Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter, guilt, and on being human.

Winter ice
melts into clean water---
clear is my heart.
---Death poem by Hyakka

 I love to read.  Love love love LOVE books.  Running a farm and being a parent of two is not really conducive to shoving a nose in a book and letting the world and myself fall away.  A run from my own mind into the mind of another.  As a child, my parents labeled me 'the escapist' when we were in family therapy for a while trying to work out the kinks of having six children and two very far from normal parents in one house.  The escapist seemed so wrong to me at the time, not nearly as cool an archetype as the one my brother Elijah got, the jester.  I think all I got from those sessions was a sense of guilt from not doing the dishes one night and my dad doing them for me, an episode that instigated long arguments and at least one whole session of therapy.  No wonder I have an aversion to therapy.  But back to books.
 I am able to find time at the very end of the day to dive into a novel.  I just finished reading Richard Flannagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North, an intense novel about a Japanese run POW camp in WWII set in the jungles of Burma and Thailand.  So disturbing. I often don't take into account how reading a novel like this affects me day to day....mentally trying to process the horrors of mankind or the psychology of relationships.  There is a particular passage from Dorrigo, the main character, that really hit home.  It reads, "He thought of how the world organizes its affairs so that civilization every day commits crimes for which any individual would be imprisoned for life.  And how people accept this either by ignoring it and calling it current affairs or politics or wars, or by making a space that has nothing to do with civilization and calling that space their private life.  And the more in private life they break with civilization, the more that private life becomes a secret life, the freer they feel.  But it is not so.  You are never free of the world.  To share life is to share guilt.  Nothing could wash away what he felt."  I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel so burdened by the guilt of mankind  it drives me mad.  Its usually muddled with accrued personal guilt which makes it all the more confusing.  I haven't learned how to cope with it all yet; sometimes I feel like a walking volcano, but that could be too much coffee and not enough sleep.  I guess flowers are my escape as well as books.  Beauty helps me cope.  And cloud watching.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015