I think of campus Brutalism
December 2013 M T W T F S S « Oct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
thin moonlight parted
thick rain on the road instead
regardless, the same road
another thin moonlight bath
another run that won’t earn me fame
another run that won’t excuse me from
another run that won’t elevate me
any more than the few meters this path climbs
no crickets too-cold taste of fall
running on an avenue of
simultaneous self hate and self love
at 11:30PM I’m alone on a
no loved ones
knowing where I am
pulled deep into the carapace
pushing the intervals
tired from 4 out of 5
days running hard,
biking 10 miles to work,
and helping a friend move.
“no, I don’t need a ride home it’s not that late and I can bike…” awkward.
Silence except for
the quick controlled
foot falls that come
and my own hard
Twice last night. Running with music that drowned them in a sea of guitars. Then biking home. At 1 in the morning, along a thinly moonlit road, the crickets were chirping from deep in thickets where the cold night couldn’t quite punch through the summer-warmed soil and brush. But I couldn’t hear them for all of the self questioning and reprimanding and doubting I was doing. Letting a quiet night slip by with myself self-strung on the rack with a thick pleasure-proof mantle. Such a racket.
Just one idea:
Head south in April or May. (This is all about running)(This is all about exploring)(This is not about fastest known times)(This is about seeing a lot and challenging myself in the mountains of the west)
Again, head south in April. Run rim to rim to rim in the grand canyon. Go to Canyonlands and run the white rim trail/road. Head to southern Cali and run long trails in the deserts there. Joshua tree, anza borrego, the hills of San Diego. Surf a little, rest. Maybe find a temp job some place and earn some money while the mountains free themselves of their winter jacket. Live out of the van. As the snow melts, chase it up into the mountains. Run in the Sierra, Run in the Rockies. Run the courses of famous 100 milers in a few days. Volunteer at ultras to soak up good running vibes and get inspired by ultra fit people running 50 miles in 7 hours. By July or August enter a race and see how it goes.
I might break, sprain something, wobble. Fall apart. Hate the loneliness. But all that quiet might do some good. No technology. Maybe a simple cell phone. Cooking good food in the van. Sleeping 8 hours a night. Reading books. Leaving some worries behind. Kind of a reset. Might do the trick. Might drive me to madness. Might be a good idea.
I’ve moved to Corvallis, Oregon. Well, more like Philomath. And, saying that I’ve moved is actually a stretch. I’m here for 2, maybe 3 weeks to finish up a long-standing project. I’ve moved into the Galaxie Motel. A typical 1950s highway motel on the edge of town, just past the Dairy Queen on eastbound highway 20. My room consists of a bed, dresser, TV, two night stands, fridge, 2-burner stove, microwave, table, two chairs, and the bathroom which has bathroomy things. That’s it.
As I drove down I-5 I yearned for this place. I’d left a densely cluttered existence in Victoria to head down here. Cluttered physically because a new roommate is trying to wedge his things into an already packed apartment. Cluttered mentally because I’ve struggled to keep up with work and a series of deadlines that are all converging at once. Cluttered by bugs — literally. This was all topped off by a really bad flea infestation courtesy of my cat and whichever neighborhood creatures he picked the bugs up from. My apartment is also filled with baggage. The walls are lined with photos with memories attached to them, old pictures of my parents, artwork of my deceased mother, childhood iconography, tiny reminders of lost loves, larger reminders of the physical distance between me and my girlfriend. The basic grit and grime of an imperfect life like any other. Too many shoes, mismatched socks, a box full of old love letters.
Let me interject here that I hate the notion of Simplicity as it’s been adopted by many new agey types today and by the magazine of the same root name. This doesn’t mean doing more yoga, or learning to knit or make jam. It doesn’t mean adopting a half-dozen archaic skills and the accoutrement needed to practice them. It doesn’t mean more lavender, home-made soaps, nor shuffling things into better feng shui. Most importantly, there’s no way to buy your way into a simpler life unless you are paying someone to take away your junk or paying a therapist to help you deal with mental refuse. For example, owning a DIY carbonated water maker isn’t going to make my life more simple. It will become another thing to maintain and serve when I could be reading, or baking, sleeping, or doing nothing at all.
What I’m striving toward is a decrease in the clutter in my mental and physical spaces. At this moment I’m surrounded by a subset of my normal clothes, rudimentary cooking gear, one book, 3 magazines, my bike, two pairs of runners (okay, that’s excessive), a small selection of photos and treasured objects a journal, my camera, this laptop, a GPS watch and a cell phone. I don’t have to go to softball, soccer, or dodgeball or dance. I don’t have to walk across any rooms to do what I need to — there is only one room. I don’t have to worry that I’m not doing enough because my purpose here is to eat, work and sleep. I’ll see friends and family on the weekends or for dinners, but that’s all. For these 2 maybe 3 weeks, my life has been pared down to what I need to live. Shit, I still have an excess of stuff. Who really needs a GPS watch, camera, computer, and cell phone?
Still, in the past two days my itch and scratch have subsided. I’m soothed by the warm valley air as I bike to work in the morning and back home at night. I feel torn in a small fraction of the directions that I experienced only a few days ago and now each direction seems valid or at least comprehensible. After a couple more days, some of those demands will have eased leaving me in a better spot to steady my mind and quiet the incessant chatter.
My solution, when I get home, is to tear through my possessions with a callous eye toward practicality. Do I need those clothes that I’ve been lugging around and hardly wearing regardless of who bought them for me or where I got them? Can I just throw out the two extra pairs of bed sheets (by throw out I mean donate to charity)? What would happen if I took down 85% of the artwork on my walls? Gave away the books on my shelf that I haven’t opened in years and probably wont open again? Raided and tossed my junk drawer? I can almost feel it now. I can hear the rain falling outside on whatever day this will happen but probably in the first darkening of fall. I can feel the heat coming on, and suppression of all of this static.
This wont solve all of my problems, answer any deep questions, nor solve any riddles. But maybe over time. A few months of the corner of my eye catching one picture on the wall instead of three. Some time digging through my drawers and seeing only clothes that I like. Opening a fridge that doesn’t have 200 1/2 eaten and never-to-be-finished jars of condiment. I think it will do something good. And if it doesn’t I can always take up candle making or subscribe to Simple Living, or otherwise start re-jamming my life so I never have time to think.
on a run today here in Corvallis where I’m surrounded by engineers and computer scientists — people who have not chosen the aesthetic life — it occurred to me that it wont be long before the artists of the world are kept for the entertainment of the technophiles. A relationship like the ant who tends aphids, pulling sweet nectar from their bodies. A sad world where art is a consumer product to be hung on walls of people who don’t understand the work but do understand status. We can’t let this happen.