fam’ ill-ease, families, field notes (04/28/2017)

Grady’s birthday. With quite the gift to me, actually- phone call earlier. Was really nice. Finding myself now in an Art Space. Warsaw gallery (?) on campus. That prickly person-y perturbed silence of imperceptible voices; speech bouncing off of skull-cracking flatness. It’s a calming type of roar, ebbing and dissolving into/out of loudness like waves. It’s the senior art show & that is pretty cool – Juliette’s work has been a big part of her life lately & it’s so nice to see the completed work, her smiling about it, people admiring it. This space is certainly occupied in the verbal sense. Also adding to auditory anomaly and attention is the tapping-off to my right a little art exhibit (?) where you turn your shoes into tap-dancing shoes. There are instructions, straps w/individual metal plates on them. The smaller one the size of a quarter, the larger the size of a silver dollar or a bit larger – and a space for dancing. Dancing space is perhaps 15 by 20 feet (12 by 15?) with purple/pink sheer drapes above & on sides. One side is against wall. Opposite wall is a projector, throwing white shadow-fodder onto the wall. Just in writing this 2 parties of ppl have entered & left. NO way to keep up (as a written description) w their movements.

Taps like glass, stalagtites, dripping and ploppingploppingplopping but not shattering, one of her laces is undone–

Lots of grimaces here. Yknow, that smile that white people have when they see you. It’s posturing, not unlike how students briefly sit up straight when a principal or authority figure enters – the erector muscles in the eager & concerned backs, holding @ attention out of obligation, but not for one minute longer – act in tandem w the muscles of the face in these separate circumstances. The lips tighten, mouth burps upward into an almost-wannabe grin (those w/dimples will falsely proclaim them) – sometimes the eyebrows go up. Mine do, at least.

FIELD NOTES (04/27/2017)

I dreamt of crows.

One in particular. In the dream I was feeding them from my roof-spot. In the dream there was some type of passage/blockage that had to be cleared, not unlike a windowsill, in order for me to feed them. So I was opening that and leaving food & also leaving coins. The coins were nickels, I think…Im aware that shiny objects are intriguing to corvids so I mustve incorporated that into the dream. There was one crow lingering just before I woke up – it was looking at me from up close as I cooed “hello bb! Hello bb! Hello bb!” The dream-crow looked @ me & left moments later.

I woke up. 6:22 am. Opened windowsill, to toss out some seed – at that very moment a big fat one was just landing on the roof next to me to investigate. A BIG one. The seed scattered on the roof as it relocated across the street, black wings beating like wind-whipped drums….rippling…crow relocated across street. Watched me. Continued to pour seed out. I closed the window & the crow left a few moments later.

So you should view this fleeting world: a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream. Went to get some strawberries from the freezer. A hint of snowfall – like a thin film of sleet, opaque yet perceptible (at least against the background of the street)…though after just moments of writing here it has shifted…a bit thicker. Again I look up & it has certainly begun to snow in late April. Wow. So gorgeous – hope the crow I scared off gets some roof-seed before it’s hidden.

FIELD NOTES pt. 2 (04/26/2017)

Re: the little birds that come for the small seed: I googled birds of the midwest. Lincoln’s sparrow? Maybe. The picture of it on this front results page gives

 

crow again. Long eye contact. It slowly approached – getting a few good looks at me. I think each time that the eye contact will send them flying away instantly, but not so. Eye contact continues for a few moments as their black muscled missile bodies ziggle zaggle tic and tac towards the window. 10:45am is when it came. Back to Google. So maybe it’s a Lincoln’s sparrow.

field notes (04/26/2017)

Cold again. Cars pass outside kicking up rain-sounds, each tire spewing and screaming that wet white noise. It really is like a shriek…or some type of awful bodily process. Slept 11 hours. Haven’t done THAT in a while. 4 or 5 hours is the norm. Made eggs, set eggs down, grabbed a pound of ground beef (left it out yesterday to thaw) and threw it outside for the crows. Was initially unsure that any would be out and about. Earlier before I was totally awake my mind jumped to the beef – the question arose as to whether I should refreeze the beef or put it outside. In my sleepy state I figured that crows & ravens stay home on such grey days. But it seemed worth a shot. Sure enough – before I could even finish slicing the package open I heard one outside. & threw meat out & it yelled. Threw the rest of the meat out & it yelled again. Came downstairs, sat in chair. Decided I should pull the curtain to make myself less visible. A few moments later I realized I needed this pen & had to reach around the curtain to grab it off the windowsill. Just then – 2 large crows, or maybe ravens, headed south directly over the west end of the Selby house. They were flying quickly, as if having been in flight for some time already, leaving me unsure if they had been immediately on or near the house. So for the time being I;ll wait. Have about an hour before I should go to class which is enough time.

