That’s advice to me from me. Surely there must be a few things which don’t send me screaming into the night in aggravation. Yes, there are.
Natural systems. The world, and by extrapolation, the universe, are fascinating. Just watching water flow can keep me occupied for a good long while. The stars? Definitely on my A-list. Growing things? Ditto. Animals? Even better to watch. There are some coyotes–or as my neighbor insists, red wolves–in the area. I’ve seen them a number of times, heard a group howl once only a few yards away in the wood, and even stumbled upon the pups once. Too cute for words and fascinating to watch. Bobcat(s) in the neighborhood are another thing I love. Once I came across one stalking three bunnies when I was riding my bike. It was only about 35 feet away and didn’t even flinch when it saw me. Quite the contrary, it gave me what could only be described as a stern look that said clearly “Heyy! Human! I’m workin’ here, don’t screw this up for me.” I just froze and watched the ultimately unsuccessful hunt for about fifteen minutes. Now, I try not to anthropomorphize but it was pretty clear the animal did not want to have a golden opportunity like three bunnies effed up by some klutzy human scaring them off.
And, to digress as usual, BTW, for those who think that they can just pretend away facts about the natural world–global warming comes immediately to mind–here’s a tip. The laws of physics weren’t passed by Congress. Water doesn’t compress, it goes where it can and when there’s more of it, say, from melting ice caps, it takes the path of least resistance. And in that path there’s a ton of expensive stuff that humans have built. Try as you might, ya can’t just wish away water. Water doesn’t give a damn what you want, it has its own agenda, so to speak. And it wants the low lying ground. Upon which puny humans have placed their cherished stuff. Which will win? My money’s on the water, which tries 24/7/365 for as long as necessary to get its way.
The oceans are also on my top five list of cool stuff. The Caribbean (sea, ocean, what’s the difference?) is a subset of that category which I especially love. For many years I lived on a tiny island in the Caribbean, including a long stretch of time with a nifty little bay in my front yard. And that nifty little bay had a nifty little coral reef only a few feet from the shore, so it was possible to hop right in from the beach and start snorkeling with virtually no effort and still be in waist to chest deep water.
The people on that island–also on my A list–were very cool to know. Both the natives and the continentals were an incredibly interesting bunch, and always full of mischief and doing neat things. And they didn’t nitpick about stuff like wearing shoes to work. Once I rode my racehorse into a local bar to get a drink–a kamikaze. The bartender didn’t even bat an eye, just said “What’ll ya have?”. Since the horse was almost 17 hands high and known to erupt into furiously crazy episodes of bucking, kicking and biting, I had to give the bartender points for aplomb. Ya just can’t do that kind of thing in America. People can’t handle it. Shoot, I probably wouldn’t get past the front door, let alone get served. (Hey, it’s not as if I was totally unsocialized. I left the foal at home. She was way too fond of drunks to take into a bar.)
When my baby horse was old enough I didn’t “break” her but taught her to accept a rider the way the Indians did. By taking her in the water–my beautiful front yard Caribbean bay–and leaning on her, then gradually lying on her back and eventually sitting on he, bareback. The weight in the water wasn’t alarming so there was never that traumatic bucking, kicking and screaming horses are so often goaded into when they are “broken”. I wanted her whole, not broken. The big horse would swim around the bay, I’d hold onto her mane and she’d tow me as I snorkeled. The baby horse would swim circles around us, impatient that we were so pokey and slow. None of us wore shoes, either.
And on that island, people used to steal my big horse, which was one of only four on the island. (They learned to regret that particular crime though, because of her aforementioned tendency to go bats–t crazy without warning.) Even worse, the staff at the luxury hotel–where I used to sneak her in to eat the yummy, expensive and well-manicured lawn–would occasionally try to impound that big thoroughbred. Not to worry, though, a local guy–a white native, who looked and acted like a Viking–had the same problem. His solution was to steal his horses back and he very kindly taught me how to steal a horse quietly so I didn’t have to go in like gangbusters to get my horse back. (For years I’ve tried to figure out a way to get that on my resume but haven’t come up with a socially acceptable way to do so in our overly conformist, even tight-assed, society.) Good times, as they say.
And my Viking friend had a few asocial tendencies himself. Recently a mutual friend and I were reminiscing about that Viking gentleman’s amusing episodes. When I laughed about how he used to get frisky with people who intruded on his beach, the friend countered. “Hey, he used to climb up into coconut trees and shoot a high impact pellet gun at boaters and people on his beach!” Frisky indeed!
We used to have archery contests with his hunting bow. We had the same nemesis, a fake Rasta. (He not dread, mon. Irie.) And my friend would pretend it was him we were aiming at and scream “Take that, mon!” and let fly with an arrow, then race down the mountainside to fetch it for my turn. We’d drink wine and shoot that damn bow for hours. And ride horses! He taught me to ride like an Indian–bareback, no bridle, just a rope wrapped around the horse’s nose. We’d have a blast riding along the goat trails, and pounding down the beaches in a flat out gallop, the sky so blue, the water so clear and wonderful, making a perfect backdrop for the heart-pounding races. I knew true freedom in those moments. He taught me how to build a fish trap one afternoon, sitting on his own beautiful beach, not a soul in sight. What a guy! Everyone should be so lucky as to know someone like him.
That crazy, huge Viking could disappear like fog evaporating too, when someone wanted him to do something he didn’t want to do. When pursuing females, generally glaring in fury at his disappearance, quizzed me about where he was, I could say innocently, and truthfully, “he gone bush”. Sadly, I report that my Viking friend died young–hounded to death by women trying to pry his very substantial personal fortune from his grasp. He beat them to the punch by dying so they couldn’t pry it from his cold dead hands. Ha ha ladies. He gone bush fah true!
It was a measure of how much people loved him that some natives insisted on personally digging his grave by hand. Since he was 6’5” or more, it was a big grave, too. Hard to imagine that such an exceptional person left the place he loved rather than hand it over to some grasping females. But typical of him.
Jeez I wish there were still people like that in America. I love people like that!
Yeah, there are things that don’t make me complain.