Hass is in the backpack. He has seen me through some rough times. He's become a solace of sorts. I don't want to say a security blanket, this isn't a Linus Van Pelt situation, but Hass has been a comfort. This spring, I carried and consulted his "Sun Under Wood." This go round I've gone back to the source, his first book, "Field Guide."
Hass is meditative. Calming at times. His descriptions of landscapes, animals, family, what makes us human.
Of all the laws
that bind us to the past
the names of things are
Hhhmm, We didn't name this world we encounter. It was named for us, before us. Dammit, we are bound to the past. But that's alright, it gives us a record, a continuity, a history.
The funny thing, this time, Hass isn't enough. There is something to calm about his words. It can't touch on the manic. The excitable. There's no restless leg or restless soul syndrome. That's where Roberto Bolano comes in. Bolano is less sure seeming. He is grappling, struggling, he is not removed or in the background.
Brief like beauty,
That which contains all the world's majesty and misery
And which is only available to those who love.
Beauty, majesty, they are a package deal with misery. You only get them if you put your heart out there. Bolano's "The Romantic Dogs" is a soul experiencing life first-hand, without a field guide.
On the dogs' path, my soul came upon
my heart. Shattered, but alive,
dirty, poorly dressed, and filled with love.
On the dogs' path, there where no one wants to go.
Being replaceable. That's one of the things I've been stuck on recently. Most of us can be replaced at our jobs. Within a year, people will forget who you were. Work at a big enough company, most people don't even know if you are there or not.
Fifty or so percent of spouses are replaceable, it would seem. If someone isn't happy, they can move on, replace spouse one with a newer model. That's where we are, and that's the reality that relationships, marriages face.
We have an idea at the vastness of the Universe. And our minuscule size therein. Why wouldn't we all be replaceable? What kind of hubris would lead us to think otherwise?
And yet, we long to be unique. Individual. And maybe that is possible. Maybe it takes the right job. the job that brings to bear the things you can do that no one else can do the same. Maybe it takes the right partner: the one for whom the things that make us unique are the things they love, and the things that make them unique are what we can't get enough of.
Routine. Time. Habit. Sunrise, coffee, shower, drive, punch the clock, sit in a chair, punch the clock, drive, child's practice, dinner, homework, sleep. Repeat. x 5. x 30. x 365. And you look around and wonder about the time. Where has it gone? Time, you say? That's a thing we made...
Actually, the concept
Of time arose from the weaving
Together of the great organic
Cycles of the universe,
Sunrise and sunset, the moon
Waxing and waning, the changing
Stars and seasons, the climbing
And declining sun in heaven,
The round of sowing and harvest,
And the life and death of man.
That's our man Rexroth joining the fray. He's the third book in the backpack these days. He's roped onto the big questions, soul permeating the landscape and history, sex weaving its way through his adventures and words. Activity.
Maybe that's what I am getting from Bolano and Rexroth right now: activity. Movement. Getting out of the rut. Get out on the water. Blow bubbles at the sunset. Find and do and be the things that make you, YOU. Find unique and cast off replaceable. Cast off.