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10:12 am @ home – wasn’t feeling acting class today. The corvids are gathering. All of the meat is still there which is a surprise. But it might not be for long. Another across the street – southeast, flying eastward over (but close to) the roof of the buildings. Each car is another shriek, a sort of steel pulmonary expulsion.

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Birds aside, it is strikingly green. Grey/white sky yields to the immense and bright pine, verde, grassy, weedy, ivy, flowery, lively, springish, GREEEEN. What are other words for green? Only a few days ago the trees were seemingly barren, suggesting just a bit of buddery at their fingertips. But those distal bits of leaf of leaflet (whatever theyre called) after some time have erupted. In less than a week the trees have grown hairy with neon glo-stick lemon lime fringes. It’s as if that bit of spectrum between green & yellow were scribbled onto twigs. Moments ago as I was seeking another ‘green’ word a massive green garbage truck drove by. Its exterior (the upper half) was also an immensely bright shade of green, though obviously much more discernible and uniform in its coloration. Some bit of the truck was bright orange & that admittedly was offputting. Mostly it was a funny coincidence to see the greenness rolling by – i guess some of those wild wheeled wagons are worth the wily while.

Smaller birds on the roof now – it’s time to figure out exactly what they are. Finches? Sparrows? As two of the littler ones flit onward pas the window & THUD across the street. The shades are thin, sheer white whisps, & thru their ripples a man in a driveway. Also in driveway a truck, red rained on truck, red rained on truck with a bike on the back. Guy lowers back half of truck…unloads bike. My hand cant keep up – I look now and he is nowhere in sight. Neither is bike. Red rained on truck still is and the back of the thing is still down. These mini-moments have grown more compelling in the last year. Truthfully I feel sad or at least a bit silly for having never made an effort to meet any of my neighbors. This regular habit of street- and bird-watching has allowed some small view into the consistencies of their lives. The lady across the street who walks her dog in the morning – almost always walking east and then returning from that direction or perhaps from around the block (westward).

The red rained on truck guy just got back. Engine on. As it lurches out from its receptor site I see in my mind’s eye a vesicle, or vacuole, whose cargo has been successfully delivered to the new home for it, which is here, in this part of the cell. I see the purpose (at least the momentary purpose) of that truck & its driver, which is to deliver the red rained on bicycle, not unlike a vesicle or vacuole would deliver some protein or water or hormone or molecule, and I then see some protein or water or hormone or molecule being delivered, and then the purposeful repackaging of the vesicle or vacuole must take place, because its cargo has been successfully delivered to its new home, so the tail lights are going on and Im seeing this empty vesicle or vacuole take on a new momentary purpose, which is to be returned to the cell for other use. In the span of a few moments these images fly firmly and rapidly through my visual field, which is not to say I literally see them before me, but rather within me an imagination of them briefly occludes my ocular/mechanical sight. The image of a massive cell or organism has been powerful for some time now, and in the likeness between the truck and the little pictures in my neuroscience textbooks (which vaguely show zillions of little vesicles or vacuoles delivering their cargo, which is some protein or water or hormone or molecule, before being purposefully repackaged [once empty] such that it can take on a new momentary purpose, which is to return to the cell for other use). These types of analogies (if analogy is the right word) are occurring in my mind constantly. At the sensory level they can be distracting or begin to invade my–

 

Crow on the roof. A big baby. Well, it’s huge.

Eye contact.

It made me swell, chest still thumping. It landed on the west end of the roof, walked over, grabbed a big bit of meat. Held it in beak.

THOUGHTS FOR DAD (04/25/2017)

“Then a rich man said, Speak to us of Giving.

And he answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism. And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space. Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

 

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given. Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.” The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers – and you are all receivers – assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father.”

