Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Today’s SCORPIO: Even though you are mid-stream, you get to begin again. This time around, integrate the ideas of those with whom you are traveling. When everyone’s say is validated and incorporated, you will achieve success.

The secret to writing a good horoscope is to offer wisdom that’s valid any time and place, while always slipping in a little optimism and (maybe) some humor. But this one is timely. It could be taken as referring to Rose’s graveside services which I’ll lead tomorrow and which she had figured out ahead of time. Nevertheless there are always small decisions and we’ve taken them into account. I hope all will feel valid and included, although there are always some who depend on some way to take offense and exclude themselves. As the church newsletter says, “we have something for everyone, including those who like to find fault.”

The larger transition for me now is that Barrus has “died” and coincidentally I finished the first rough draft of “Orpheus Pressed Up Against the Windows of the Catacombs.” It’s not like any other book I know. For one thing it’s a collaboration between the two of us but I’m not an unacknowledged ghost writer -- the ghosts are from people Barrus or I have known and loved. My contribution as a co-writer is organizing his impassioned and poetic essays and stories between transitions that I write, taking a theological, philosophical and sometimes personal position. Since the book grew out of two years of email exchanges, it is roughly chronological but not always. We’re both interested in cosmological and brain theory, theories of identity (especially gender-related), art, and indigenous peoples. We also differ on some things. Of course, the whole situation pivots around AIDS among young boys who’ve had to hustle -- in the street sense -- in order to survive.

What we didn’t really expect was that the boys began to chime in. As soon as we went from email to sharing on a blog their voices began to have opinions, often pretty uncomfortable ones. These are at-risk boys who’ve been pushed out to extremes and who live daily by monitoring their HIV infections. Like any kind of miserable chemotherapy, it takes courage and medical support. By the end of this manuscript, the boys had stopped being so dependent on Barrus -- which is what he hoped for -- and were telling him off! For his own good! As though they were the parents. I expect many parents would recognize this, maybe with rueful laughter.

Cinematheque is on summer hiatus but persists in some new form somewhere. Their candle burned down to the neck of the champagne bottle and snuffed out. In the ultimate “show-don’t-tell” there’s a vid of that.

We’ve still got enough material for a second book, “Shape Shifter,” which is the autobiographical material that was supposed to be “Kickstart,” and maybe a third . . .a fourth . . . Who knows? It’s been a good experience so far -- why would I stop? Only if Barrus gets tired of it.

The grass is tall enough to cut now and I have a lot of plants waiting to go into the ground. I always think I’ll dig the beds up ahead of time and have them ready, but I never do. So it’s dig-and-plant, dig-and-plant. Nicotiana by the front door for the smell, lupine in a front bed (I'm hoping they'll naturalize), tomatoes in the bathtubs and -- thanks to Rose, pansies and violas for window boxes. The daffodils are vigorous and doubled in number this year. I don’t know whether it was Miracle-Gro or lots of rain that did it, but it’s lovely. I hope the daylilies that are intermixed turn out as vigorous. I’ve got to crawl under the house and connect the hose today.

In the house I’m ready to swap slipcovers and curtains from stripes to flowers and, if there’s money for paint, do a bit of that. I’ll tow the furniture around into a new configuration since I no longer have to huddle around the floor furnace and the house plants don’t have to live by the window because they’ve gone outside. I do this in somewhat the same spirit as Barrus, except that he just moves to a whole new place! Like old-time Blackfeet.

The land is changing as well with cattle moving up to the mountains, the alfalfa growing, the irrigation systems working, and boat-fishing taking over from ice-fishing. I’m always grateful for the boat-fishers sort of “owning” Lake Francis because they keep the speedboats and water-scooters away. It’s a quiet, dignified sort of lake. This year is Valier’s Hundredth Year and centennial plans have been afoot since last fall.

It will be a little lonesome without Rose and Wayne but the property is for sale and who knows what the next neighbor might be like? No control, so the thing to do is wait.

Wayne’s a little lost and Andee, the son, a bit the same. Rose was the one who always knew what to do. The advice I have is a piece of Zen (or maybe it’s Tao) wisdom that I use for myself as well. When the stream comes to the end of the stream bed, it stops, pools into a lake, and in time the lake finds a new stream bed to follow. That is, if you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.

Or rather, do the dishes, mow the lawn, plant the flowers, sort the magazine tear-outs, catch up the filing, edit, edit, edit. Wayne and and Andee gave back all the lovely plants people had sent Rose, since they won't fit into the RV. But they ate all the ice cream! They’re not THAT reckless!

And Wayne said that he did indeed carry Rose across the threshold when they got married!

No comments: