Saturday, February 26, 2005
Thursday, February 24, 2005
He's lucky he's not being eaten.
This has got to be the most annoying goat in the world. I wish I knew a petting zoo I could unload him on. Isn't he adorable? Don't you want to take him home with you?
Seriously, I've had to take quite a few deep breaths on more than one occasion and just walk away from the goat. Lest Goat Protective Services come a-knocking on my door.
Lucky is enjoyable up to a point. But the truth is...not even the other goats want to have anything to do with him. He's like the cute, overly friendly kid with a drooling problem in first grade that everyone picks on. You feel bad about picking on him, but feel as though he sort of sets himself up for it.
The fact that I was that kid make me feel even guiltier for being annoyed at Lucky.
I'm not sure exactly how much this story has to do with Sir Malory's classic tale. Basically it has to do with the death of someone named Arthur. I think it also has to do with the fact that I obviously live in Avalon.
When I first moved here, Arthur was someone I'd gotten a heads up about. He was a big man of indeterminate age. He was one of those people who reach a certain age and then seem to hang there like a photograph protected by a glass. You know its an old picture; you just aren't sure how old. I was surprised when I found out he was in his 70's. I was thinking more in the late 50's.
I'd been told that Arthur talked quite a bit and they weren't sure how he got anything done since he chatted so much. I'd also been told that Arthur claimed to hear voices. I've learned the hard way that hearing voices is never a good thing. I tend to steer clear of individuals who hear voices, claim special otherworldly knowledge or see "things". Particularly if they feel free to share these experiences with me, a total stranger.
He drove a white paneled van with a rack on top. It was the sort of vehicle that painters use. Like many of the older and unemployed men in the community, he could most often be found at the Big Creek Deli. He lived in a small camper on top of his mountain near Gaynell's house. He was, like me, a "move-in". We would never completely belong here by virtue of being born someplace else.
Gaynell didn't care for him. But then, Gaynell didn't get along with a number of folks on The Fifteenth. I think it was from Gaynell and Clinton that I first heard the giant bird story. Arthur swore up and down to anyone who would listen that he had seen a giant bird the size of a passenger plane fly over his property. Many people thought he told such tales to get people to leave him alone.
There were other stories. He would often recount a bizarre tale regarding his ex-wife's repeated attempts to poison him. His property had a family graveyard on it. Arthur evidently wouldn't let the relatives up there to take care of the graves. That didn't sit well with this community that regularly holds reunions for the express purpose of cleaning and decorating graveyards.
Still, he did seem to be a respected member of the community. He was a retired teacher, a profession that is held in high regard here. All in all, he was a well-liked paranoid schizophrenic. So Arthur lived on his mountain in a tiny camper with his dogs, chickens and guineas. He opted to build his barn before building his house. I thought it an odd choice, but then, maybe it made sense to Arthur.
It was there, this winter that death found him. Carbon monoxide from his portable heater flooded the camper. Arthur was found dead by a friend the next day. The first thought was that it was suicide. Arthur was fighting cancer and his health was not the best. I can’t imagine living in that tiny camper while being on chemo, but that was what he was doing. But no, it was just a senseless accident.
I think many of us that come here, like the Arthur of legend, come to these mountains in search of some form of healing. In my case, it was quite literally a physical healing. For most, the wounds are spiritual or emotional. There is a misplaced quote about philosophers, poets and madmen being attracted to high, wild places. I think, this, our Avalon, is like that. Perhaps that is why there are so many Arthurs and Rosies running around up here.
I hope Arthur had his wounds healed. I think he did. I think he was happy here. At least, I hope he was. They sprinkled his ashes over his property to mix with the ever-present mist.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Lord have mercy. Heaven help us. Hunter S. Thompson has done gone and shot hisself dead.
I awoke today amidst thunder in February to learn that Hunter S. Thompson had committed suicide. Rarely does the death of a public figure bring tears to my eyes. Roy Orbison's death resulted in a week of dimmed lights, covered mirrors and a mournful wailing to the tune of 'A Love So Beautiful'. I'm still trying to deal with the loss of Warren Zevon. This was a man who had followed me from 8-tracks to CDs. He was the rebellious bad boy boyfriend from high school that I never truly got over. The one that you secretly check up on well into middle age. I wept through each late show appearance and each playing of 'Keep Me in Your Heart'. It was like losing a lover who had looked into the darkest part of my soul and called it beautiful.
I'm sort of pissed at H.S.T. right now. We are in the middle of a political environmnent in the U.S. that rivals the darkest days of the McCarthy Era and Nixon administration. Surely this was worthy grist for the mill of Hunter S. Thompson's mind? The enormous absurdity, the monumental hubris and the willing suspension of disbelief of an entire nation must have moved him. Perhaps it just depressed him beyond the point of existence. I don't know. I just know that we desperately need Hunter S. Thompson and his ilk right now.
Perhaps he had learned of something that he couldn't deal with. Up here on the mountain, Jamie's granddaddy shot himself in the head last month. The pain from inoperable brain cancer finally was too much to bear. The unfortunate consequence of oxycontin abuse is that the people who actually need it, don't get it. Perhaps H.S. T. found out something along those lines.
All I know is that one of the great journalists of our time is gone by his own hand. He was truly an original and I can't think of anyone capable of filling his shoes. Let the rest of the world mourn its princesses...I'll reserve my tears of the like of Hunter S. Thompson.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
We've had so little sun this winter and perhaps the only good thing has been the lack of snow. It feels like England, this winter. Oddly warm at times and always wet. The mist comes up from the holler like a solid thing that you can touch and taste.
I've been fighting a cold. Actually my second this winter. I didn't even make it to church today. I'm an Episcopalian and things would be much easier if I were Baptist and could go to one of the hundreds of little churches dotting the countryside. Instead I travel to Newport for church. I still haven't gotten an invitation to attend a snakehandler's service. I still want to go...not to handle snakes...just to watch. It's illegal so you have to know someone.
I'm working on the blog and writing a new skin for it. Once I get that settled I'll upload some more stories.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
I haven't been a-blogging in a while, but am picking it back up in a more traditional formatte. The original stories are still being edited and expanded in hopes of being published someday. Things just keep happening in my day to day existence that I know seem odd to the outside world. So, I'll try to keep a running tally of these, along with some of my musings. I need the discipline anyway.
Today I planned to burn a pile of slabs. Those are the outside bits of trees once the sawmill cuts the good bits into 2 x 4's and such. I need to burn this pile because every summer, since I've been here, I've nearly gotten bitten by copperheads while trying to gather eggs or just basically mind my own business around the property. I really want a snazzy big gun to strap on my thigh to blow the snakes away. This seems fun and sexy to me, though I think the reality will be sort of rednecky and awkward. Anyway...it's too windy to utilize my burn permit today.
Shadow killed one of the young roosters. Actually, I pulled him off of him before the roo died, but it was too late. The rooster's comb was cyanotic and I'm pretty sure he's had a heart attack. I slit his throat and hung him on the back porch. Looks like there will be real Coq-au-vin for Sunday lunch.