Wednesday, May 09, 2012


As the only foreigner on this portion of the mountains, maybe I shouldn't lean back at times during a hardworking day with my feet on the camphor stump and talk aloud to myself out about my firewood plans, respond to those ducks quacking by overhead or remark at volume as to how the shape and texture of that amazingly sunlit cloud up there reminds me of George Washington's hair in that unfinished portrait I used to stare at a lot where it hung on the wall at the front of the class in first grade at St. James Academy back in Albany NY, because local folks come by suddenly at odd times walking their dogs or themselves, and I have the international image of foreigners to uphold. Most of us should at least appear to be mentally stable.

Sometimes I also necessarily address whatever task I might be doing - for example, some bucked oak has a knot nearly half the way through, so the wood and I must dialogue colorfully and in depth, as happened not long ago, when a dog-walking newly retired couple from somewhere further along the mountains came strolling down the road with their dogs just as I was chewing out a large chunk of oak with some sharp-edged words I'd learned in the military, which often do the trick. Fortunately those folks probably don't speak English to that depth, though the general message was clear, as was my in-that-moment relationship with oak, one of the harder woods (generally, we're old softies together).

I've since noticed, though, that that couple don't anymore walk their dogs down the road past my woodsplitting stump, they use the roads further away across the mountainside. They could be oak sympathizers, but more likely prefer to avoid sharp-tongued yet opaque English conversations between man and wood.

Like I say, I should at least try to hold up my end of the foreigner image, and keep my natural conversations to a low volume, insofar as possible, though I can't cut them out altogether, often being involved in such laborious tasks; as well, natural surroundings can be eloquent, and one must respond.

So if you happen to be strolling by one afternoon and there's a guy talking barracks talk to a tree, just be aware that there's nothing mentally wrong here; likely as not he's responding to something the tree just said.


Victor said...

Ha! You're not the only one who acts that way, or feels the pressure of upholding the image. Hopefully you can still enjoy the random mumble here and there.

WOL said...

Monologues are accepted and have a literary precedent called "soliloquy." If you break out in a monologue, you are merely eccentric. It's when you start having dialogs with yourself, however, that you get into trouble, particularly the kind that leads to one of those coats with the sleeves that tie in the back. They are to be avoided.

Robert Brady said...

They'll never find me up here, I keep telling myself, but should I listen? It's the stalemate that makes me normal.