july 4th 2010, 7:45 pm or so. eastern sky, asheville, nc


I like how this one looks like it is underwater.

Anyway: Lot of ground to cover here, so: on we go…

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show details 5:59 AM (12 hours ago)

Well, July 4th – oh, holiday of history. It’s funny – because I claim to be an optimist… I think maybe I was a shade wrong when I made that claim. Maybe I am optimistic not that everything will be okay, but that I will somehow deal with whatever happens. Perhaps it is this coping optimism that helped the people who were here before us to fall asleep at night; I mean, really – what else was there to do? And I imagine that when the villages we burning, those who held the torches imagined that it was the light of god and righteousness that lit up the rooves, the trees, the sky… How foolish!

To imagine that some huge all knowingness would want someone’s home set on fire!

And how foolish to weep and then sleep…
Then again – maybe if your house burns up and your children are crying and there are men and guns and oily smoke all around… Well, maybe it is proof of foolish optimism that I would imagine someone might be able to muster the optimism to go on hoping under those circumstances… I don’t know anything about god…it would be ridiculous to profess that I did…or do…or might… I do know that if I were god, I would be mightily pissed that women had been raped for centuries in my name…I would be damn disappointed to see that some had so much and other’s had nothing… In insect societies, the stratification system is brutal…some spend their whole lives arranging the dead. Others are born with the enormous jaws of warriors and that is what they must become. In every colony, there is one who simply lays and lays and lays, egg after egg…she never sees the sun…

We aren’t insects – we are humans and we are a species whose colonies have made a mighty fine mess of our habitat. We were never meant to be warriors, we were never meant to be sailors – seeking the edge of the world because, somehow, god told us to. All those men who set out on ships hewn by hand (who could build such a ship today!?)

well, we all – if we fail to see the riches and sense we have close at hand – we are bound to set out on some ill-borne journey…conceived of want for glory, or knowledge of things that we don’t need to know about… American children no longer know how to tie knots, or find food for themselves (though the kitchen is ‘right there!’) They don’t understand how things grow and how they reproduce.

How is it possible that we don’t even know how our bodies work and, yet, Skype exists… I think I am getting distracted. I am working on writing on topic for more than a paragraph. Remarkable that I have written papers 30 – 50! – pages long. I have no idea how I did it. It was this distraction that pushed me out of graduate school. I was working on a research proposal re: gender, race and attitudes of power re: female boxing. I realized I didn’t care… (Well, I did care: because it seemed strange to me that, at the time, most of the amateur female boxers were white women like myself…working out in gyms filled with the acrid power of male sweat.) I didn’t care enough to talk about it at length…I felt like I understood that it was a moot point and that all the fucked up reasons that boxing even exists and that we even have concepts of race and gender that make it more likely for the women of one group to think of getting hit in the face or punching at mirrors as a viable source of recreation. It just all seems so stupid sometimes: the valiant protection of our rights to pugilist sport and indulgent purchase at any cost. Children are starving and there is boxing in Vegas. Enough said. Guess I still need to work on that focus issue. Today: walking/hiking/scaling the ridge line to the old post road, just west of Hickory Nut Gap, which is just east of Fairview, NC. My house is not on fire, the children are safe and – though they forget that they can get snacks for themselves – they are definitely not starving. These hills were filled with others. A blink of the eye in the history of this world.

We are not timeless.

We are not insects.

For a few years – five or so – I was never in the same place for the 4th of July. Big Bay, Michigan. Berkeley, Ca. Some town in Utah…in a field, talking to some guy born and raised in that some town…he’d never left the state, I was driving across the country for the second summer in a row. Portland, Oregon: so cold on the 4th of July that I had to wear a coat, walking over the Hawthorne Bridge in the foggy mist. A friend sings Purple Rain in the street, accompanied by a firework of the same title. Back when people gave songs as birthday presents. They still do, I imagine. I hope they still do. St. Mary’s, Georgia – sycophantic town of the South. Trying to be ordinary, with the Kings Bay threat always right there. The Navy came when I was a kid. Eight or so. Maybe all the ground broken for new homes stirred up the ghosts from the land I grew up on. Or maybe – like any small community, my hometown was torn up by seeing it’s own explosion.

The population went from 2,500 to 25,000 in a matter or several years. The first big wave of military families came the year I went into middle school. And by the time I was in eight grade the town had all the accoutrements of a proper military outpost on the coast. And for years, almost a century – it was a place where all the old families were known and where Highway 40 petered into downtown, where Florida and the Intracoastal Waterway were right there, just across the St. Mary’s River. I think I feel homesick for the first time in years. We are not, I don’t think – by nature – migratory. It is not good for us to see our places change so fast. Although we have a conceptual understanding of land as property and we have taught ourselves to understand that property can be bought or sold… Well, we can’t help what we love. Even if it isn’t ours by right of paper. And so, sometimes the death of a field can be quite shaking and the facade of new homes can appear frightful.

show details 6:37 PM (12 minutes ago)

An Effort Re: Brief Biographical Notes Re: the life of Faith Rachel Rhyne Ms. Rhyne was born at Episcopal Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. She was her mother’s first child. The hospital is now a parking lot.

