Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Golly, it's good to be home.

I got to spend quality time cutting up with my two favorite aunts, and it was good to see so much family all at once. I found a hillbilly post card that made me giggle (watch for it in the mail, Hols & jpg), and it's always good to see my original home, however briefly.

Monday night, I walked out of Grandpa's front door into the inky blackness only afforded by being many zip codes removed from large towns. The front of the house was sheltered from the wind and the night almost seemed still, but I could hear the crackling rustle of countless millions of dried leaves hanging in huge trees, buffeted wildly by fierce winds. This was magical. Moments like that especially make me want to live in the country-- that is truly the rich life.

After the service and everything, I said my goodbyes to everyone and then stopped by the local foodstore to pick up some hillbilly postcards I'd seen earlier. At the register in front of me, a woman was holding the most serene looking sleeping baby boy. I remarked on what a dandy he was, and she proudly agreed, saying the nice man in the butcher department had just weighed him for her and he weighs 16 pounds, having doubled in weight since he was born. Now, I thought this kid was maybe 7 or 8 months old. No. He was 4 months. I was just getting a kick out of imagining someone weighing their kid in the meat department of a supermarket. CHARMED! Norman Rockwell should have done a painting like that.

But then, it all took a turn for the sublimely twisted: the cashier said "oh, my second one was the same way-- the doctor told me at his one week check up to go ahead and give him regular food, just be careful at first." We gasped our astonishment, and she followed up with the delightful kicker "well, he was born with a tooth!"
This made my week. Love stuff like that. Let's just say I'll never pass through that town without stopping in that store-- you never know what'll happen. Maybe I need to swing by the meat department, too.
Driving home Tuesday afternoon was windier than a bag of buttholes. Saw a transformer blow nearby, and that was spectacular. Siding and signs were flying all over the place, and you could see that every driver was struggling to maintain control of their vehicles. Add violent gusts to the winding, hilly roads and that makes for some interesting driving.
Listened to a bit of Harold Budd. The last few funerals I've attended, I've sort of slipped into a mode of listening to his music. I find it calming and contemplative. If you are not into ambient/electronica, you may still recognize the sound of Harold Budd's hand in the music of the video below. Harold's music was used to brilliantly score the The American Experience special on the Donner Party. Stark, austere piano seemed the perfect counterpoint to the enormity of the challenge faced by those on that grim adventure.

Of course, at times like this, one will be philosophical. Budd's music is light and shadow in the same way the most gilt-edged clouds must be dark in the center to contrast the glorious edges. I believe we think of our lives as extended backward, aggregated by our familiarity with history and epochs other than our own. In truth, the fullness of time for each of us is only our tiny window in this existence. Despite the sorrow of the loss of loved ones, it is good that we are forced to face our own limitations and learn to make the most of our time here, that our time may truly be full.

The funeral was stately, dignified and poetic. The local VFW was representing and the military honors were a grand send-off, indeed.

Harold Budd & Cocteau Twins
Sea, Swallow Me [The Moon & The Melodies]

I hope your day is a beautiful one.


DBA Dude said...

Glad to hear that you made it home safely, sounded like a real white knuckle ride.

Small towns rule.

Great video, stunning images for good sounds.

Christina RN LMT said...

We had that bad windstorm mostly on Monday. You wouldn't believe all the crap that was blowing around here. The weather has been altogether wacky in Vegas lately!

Glad you made it home safe and sound, Phlegm.

Unknown said...

I often imagine myself eventually moving into a much smaller town as I get older. There is something calming about that quiet and slowness of it all.

I love "windier than a bag of buttholes."

Buck said...

Your "philosophical" bits are quite wise, Phlegmmy. I especially like the part about how we tend to think of our lives as extending backward, rather than forward.

Thought provoking and maybe even habit changing.

FHB said...

Great music. I show that video to my students now and then. They always love the part in the end where the one guy who bragged about eating human flesh went to California and opened a restaurant. Hilarious.