New Civilization News: One's Balance In Spring    
 One's Balance In Spring4 comments
picture5 Apr 2005 @ 01:38, by Richard Carlson

I have lived on the lip
Of insanity, wanting to know the reasons,
Knocking on the door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!

---Jalaluddin Rumi

After all, if I can't be myself, who can?

---Auntie Mame

Behind Ise Shrine,
unseen, hidden by the fence
Budhha enters Nirvana

---Basho

Ivy Clear, Donna Silva, and Robert Blankshine show perfect balance in Gloria Contreras' ballet "Moncayo I" for the Joffrey, 1966

Thirty-five years ago, in through April somewhere probably, a tradition of tonic and renewal began in my life, which I continued yesterday---though it appears to have changed drastically. Well I'm 65 now, I was 30 then. In 1970 or so, Ivy Clear and I took a drive into the Catskill Mountains, west of where we were living outside New York. It might have been around Margaretville...or maybe it was further up into the Adirondacks. We frequently were in a celebratory mood when we ventured out into Nature, and usually it didn't matter quite where we were.

At any rate we drove up and down some back road deep in a forest, and as the Spring day was mild and beautiful we parked the car and plunged into the wilderness. The woods seemed dark and ancient...huge trees and boulders planted by a massive glacier. Granite and the new green of another year engulfed us, when suddenly there was a ravine. Deep in the gorge, far below, was a crashing stream---and from one side to the other lay a fallen tree. It had to be an oak, big and sturdy, and the ravine was not all that far across...and we, not being of the soundest mind at the time, decided we should go across. It was far enough down that, had either of us fallen, we'd have been hurt bad---so the only solution of course was not to fall. I'm not sure I remember how Ivy got across, but I think she went first...and probably managed it as I did: sort of hugging and inching along.

The mania just described is not the tradition. What followed was relief and joy...and so of course the only thing for me to do was get to that stream, take off my clothes and jump in. Now, mountain streams in April that far north are a true jolt to the system. I tell you the force and temperature of that water was a reminder of just how alive I really am! After that every year I have tried to get into a stream each April around the time the first butterfly is to be seen. A couple years later it was white water rafting in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. That dip wasn't planned exactly. Another time I was waste-deep in an underground river while caving. I began to notice the activity was becoming a ritual, and one that was good and that I looked forward to.

And so it was that yesterday I took some kitchen compost down the back path to the garden, a bed of which Dana just had dug to plant peas in a couple days at the New Moon. I tossed the leftovers into another area, set down the container and walked the few feet over to our stream. We have 3 and sometimes 4, when the water really is running, that go through the property. This is the main stream we use for the garden, and which later feeds our well. It has been raining and sleeting and snowing a little for the last week, since we got back from Arizona. It's been cold and miserable...but yesterday things had brightened and though winds blew with March bluster, it was a nice day. The creek was really moving, and it's only a few feet across so I stepped over. Jeroch had helped us build a little bridge across, which I've had to reinforce a couple times. (It only washed away once.)

On the other side is a clearing we've made, where we can picnic in seclusion and I can hang my hammock. No thought of my tradition had entered my mind. At another point down the stream a little, I've thrown a log across. There are blackberries and elderberries in there. I looked at that log and wondered if it was still strong enough. I put my foot on it, just to test it a little, when suddenly the bark slimed off it and I lost footing. My right foot dug for the bank...which was mud, and down I went. A few rose briars went part way and then remained behind, scratching as only they can, when I felt the first swell of water into my trousers. These were new Sunday go-to-meetin' pants I'd worn only once I think. But I was more concerned that I felt my wallet and all my IDs in for the soaking. That was a new Western shirt I'd just bought at Spurs in Tucson, but now Spring water was slushing into the collar and down my spine. Surprisingly the water wasn't that cold...but the papers in my wallet prevented my lounging there, so out I got and up the hill bedraggled I walked.

