Friday, July 31, 2015


In this instance, a right hand.

In the middle of winter nights I often had to pull the blankets up on my hospital bed using my left (good) hand. It was an action familiar to me by now, some 4 months after I had clambered onto the comet. At that time, I was not yet using my right hand (I was originally right-handed) because it was still short-circuited and sensitive. So my right arm lived pretty much on its own during this time, and seemed to have forgotten the finer points of handship altogether. I was doing exercises, but the response was primitive, so I wasn't expecting too much too fast; for the time being, at least, I had resigned myself to left-handedness, which had a new interest all its own.

Then one winter night I was again aroused from deep sleep by a cold right arm and had to pull the blankets up. My left hand was maneuvering the covers with the usual drowsy impatience when all at once, from out of  the darkness came a ghostly right hand, emerging slowly from beneath the blanket! It scared the hell out of me. The hand then proceeded to try awkwardly to-- lend a hand. My right hand was wanting to be a hand again! It had ambition! And some form of manual pride! It wasn't going to be left behind, not if it had anything to say about it.

That was when I began to think I was going about this in the wrong way. My right hand was telling me something. I had been thinking that I knew more about being a hand than a hand did. I was treating a hand like a mindless tool, or at most a tool with my mind, currently short-circuited. But here was a hand trying to be a hand all on its own; I wasn't a party to this effort. What I call my hand was wanting to be a hand again: it missed its old job!

As I've said or intimated more than once in these scribblings, my mind knows more than I do. I should pay deeper attention to myself.

Friday, July 24, 2015


For decades, it has been your partner in the enterprise. Like you, it has its scars. After you've split a day's worth of fuel for next winter-- this winter's fuel is long ready-- you clean yourself up for the evening and though you wipe the axe clear, maybe sharpen it for tomorrow, it still bears the marks of plunges into the hard grains of oak, hickory, ironwood, as you do, but visibly. There is a price, after all; you can see it in the iron, feel it in the bone.


It looked so lonely, sitting there, my old friend, worn companion of so many labors, uncomplaining bearer of all those years of strenuous effort that we'd shared.

Nonetheless it had held up well, the old camphorwood splitting stump, from what I could see of it through the car window, just the top of it sticking up through the conquering weeds in the rain as we pulled into the drive. It was a lifetime away from me now... 

At that moment the inanimate stump seemed like an old friend, I knew it so well. It was where I'd sweated and sworn, busted my jeans, got hit by a wedge, dodged the axe, wore out years of muscle and bone, rolled the stump under the plum tree in Spring, to work in the shade...

I knew it would wait there forever, that gnarly old trunk, it would wait through sun and rain, through winters, and I'd never be coming back to swing that heavy axe, watch the fragrant woodpile grow-- imagine feeling heartache over a splitting stump.

You feel the true values at the pinpoints of life.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


The sublimity in simply sitting here, with only nature as company, that calls to the nature in myself, of eyes and sounds, scent and touch, that quickens in me all the roots from which I stem... all the implication of my direct lineage with sunlight and branching trees, my kinship with running streams and rising clouds, insect song and moving air-- the colors, the music, the graces of motion, so vast in their ways to my clockworn being as to hold me in their time at last as one among them, together in the sublimity of simply being...