Tuesday, February 20, 2007

MID-FEBRUARY AT THE LOOKOUT

It's been a strange week. Off work to fit my annual leave in before April 1st, a house move to prepare for, and absolutely no money to spend on anything else, including transport out of the village. So I've been stuck staring at four walls that aren't going to be mine in a couple of weeks, taking walks down to sainsbury's--the supermarket at the end of the village--cleaning the house bit by bit in a vain attempt to recover my deposit when I leave, and trying to stay mentally alert enough to read instead of falling asleep with the tv on. (Yes, I could be taking walks in the back country around here, finding inspiration in nature as I do in the summer months, but it's COLD right now people, and for the last three days it's been raining as well. Do you think Edward Abbey would have been such a keen wilderness lover if it was 6 degrees c. at the the height of the day in the Arizona desert?)

I've always been intrigued by the experience of Kerouac, Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen as fire lookouts in the Cascade mountains in the 1950s--alone for 60 days with only a radio for communication with the outside world; always thought I'd like to try it to see what came up poetically and spiritually. But you know what? It would kill me, like it killed Jack (Whalen and Snyder appeared to gain something from it--Gary's famous poem written on Sourdough Mountain expresses incredible contentment: drinking cold snow water from a tin cup/ looking down for miles through high still air.)

I need to have other people around me, so that I can feel discomfited by their intrusion into my space. Alone all the demons crowd in on me. And I got demons that could make your worst ones look like mewing pussycats, baby.

It's like the folksinger says, Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

5 comments:

tom said...

same reaction i have had to that
as much as i am tempted
as much as i enjoy the writing
i know i could not handle the solitude

Glenn said...

I think I'd handle it just fine. On the other hand, the idleness might just drive me to depression.

Bruce Hodder said...

Did you read Kerouac's "Desolation Blues"? Fine poem cycle. He concludes that he belongs in cities "upside down in the world" or something. Well, I'm not a big fan of concrete, but I'm better when I've got someone to share the solitude with.
Depression is like the wolf that prowls at the perimeter of my world, searching for a hole in the wire to slip through and eat my babies.

guardafil said...

hi bruce, intersting blog.. See u aroud ;-)
luca

Bruce Hodder said...

Thank you. One tries!