Thursday, December 22, 2011

Said the night wind

Apartment and cat in Chicago (note land line and answering machine)

Back when I had a cohesive iTunes library, I loved listening to John Prine. Heck, I still love John Prine. (Go buy his album immediately.) He sings:
The man down the street, the kid on the stoop
All agreed that life stank. All the world smelled like poop.
Baby poop, that is. The worst kind.

The funniest thing about baby poop is that it's only gross to those of us who don't have kids. My sister listened to that song and said—what is he talking about? Baby poop isn't gross at all.

We shoveled four truckloads of horse manure into the garden this spring, and my parents are trying to find manure for their garden here in Chattanooga. If they were to find some, I'm sure they'd be able to grow peas and spinach year-round. Even now, in their feeble rock-hard clay, they have snap peas hovering above the ground.

I've been dreaming about heaping piles of waste in overflowing outhouses. Gross, I know. But I came together with my artist friends this last weekend, and we discussed the metaphors of dreams, specifically how images like that speak to us about fertility—the fecundity of the subconscious mind. And now I'm going through all of this shit from my past (I can use no better word)--heaps and heaps of files and photographs and ripped, moldy, stained clothes—and I can't part with them. But from all of that waste, the detritus from my past—comes the most potent fertilizer for my present.

What I have realized about the past is the truth, and the truth is how much I've grown. I am no longer the person I was. I realize how much I've grown. How, like Jesus in his missing years, I can walk away from the poop with only what I need.

I've filled up the trunk of a Camry with the manure I need for another year. Tomorrow I head back north, to the land of ice and snow. I leave behind my past, one more time. I carry only what I need, only what will help me to grow.

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