I've always had some pride in my balance and the fact that I don't fall down much. I only broke one bone about 20 years ago...and that doesn't count. But I've noticed lately my reaction time has picked up a delay. A couple years ago, I was playing baseball and decided to steal 3rd base. I remember distinctly the beat between my brain's command and my body's response. That didn't used to be there. Hmmmm. And as I walked through the living room this evening after a refreshing shower, Dana noticed something else that didn't used to be there. "What are those 2 black and blue marks on your behind, dear?" Reminders, I guess, to change the tradition a little and respect the stream bed more. Well, the story is---er---out so I figured I might as well write it.


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4 comments

5 Apr 2005 @ 05:50 by vaxen : You're...
a really lovable nut, jazzolog...

I have somewhat of the same kind of tradition too. It involves hiking a few miles inland to where an old waterfall falls into a deep and bitter cold pool of lovely, stillish, water surrounded by granite rockface and forest with lots of underbrush.

The amazing thing about taking the plunge is when I get out and stand all wet in the winds of March/April (sometimes I do it in December) I always feel amazingly warm!

Why is that?

Glad you're back from the wild west into a more congenial, or is that congenital, realm and that you did NOT break anything save, perhaps, a wee bit o Northern pride. ;)  



6 Apr 2005 @ 19:55 by Grange Rutan @207.69.137.137 : I remember the beat
and the body's response...was close behind...zap...what a way to enter spring after all you have been through...a pair of pants worn once, a jazzy shirt bought while traveling through Joe Banana's country and pea planting in a couple of days, streams full to bursting and you worried about your papers, yet, and this is the dearness, that your lovely young wife thinks your butt is cool enough to notice....God has a plan and you are going to enjoy many more springs...it's spring again, birds on the wing again and once more............balance thrown to the wind and baseball...do you believe those crazy Mets? More strikeouts in an opening game and they lost!

$$$$$$$$$$

Lady Haig's book about her tumultuous marriage to jazz pianist Al Haig is due out momentarily.

---jazzy  



7 Apr 2005 @ 07:28 by ivy @207.69.137.205 : 's reply
********** LOVE the Rumi ....... and the one about enlightenment being on the
otherside of the Red Door.......... and after many trials & tribulations
one is allowed to go thru that Red Door......
and once thru it is slammed behind you, but upon glancing back you see that
the other side of the Door is also Red! This is why I paint my doors
red........ even closet doors....... so I don't forget :-)

********* Yes, we did that often, BUT>>>>>>>>>> The time you are mentioning happened in Vermont!!!I also always remembered that day - it did stick out - & remember the bugs swarming in the freshness of the Spring swollen creek?And the water took your breath away it was so cold!

********* What I hear here is the ageing that can happen in your HEAD! You
thought about your clothes & your wallet & later your HEAD said you slipped
& didn't have as good reflexes anymore 'cause of your age............ MY
DEAR FRIEND, YOU WERE NOT GOING TO PLAY IN THE STREAM, SO THE STREAM
JOYFULLY GRABBED YOU IN!!!!!!!!!!!! NATURE IS ALWAYS WAITING TO WAKE US UP
TO BEING HERE NOW & TRULY SEEING HER & HER "DARK AND ANCIENT" WOODS & HER
WATER TO BE BAPTISED IN ......... SHE WAS PLAYING WITH YOU - COME INTO ME I
WILL HEAL YOU, I WILL BRING YOU LIFE, I WILL BRING YOU WONDER & JOY , I WILL
REMIND YOU YOU ARE ALIVE TODAY!!! - BE ALIVE!!!
I HOPED YOU LAUGHED - & I HOPE YOU SAID "THANK YOU!"

FEED THE FIRE !

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Ivy's memory seems to be a lot sharper than mine these days, so I will yield to her on where the heck we were. Her particular view of the creek reaching up and dragging me in is just a peek into what a delight she is. The hyperlink in her name takes you to one of the small, local companies she has helped to found in various areas around the country. There she is referred to as "Ivy Forrest," one of a few last names she has had~~~but always she is Ivy!

---Richard  



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