(Gibran)

field notes (4/23/2017)

First woke around 11:27am to what sounded like corvids. A LOT of corvids. My rotating fan was quite loud & my mind quickly reconnected the alleged crow cacophony with its original input signal-the sound of the fan. I lay facedown still half asleep, & was sad to only have imagined it. The thought of so many crows (the sound, rather) is what had jolted me out of sleep and out of bed, & I tried to forcibly allow myself to calm those adrenals atop my kidneys & return to unconsciousness. But then I was certain I was hearing them, & my heart exploded with urgency, & my skin prickled with excitement. I flew rapidly towards the foot of my bed to turn off the fan. And with the loudest and most opaque of signals now silent, rather than battering my eardrums with white noise, I could hear a quiet & clear symphony – at LEAST ten crows, yelling at each other.

It was a rather redeeming moment. Life right now feels quite tertiary in that none of the outward effort, energy, or regular and committed karmic seeds have had any form of positive or improved/bettered effect on my current standing. It seems there are valuable traits I exude sometimes…but it doesn’t often matter. Positive traits seem to matter for others but not for me- At least not right now. Frequently (almost daily) friends offer feedback that my attentiveness or time or support is of utmost and foundational importance to their well being. For a while that was nice to hear. But..planting personal values or watering my unnoticed and withered bits is hard work. And it feels like that work yields no sustenance in the form of recognition…In my own selfish and needy way it just feels like unpaid labor. There is always cognition: other humans do talk to me, & my family especially puts in forethought or attention in to their actions. Friends do sometimes think or engage with my thoughts or engagements without being prompted. But in my last relationship (especially) and in my current friendships whiny ol’ me feels like a farmer trying to run the show on his own & all without eating. No fruit for the farmer until the harvest? Or something. It’s sorta like I’m tilling the dirt and planting and watering but nothing is coming up in my own field – the neighbor’s field, sure. But no fruit in mine. And yes – the field is healthy, the table already has food on it (literally and figuratively). Life is okay. But in terms of income, interpersonal connection…it’s lonely to feel un-re-cognized. Super lonely. Especially while all of the people who are really important to me are quite literally spreading their wings to fly far away across the globe for their own well-earned adventures in self-discovery.
All’s to say even if the crows only come for the seed (BIRD seeds in the literal sense…ha) it is so immediately rewarding. It is so rewarding to coax these midnight missiles to my home, and to know that there is mutual benefit in their being here.

Having turned off the fan I could, in my sleepy & unclothed state, leap towards the window and peek outside without immediate concern of my phalanges being visible from the street. My attic window renders my lower bits nonviewable from the street, so in the interest of time I sent my hand on a life-or-death race to the venetian blinds of the west window. Aggressively sticking my hand between a pair of them, & opening a crevice to look outside, I didnt see much – but at that INSTANT the loud conversation just outside escalated to a collection of rhythmic screams. Their voices sometimes lined up in their pitter-pattering, forming the same illusory depth as the perceived connections in a large applause. Within half a second I could see through my hasty window-crack & saw they were not on the roof. The screaming of the birds startled me the half-second prior & I thus had no issue rapidly drawing the blinds in an attempt to get a glimpse of the source of my autonomic excitement.

And wow, did I see quite the something. Across the street no less than 12 or 15 crows (tried to count amidst my erotic panic) were desperately and forcefully exiting the tree, almost as if I had thrown a stone right towards them. They were banking up & around as to fly south away from the area, & I knew immediately at this moment – not 6 seconds after being asleep & horizontal – that I had scared them off. That seems to happen often. The elation and sorrow both were embodied. At no time recently, or ever, had such a clear response to my bird-feeding been sitting there. Apparent. Those birds are beautiful. But as far as me, I am a bit off-putting to them & I feel quite bad for rendering their moment an interrupted one. Next time, for their benefit (but also for the benefit of my behavioral/interspecies voyeurism) I will remember my mini-mantra:

FLIGHT > SIGHT

In essence this is a reminder that the real intent is to feed & sustain them; to contribute to their unhunger, to make this bit of life’s locality more sustaining and relaxing for them. To see or pester or talk to them is in itself (for the time being) outwardly aggressive & only serves my own enjoyment of the associated autonomic response. Yes, those corvids do stir me quite deeply, and I must remember that to stir them back is likely not at all enjoyable for them. As such they rapidly flew south towards Hague or perhaps Laurel. I lowered the blinds and blushed.