anus, a vagina or a combination of all three. But now I know.

I’ve seen enough cops on TV using guns and tasers irresponsibly to know what a donkey hole is and it is not any of those things that for more than fifty years, I thought it was.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All is Well

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

But I have my excuses. Summer is supposed to be a time of fun. As much fun as can possibly be squeezed into such a short season. I don’t have to make the fun, but I am expected to support the fun and sometimes it is a full-time job.

Summer visitors, picnics, meals, support for Hub’s fishing expeditions and barbecue efforts, and don’t we have a new (used) camper out back that Hub wants to get on the road. An engineering miracle with four sides that folds up like a Rubik’s cube into the size of a tent trailer. Pics later.

And then there are beans and peas and zucchini till hell wouldn’t have them, screaming to be picked. Cukes as well.

It leaves little time for writing – so that is where I’ve been. Playing in the sand and kneeling in the dirt. Don’t tell anyone but sometimes I curse summer and scream for winter. Just so I can write more and read more.

But all is well --- and hear ye, hear ye. Hub’s rhubarb wine is better than ever this year.