Writing is a way to bring unruly thoughts (for better or worse) into an order. Sometimes - though not often enough - I achieve a kind of thinking that is like one of the oaks that grow over the back wall. Not the perfect iconic tree-shape, but a recognizable tree-shape and built out of a fractalization of honest branchings. Other times - like now - my thinking is like the raspberry patch behind the beehive. The berries give the patch their nominal identity, but they struggle for sunshine with the common milkweed and burdock and goldenrod and maybe some rarer milkweeds I've planted. And it's being invaded by crown vetch and by the peppermint I introduced, and the burning bush that the boys hacked out with hatchets has never really given up. Now, if I can disentangle myself from that metaphor - which isn't easy given the thorns - I'm not sure how to write myself back out into the garden.
Would it help to write down a list of some of the shoots and vines and weeds in my metaphorical mental thicket? Let's see, there is still the desire to engage with the Galapagos Islands and the car wreck that led up to it . . . there's the ongoing decline of our political culture and our communities and the desire to do something more than just serve as a witness . . . there's the vacillating springtime with lettuce and sunflower coming up in the cold frames and birds breaking out into song, beanpoles and beehives . . . there's eight-hour days as research director with their own complex braids of thinking and writing and planning - oil depletion, social security reform, unionization, jobs quality . . . there's the crisis of sustainability all around our unsustainable lifestyles . . . there are Porter, Nico, Monica, three cats and this anthropologist getting older and acting out our dramas and non-dramas within the walls of our little peeling yellow cottage.
It's going to take a while, so bear with me. For now, here's a little bit of clarity from the Galapagos. A hawk has killed and will eat a young iguana. The adult iguanas, too big to trouble about hawks, too reptilian to trouble about young iguanas, bask.
|Galapagos hawk and marine iguana, photo A. Brown|