birdhouse cropped

Friday January 4th, 2013


This morning I saw a deer laying on the asphalt median of the four lane highway, its legs tucked under it, apparently unharmed and watching the traffic pass. It looked at me, frozen in mind at 75 MPH. An old soul.

Further up the road, there was a black garbage bag, full of the wind, slowly bouncing like a beach ball on the right shoulder. I thought it was windier outside?

I like waiting rooms.

I sat alone in my mechanic’s waiting room last week. It is an enclosed porch attached to his house and heated with a pellet stove. Art was giving my truck a New York State inspection.

The porch has sliding glass doors which give a view of the back garden, the weathered fences and outbuildings, the hedgerow, and the field of corn stubble beyond. This was a day of fresh snow; a new world. Art called every car he brought into the shop a big ice cube.

Art seems a thoughtful and peaceful man. His hand is light on his gardens; control only where control is needed. My eyes appreciate their nooks and crannies. There is a large dogwood tree and a bird feeder out there. The vetch and bushes are lumps under the snow. Today there are two pairs of blue jays and a gaggle of chickadees.

I sat there and wandered away, time marked by the little pellets clattering down the race into the stove.

I was not checking my email,
not surfing the web,
not shuffling through the magazines on the table,
not worrying about the time or tomorrow.

There is a modern fidgetiness during unstructured times and temporary disconnections from communication technologies.

I was drifting. I was letting my environment take me into it, lofted on its eddies; a loose meditation in now. Free from the tyranny of the urgent! Do you know it; do you know how to dissolve?

I release my desire to guide or control. My eyes are free to wander over the view or become unfocused. Deep breaths, warmth in my chest, buzzing in my forehead. I am not daydreaming. Daydreaming is a looser version of drifting; daydreaming is a rest, drifting is an exploration. Drifting on breezes to nexuses of feelings and ideas, a circling eddy there, and off to the next. It is moving upon the fabric I love.

It takes me only if I am quiet.

Ideas come with me out of the drift, things crossed not crossed before, things seen from another side.

The topic of control has run through my writing for years now: environmentally, psychologically, pragmatically. Consider the cold day and the birds subject to the weather; their home the nest as comfortable to them as mine to me I suppose, but a cold, wet and dangerous existence from my control perspective. Drift is a complete release of control. A wonderful trip I used to worry losing with a burden of production placed upon it. But no more; I know it is endless.

I have found a great many drift-friendly nooks and crannies in life, just as Art’s garden: the comfortable chair in my dining room, the drive to work, the doctors’ offices. Like the bird’s nest, each place provides both refuge and prospect. Drifting away…


I was driving home. Questions. Elvis sang, “A little more bang and a little less buck.”

What you spend your days doing is not as important as how you spend yourself doing it?

Why do I spend myself?

Nothing comes back; no answer. Never did, really, aside from some negative stuff about how messed up things are and a need to be contrary: tilting at windmills.

That used to be a problem; the lack of an answer. Now it’s not, at least not now.

Good things come out of the drift, and interesting things happen when they are brought into a design, a conversation, a woodworking project, anything. Even if they just serve to stir the pot; question convention.

That’s enough. Please come and wander with me.

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