Mid-afternoon, and I’m sitting on the couch with a mug of Moroccan mint tea and a dark chocolate brownie, taking a well-deserved break from balancing the checkbook and paying bills. Amazes me still how few actual checks I write anymore, between ATMs and online bill pay. I struggled valiantly to determine why the credit union and I don’t agree on my balance, but since it was only off by $1.19, I finally let them have their way, which I never would’ve done in the past, except for those times I didn’t balance it at all and just hoped the checks wouldn’t bounce.
Patty Griffin’s songs have been running through my head since I heard she sang at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. (And I heard she and Robert Plant eloped last year! Lordy!) The pictures remind me of the be-ins in the sixties when thousands and thousands of people danced to live rock music in the sunshine, free at Golden Gate Park. Back then, we were wearing beads and sandals and the air was thick with pot smoke. I suspect the concerts at the Bluegrass Festival don’t look that different, though an older crowd and maybe tattoos have replaced the beads. It’s pretty wonderful there’s still great free music out there, though I guess you still need a ticket in your hot little hand, which would have been anathema at a be-in.
Not up to driving to water exercise today and feeling sluggish from lying around all day. Have been reading Derrick Jensen‘s latest book, Dreams. I don’t always agree with Jensen, but he gets me thinking. I opened the book at random just now and found this:
Those who stop believing in the dominant mythology, belief system, cosmology, or whatever, will have one or more of many possible responses. They may suffer cognitive dissonance. They may suffer despair. They may suffer depression. They may find their lives meaningless. I think often of that powerful articulation by Joseph Campbell: “For those in whom a local mythology still works, there is an experience both of accord with the social order, and of harmony with the universe. For those, however, in whom the authorized signs no longer work–or, if working, produce deviant effects–there follows inevitably a sense both of dissociation from the local social nexus and of quest, within and without, for life, which the brain will take to be for ‘meaning.'”
It’s so much easier to get through life if you just believe what you’re told, isn’t it? And if you don’t, do you just go along with the crowd or take the risk you’ll alienate everyone and stand alone? Not that those are the only choices, but sometimes it feels that way, especially when you’re young. But there’s a price to pay for dissembling. You lose bits and pieces of yourself and finally have no real idea who you are–a shell of a person who parrots the beliefs of others. I felt that way at one time, trying like a contorionist to turn myself into the person I was expected to be. Failed, naturally. And got depressed. And drank.
In the very earliest time
when both people and animals lived on the earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That’s the way it was.
Translated from the Inuit by Edward Field.