Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I don't believe in causality. I don't believe that thinking good will bring more good, any more than I think that thinking bad will bring more bad.  For me, the law of attraction, or believing in the law of attraction, is pure hubris; I don't have that much power. If you put that law the other way 'round, somehow I deserved this, or earned this, because I thought the wrong thoughts. That puts a whole lot of responsibility and power on my little ol' mind, and I just can't take that on. Currently, I believe that things are going to happen as they are going to happen, no matter which way I align my thoughts. What I can do with my thoughts is care for myself or beat the crap out of myself. I think that forcing myself, making myself, notice small beauty is not to bring more beauty my way, but to notice it right then because I desperately need it right then. Because it is, right then. But beauty doesn't make this okay. It doesn't subtract from this, make this less than what grand rot it is. The two are not related that way. I keep trying to do that, force current beauty to make this okay, and it can't. Beauty can come along to help you bear that moment you're in, but it's not there to take that moment away.

I think funky math is also what so many people do when they try to cheer us up: "look - he might be gone, but the sky is pretty," "look - other people love you," "look - your life can be even better than before," "look - here is some delicious sweet thing, aren't you glad you are still alive to taste this?!" "look - you get to learn things most of us don't understand." Look - look at all these little things you have in exchange for what you had. The equation does not balance out, no matter how bad my math skills may be. Nothing will ever make up for this, nothing will ever make the scales balance right again. The best life in the world will not be a fair exchange. You can't compare things that way and come out anything other than angry. Well, I can't.

I keep thinking about what michele wrote a couple of weeks ago on Widow's Voice -

I don't think of the differing ways I have filled in this loaded sentence to be a balance sheet. There is no way to measure out in even amounts what I lost and what I have gained. I didn't have a choice about my life circumstance. All I can do is make the most of what lies ahead, in honor of the potential that exists with each day that I draw breath. ... Not in exchange, but in addition.

That last line has helped me so much. Nothing that happens in this life, however long it is, will ever be greater than (>) my life before; my life before will not be less than (<). Nothing will ever make things equal (=). Nothing will subtract (-) from how awesome our life was. I don't know that there is or is not an absolute zero, because my math skills don't extend that far. But there is nothing to make this a fair exchange.

Everything that happens now simply sits beside me. Everything from that day on is and. Everything is in addition.


  1. But there is nothing to make this a fair exchange.

    I don't know why *other people* (those who haven't been through this yet) seem to have to rationalize our losses and make it seem like the equation really isn't all that bad. I suppose it's just another of those things that people do to try to make us feel better, or as I more strongly suspect, to make associating with *us* less uncomfortable for them. It's like when you visit someone and they try to do the happy couple thing in front of you, as if they think that somehow some of that "happy stuff" will rub off on us. In truth, it just seems to be irritating (like a burr under a horse's saddle), or even quite distressing depending on how you are feeling at that moment.

    I don't think there is anything that makes losing someone close to you "okay". Two wrongs don't make a right. Two rights don't even make a right. And you are right about beauty not being compensation for loss. I see it more as a form of distraction, or perhaps a place for the intellectual part of your mind to go to when it is tired of sadness. I see many beautiful things during my travels - but then, I always did see many beautiful things. Don and I saw them together, and oftentimes, he found beautiful things to show me and for me to photograph. Now, I have to find them alone, and have no one to share them with. Nothing that anyone can say to me will make that seem fair to me. In truth, it's been hard to muster much interest or enthusiasm for anything for a pretty long time, although that is definitely changing in recent months. Still, it is so far to go before I would ever hit "equal" that I doubt that it will every be achieved - and I've lost the desire to even notice. So, yes, you're right. What happens now is "in addition" - it does not replace what has been lost.

  2. yes, exactly. I saw so much beauty before, and matt + I would often call each other if the sky was particularly cool at that moment ("can you see the sky from where you are right now?"), or just to share whatever beautiful thing we were currently witnessing. On occasions when I am with someone else and point out beautiful, the response is just ~ wrong.

    And, watching other people interact Is so often distressing. I am just so exhausted, and it seems when I "try" - when I attend things, or go to a movie, anything - I just feel worse. Feels like an incredibly long life sentence.

    are you in arizona?

  3. Yes, I arrived here the day before the U.S. thanksgiving. I am feeling good about being here. This is an easy town to live in. I know you probably have commitments up in your area (your dog, etc...), but if you ever feel the need to escape to the desert for a break, please feel welcome to come on down. I don't know if you fly, but I am always quite willing to pick up and drop off friends who fly in to the airport in Tucson.

  4. thanks bev. I am just beginning to wonder about being here in maine. There is a farm manager job opening in northern california, with private on-site housing, that has me wondering. And warmth. Warmth is good. I may need a trip on out of here, at least. Maybe a short south west tour.
    In field notes news, I saw the tail end of a peregrine falcon this morning as it flew into a stand of cedars. I haven't been able to clearly identify my resident hawk. Usually, we have a winter coopers hawk, but this one has the wrong color eyes for a coop. Probably a northern harrier, but I haven't been at the right angle to check for the white rump patch.

  5. I see a lot of Northern Harriers and also Red-tailed Hawks around here - especially on the basin below the mountains where I stay, particularly around Whitewater Draw where a few thousand Sandhill Cranes overwinter. I will take you there to see them if you feel like coming for a visit. You are quite welcome here. The house is secluded and quiet - just me and the two dogs - and yet we are on the edge of a wonderful town for "walking around". Visitors tell me that this house and garden seem a bit like a monastery, so it is a good place to rest. I'm not exactly the most terrific host as I'm such a hermit, but I do okay and definitely make an effort. The warmth and sunlight are very healing - not just physically, but to the soul.
    A job in northern California might be just the thing for you. Have you traveled there and do you know the area? I have been all over the place from Oregon down to about Ukiah. If you have any questions about the area, drop me a line. It's probably odd to others that I don't want to spend another winter in the north - having spent over 50 winters there during my lifetime - but it is just a lot pleasanter to be down here in the southwest where the quality of the light is so good in winter, and I don't have to fight with snow and cold. To hell with all of that. I want to be in a place where I can enjoy life to the best of my abilities considering all that I've endured. Perhaps you will find this to be the same for you. Anyhow, as mentioned, you're welcome to visit here - maybe work it in with a more sweeping journey if you have other places in mind. I am cool with just about anything. I am here until April 1st, barring any catastrophes.

  6. Well said.
    The equation doesn't balance.
    I can't solve for x.