April 3, 2003


“If something is good for you, take it up. Continue it. If something is harmful to you, don’t do it. Discontinue it.”       The Buddha

“I beeped when I shouda bopped.”       Dizzy Gillespie




Visualization of the abstract form: a helmeted universe closing the stars over his head. A hollow galaxy. A blue velveteen vault overhead and around, at the center, a collapsed oddball. This freak, this courageous mutant, in a moment, marching  retarded people towards the business school, at the center, an apex of Chaos, and around, a mist, an aura of Chaos. Everywhere Chaos, and in its totality, he could take comfort: things were tough all over.

He needed to find somewhere for the people to have lunch.

He dreamed of Home, the archetype of Home, some center, some central affectation for his after work, for his hours, some historical place, of wood and lineage, and surrounding it, some eccentric town in an out of the way place, some locale in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Tasmania, or St. Helena.

“I’m sorry you see” he said to company, to his friends, wanting him to move to some city or another, back to the dry suburbs or some depleted metropole,  “so sorry but I have a strong connection to my natural environment, my birth-environs.”

Locations: Redford and its city park, Lola Valley, his early absorption in the riverbanks and trees, old suburban trees, mud and Fall. He could visit but not return. But it resided like a Celtic cross at this center. MSU and its century-old gardens, the lofty trees with labels and explanations, the shadows of the riverbank, the quiet on a summer Sunday afternoon, out on those wide lawns, preaching silently to dragonflies out of an old book on Eastern Religions borrowed from the library, held open to a random Sutra, the yellowed book smell pages a contrast against the green of the grass, the blue of the sky. Independence Lake: wide lake, trail and meadow of his center years.

He was, by certain force of mind, capable, if his physical form was in accord by mood, biochemical, and nutrition, with his mental and spiritual body, able, if all was in concert, go about gathering Energy from all the places he’d lost it. It was as if he sometimes had access to past versions of himself, as if he could recapture the essence of his own spirit, ghost hunting.

He figured anyone could do this, if they bothered.

Trees, particularly, were true receptacles of Energy, store banks of past forms, essence-carriers of energy-nuggets. And he often felt unduly separated from these when he was in the city, when he went among the concrete and sprawl that made him feel like he was just some unit trapped in a microchip wasteland, some guy trapped in the smoke, chemical, and pavement.

Dream coasts beckoned. He dreamt waves; saw his own form tempest-torn in a blue-black breakwater just as the sun went down. He feared, loved, and admired the sea, but at night he’d always feared it.

Water, and tree, and sun: all of these were alien intelligences, and he felt need often to in sync with their mind, and walk about.

Energy was constantly in flux; in decay and regeneration, and thinking of its endless change, of his own transitions, he understood some of what Fear was, at least as it related to his own revisiting of old places. He feared, he knew, a regression, he feared becoming a past self which he’d outgrown, and in this reversal, this backslide, this reversion, he feared he’d lose the sense of Present for which he had fought so dear. For wasn’t that what it was all about, what he was after in all his readings and studies: wasn’t he always looking for a profound sense of the present? Wasn’t he seeking, mainly, and sometimes only, to experience life at its divine apogee as a living moment?

For in his visits to old places, he had no desire, really, to relive the events of his own past. He wasn’t after the “and then this happened, and then this…” sense of things. He was after the gist of things. He went to his places he went to amplify, heighten, and understand a sentiment, a sensation, a feeling, an emotion which he had felt before but in the intervening times had lost.

Each day a new emotion. He strived to catalogue them all.

His mother always sang aloud to the 1980’s hit by the Eurhythmics’, “Here Comes the Rain Again”, the part when Annie Lennox sang:

“Here comes the Rain Again

Raining in my head like a tragedy

Tearing me apart like a new emotion.”

He hadn’t like the song especially much back then, hated it actually, and still he didn’t care for it, exactly,  but now he could understand and appreciate the idea of a new emotion tearing one apart.




“Once I ceased imposing, stopped imposing my own ideas on Reality, Reality went easy on me. I threw out my idea of “the way things should be” and with it my own concepts of control, of order, dropped all pretense of inflicting any thought-structure on the environment, upon reality, upon events or happenings. A new freedom was born in me then, a new sense, and with it, a new seed of happiness.

An unbelievably strict armor fell then from my ghost; my spirit like a nut-tree began an unbelievably prolific mast production.

Applying a narrative structure to my own life had been a failure…the complexity of real sensation overwhelmed the idea of “story”, “plot”, and “moral”.

Strange-able, strangable air, breathable, a late April lushness, no more cruelty in this early Spring; forsythia bushes and willows going off like green bombs all down the street.

Checking in with the lilacs: is it time?

He thought about his work. It was possible for him to give his all to 8 consumers on his van, those 8, perhaps a few more, but certainly not to the 80 or so that gathered to caterwaul in the common lunchroom every morning, every lunch hour, and every afternoon at the end of the day. They fought and ate and screamed a crazy person warehouse.

He walked slowly, incredibly slow, deliberately, as in walking meditation, through the woods. He held his back straight and stiff upright, whispering to the trees, “God…Everything is perfect. All is Divine Order. I have no problem whatsoever.”

Preparing for work, earlier, he’d thought of an expression he’d read or picked up from some Depression era book or film and it came to him as he walked: “When you’re down, think of the other fella.” He thought of a kind woman who’d assisted him in finding a place for lunch with his clients at the Business school at the community college, he thought of the idea of the “Grand Public”, the empowered people, of public spectacle, of protest and of gospel and choir music. This thought morphed to a sort of jazzy swingy number, a quick version of “Sunny Side of the Street”, and though he couldn’t recall the words, exactly, he mumbled the tune as he walked, as it began to lightly rain, the wind blew slight, and the tree tops swayed and rattled.

III.                   1-12 Things to Remember.

1.Continue valiant acts of self-regeneration at all costs.

2.Understand the ache the muscle makes when it first suffers injury is not the lasting ache.

3.Mondays are your beginning mind, and see in them the way you must keep your thoughts for the 6 other days.

4.Don’t over-reach.

5.It is Spring and Spring is a happiness. All good things coming.

6.Licensure & Kings. Licensure & Kings. You can never be king without a license & all kings function unlicensed.

7.Aren’t you so glad all of the bad things you think of happening — don’t?

8.Aren’t you glad you aren’t the one in control of everything? Aren’t you glad all the morbid sick stuff you have in your head just stays there?

9.Happy dancing man: take comfort in Action, take comfort in Inaction.

10.Snap –Crackle-Pop.

11. A postponed gestation of the spiritual being:

12. “I choose not to worry about this right now.”

About reluctantprodigal

Born in Detroit. Naturalist writer-thinker-poet living in the Greenbelt around Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
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