Ms. Rhyne’s first homes included a singlewide trailer, the home of her paternal great-grandmother who had, herself, been born in 1894, and – for a time – Plum Orchard, jewel of Cumberland, where her father was a national park ranger. The home that Ms. Rhyne most strongly associates with her childhood is The Dome House. Which was built in stages over about fifteen years, mostly by Faith’s father alone. He built the house a bit too close to the eroding banks of the river and last time Faith returned to Georgia, the house seemed almost perilously close to the sandy, crumbling bank. Faith has one younger brother, Ben. They grew up together on approximately 700 acres. Thus, many of their games were solitary and imagination of science-based. Or rooted in the desire to intimidate passing boaters, e.g. They would shake the yaupon holly and sparkleberry trees, the youngest oaks (which even as saplings were hard and solid and resisted our attempts to make the trees look as if they themselves were moving. Not that something in the trees was moving, shaking the branches…no, the children would grab hold of the truck as low to the ground as would still give them flexibility and they would push their tanned and sandy weight against the trees so that they may – the children liked to think – look as if the young trees may leap forward from their solitary sway and wade out onto the muddy banks to shake spindly fists at the boats that failed to slow at the bend in the river. We understood even then that it was those fast boaters and their wakes like waves that would eventually lick the ground right out from under us…and the family legacy of sixty years would be sand at the bottom of the ocean. We’ll be gone by then, but my children may see the day that the St. Mary’s River and the Intracoastal Waterway join wholly with the Atlantic and sweep all the small creeks under salt, killing the marsh grass and bringing the sharks where once their were just rays swimming in the muddy brackish shallows. )

That was one heck of a parenthesis, wasn’t it. My brain is such a jumble now. However, autobiography has always been hard. Do you tell them what they want to hear, true of course…or do you tell them the truth of what small events carved you into the person you see yourself as.

I tried – this past year – to seamlessly integrate work, home, children, and art…it was a mess.

It was a disaster.

I had dirty dishes in the oven all winter long.

However, what I realized was that – for most of my adult life, I have just been trying to fit art and expression of experience into all the infrastructural components. I thought of it as a hobby…if that…I never claimed to be an artist, but it’s written all over me and has been all along…it’s what makes me happy and makes me feel real in a way that is solid. I am leaving behind evidence of my existence. A trail of drawings and days…

I don’t really know what it means – this artistness, but I do know that I feel deeply calm and satisfied by making things and structuring sentences and that – as soon as I gave it a chance – art saved me. In art, seeing a bird’s skull-like head in the shape of a loud…well, it is beautiful and secret and it lasted just a moment and it was mine all mine…until I shared it with you… Without art, without writing – well, I’d either be missing a lot or I’d be losing my mind. I know that – in some realms – I AM missing a lot. I have been socially useless lately. I think I come on as over-friendly? It’s a nervousness thing. So, I just try to look really happy…of course, that one woman did tell me that I looked insane when I am happy. Of course, that day, I WAS insanely happy. I really don’t know what I’m doing and there is a sort of excitement in that…knowing that it could be remarkable…however, trepidation looms large because what if all of this ends up to a big messy loop right back to where I was…stretched so thin you could see right through me, auto-piloting through days, weeks, and then it was winter.

And everything was screwy and cancelled and snowy and new and so damn cold in the mornings when I woke up at 3:30 just so I’d have time to write. I have, after periods of de-construction opted to go back to some version of the original plan: Faith lives self-sufficiently and supports the children by way of some full-time employment in the education or social work field.

And I would not mind, especially, after the past couple of weeks, a part-time job of some sort. However, I am still mighty tangled and my wires are feeling a bit uninsulated – noises, voices especially, are really tough. I start flinching if too many people talk at once.

I am really seeming to need to be by myself a fair amount of the time. I feel nervous.

Which is unfortunate, because it compounds the problem at hand, i.e. I am at my wits end trying to figure out how do everything I am expected to do and not burn myself into breakdown within a year.

I think there is a way to make it all happen in a way that would satisfy all invested parties, but not ultimately be my demise. Then again, I seem to be very compelled to simply continue doing what I am doing – but, just keep trying to do it better until it is done well enough to make me legitimately able to do what I want to do: stay at home, be with my kids, take small trips, have a plan a good garden every year and actually get it in the ground, not be scared I am going to die…goddam clouds.

These are clouds I have seen over the past few days. They are not to be used to endorse any hatefulness, war, extortion, death, dominance of one species over another, or for any profit not approved by Faith Rhyne.

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