Today was my first organic gardening class at the local community college (still a 1-hour bus ride away for me… such is the bike commuter’s life). I like reading and learning about gardening because I feel like so much of it can be reapplied as an appropriate metaphor for life in general. So many of the phrases that I wrote down as notes in class feel like they could be rewritten as a personal philosophy. Unfortunately both pens I brought to class ran out of ink, so most of my pages are scarred with my frantic white scratches, trying to get them to work again. What I did manage to scrawl down, though (painfully, one letter at a time), feels full of potential. Like, don’t grow the same monochromatic thing. A good garden is a diverse garden. Or how about: never use up all your fields in one year, instead, rotate. And utilize practices that minimize adverse effects on ecosystem. Simple and basic, yet still surprisingly moving. I feel like these phrases are good advice for one’s brain and energy. I especially enjoying the idea of “lying fallow”–of accepting that there are seasons in which things flourish, and then longer periods time in which things lay dormant.
I think I’m definitely in a dormant phase for now. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m okay with the fact that my reading has slowed down significantly, when compared to last year, when I was commuting for 180 minutes a day, five days a week.
Maybe I’ve been sort of dormant in general. I’ve definitely been busy, and not just with work, settling back into PDX, running errands and establishing new/old routines (yoga, bike riding, etc.) and so on. I just got back this morning (6AM flight–woo!) from a 4-day jaunt to L.A. to visit my college lady friends. It was a great little visit. We went to the Disneyland, played with kitty cats, watched youtube videos about bears bouncing on trampolines, ate out a lot, and walked around in the bright L.A. sun together (how cold and chilly and grey Portland seemed in comparison this morning! I mean, it HAILED, for goodness’s sake). And now I’m back in Portland, the city where it seems my roots (ha ha!) are going to set for now.
I have been reading, though: William Faulkner’s Light in August, Maria Luisa Bombal’s House of Mist and The Shrouded Woman. I have yet another pile of random library books (mostly more Latin American literature) that’s been sitting on the hallway floor next to the shoes for ages, and my e-mail inbox is filled with holds notifications for books from the Central library that I’ve never picked up. The schedule for events and readings at Powell’s this upcoming month also looks pretty intriguing (William T. Vollman of Poor People, Bill McKibben of Deep Economy, and Dave Shields of Reality Hunger, a book I’d like to read). So: I’m not too worried.
Thus, in the spirit of “lying fallow” (at least for now), here’s a poem I really like, maybe my favorite one that I’ve read all year:
Read a book in six months
except something called The Retreat from Moscow
Nevertheless, I am happy
Riding in a car with my brother
and drinking from a pint of Old Crow.
We do not have any place in mind to go,
we are just driving.
If I closed my eyes for a minute
I would be lost, yet
I could gladly lie down and sleep forever
beside this road
My brother nudges me.
Any minute now, something will happen.