Quest for Clarity

Making sense of life, the Universe and Myself.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Freezer burn















"In The midst of winter I found within me an invincible Summer "
Albert Camus

In 1998/99 I I was staying in the house in Canada so I could paint without having to worry about what I should or should not be doing with my life.
I was obsessed with watercolor and fascinated with the lovely surprises that would roll off the end of the brush.Color was exquisitely sensual to me and as satisfying as food to my soul.

I had my guitar and some art supplies and a bow saw. There was a small wood stove in the kitchen and I took up residence on the couch in there blocking off the rest of the house. The boys had been up that summer doing some renovation on the house and barn and there was lots of scrap wood....old rotted 2x4's, new scraps, old shingles, etc. Plus the woods are always full of dead trees and it is easy to kick them over and drag them home. I just dragged them right into the kitchen and cut them up there.There was food in the pantry..dried beans, rice, canned stuff, etc.

Kip Smith came by at one point and cut up a bunch of old poplar logs that had been in the ditch for ages.They burned ok.But it was not as warming as the wood I cut myself.
Yep, that wood warmed me twice-once whien I cut it up and once when I burned it.


I tell you it was cold. At one point Alan Ross took me up to his place and after having dinner with him and Scindy and kids, we went out back and got a big pile of old firewood he had out there. It was frozen into the snow , but we got it into the trunk of the car and hauled it home and stacked a pile of it in the kitchen. I even put some of it on the top of the stove so it would thaw. In the morning there was still ice on it.

It was cold! A neighborhood dog and cat would sleep on top of me, which kept me a bit warmer..Still, I felt content and basically joyful.
Why, I can't say right now. I think it was the peacefulness. I understand why people become monks and hermits.

But, man, it was cold! At one point it felt like something inside me snapped... kinda like those hand warmer things...and after that I was never cold.

I remember Barry McKenzie telling me about his very wild adventures and how his body would just steam in the midst of a howling blizzard, running around in his shirtsleeves
.
In the previous post I mentioned the childrearing theory that imprinted me with the states "cold" and "lonely".

It is perhaps, a case of "Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions"
Maybe I am like a seed or root that needs to freeze to set the trigger for sprouting?

All I know is that it makes it easier to find the door to the warm place inside where there is love and understanding and creativity no matter what is going on outside.

white-hot life burns within

Maybe I am like Sam McGee?

All I know is, I have been known to head further north for the winter.

I remember one time when I was living there with my second husband, Whitney. The pump froze right in the ground and had to be dug up and since the ground was frozen it took a while. Meanwhile, the water had to be carried from the spring across the road at Gordon Emery's and I was the person to do it.
One day I was hauling two 5 gallon buckets full of water up the hill in a howling blizzard through hip-high snow. When I finally made it out to the road I felt this exaultant surge of triumph. It was incandescent and stays with me to this day.

When I told my father this story he was very upset. He thought it was terrible. He could never see the value in certain things. I think to live you have to embrace all of life, even the cold, lonely and difficult times. It works for me, anyway.

I guess there are monks in Tibet that have control over their bodily responses.

More evidence that the Kingdom of Heaven is within.

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