Tuesday, October 17, 2017

First Frost

How it Used to Look Mid-October

First frost. Three a.m. this morning, I stepped out barefoot, walked across the lot free of neighbors who might ogle at my folly, and touched ice outdoors for the first time since early in the year. Car tops stitched with tiny frozen patterns. I sat on a curb facing northeast and the sky overhead invited me in as it hasn't in a long time. Simple and spontaneous as looking up and getting admitted free of charge. Inside on the couch, I had been reading Gray's Sporting Journal, a bulwark of sanity against a world that forgets where it is, and forgets that the most basic requirement for living here, besides water and breath, is capturing food and sheltering oneself in the pursuit.

Someone has to do it. Most of us think farmers.

But here's a twist. Gray's is devoted to the word as much as it is to the sport. The name of the magazine doesn't leave out the word journal. Anyone can believe farmers are enough for everyone's dietary need, but only fools believe language should be limited to reflect such systematization as agriculture. Word--for human beings--is as important as food. And funny thing, isn't it, that romancing farm life might lose something--no, not always, necessarily...think of Wendel Berry, perhaps--to sentimentality, compared to reflections of the wild.

Don't mistake romance as escape writing, if you follow what I mean. I think some of the best is gritty with arduously labored detail coming from strenuous first-hand experience. Realism and romance unite in writing difficult to read, requiring time and absorption. Difficult outdoor experience demands the same.

After posting last night, I went into edit function and added what, at first, I felt would be most important to the text, which, when first composing, I completely forgot: green foliage. I subsequently riffed on climate change, but here's more.

I've felt disgusted at right-wing denial of global warming, for years. I thought this a denial of science. Now I think the right, or the denial-laden of any ideological disease, are not religious enough. We used to hear so much huff and puff about The Bible. Now I consider that if the same sort as believe in "God's word" also believe (suddenly we don't hear much of the likes) Global Warming is a false idea, then they don't know how to read The Bible, perhaps.

What was God always doing to the Jews, when they went astray? Biting them in the ass, so to speak, and in response, at least in some of the stories, if I recall rightly, the Jews firmed up. Who wouldn't when getting chomped on at the rear?

Now supposedly, Jesus made redemption universal, so the wrathful antics of a jealous God are done and over with. This might imply sweet nectar from the front side of the human form, but it is a most naïve belief, unless it's understood that this redemption is an ongoing and historical process. Anyone who has worked a tough job in any economy of the past 2000 years knows damn well that The Kingdom of God did not supplant the human condition upon Jesus's crucifixion. The symbolic event of the life of Jesus Christ--and I do not deny its importance, on the contrary--is potential, not actuality. And on that point of Christ's importance, a simple consideration might do. Think of his life. If you don't know about it, you can Google information, if you want to. Anyone of that repressive society (at least more so than ours is repressive) of Christ's time, and who would have lived as Jesus lived for three years before he gut busted, anyone who would have done that would have been a monumental genius.

That said. What about God. Does "He" still compensate in the negative for our excesses. Read the Lessons of History. (The title adorns more than one book.) History never gets over itself. Always pride comes before a fall. Our scientific and technological achievement is the greatest pride mankind has ever known.

As I put it last night. Kudos to all who have done it and still do. Pride is the crowning virtue. Most Christians might not agree this is true, but my opinion differs. Pride and power. And power implies responsibility. So now that it is payback time, we must pick up the mess. Make something that works differently, just as the Scientific Revolution 400 years ago was a proposal to work and produce differently.

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