Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rats in the vatic

She had a strange question, she said. A few years ago, they'd been at this lookout on Devastation Trail and met a couple with bikes. They'd ride up here every morning. She paused. "Are you those people?"

Her husband, the one with the long lens, the long pony tail and the tie-dyed shirt, was disappointed at how much of the park is still closed, by the lack of lava crossing the bottom of Chain of Craters Road. To the side, his wife tells me she disagrees with him. To be in geological time. He says they have more privacy here than they do with their teens. He says they have to leave.

Kaiser sends an email advising "forest bathing." It has nothing to do with water.

Dead hapu`u fronds turn bronze in sunlight; they are as beautiful as the green. Wind in the o`hia does not fill the soundscape, but moves through it, as if from speaker to speaker. The metaphor that equates the natural world with the man-made seems to go only one way. I do not say the speakers resemble alternating ferns, or even a forest-box of `apapane.

Thoreau grieved for the tree; kidnapped turtle eggs and owl to measure them; hated his fellow citizens for their ordinary pursuits of a livelihood. For whom a turtle was potential pay-day. At the Maui Aquarium, soccer dads talked about how to catch the fish, what they tasted like. American pragmatism and transcendentalism make for a rip-tide.

A pink tow truck of trucks rammed 11 cars yesterday on the Likelike to Kahekili on-ramp. The driver was said to have been on her cell phone before the crash. At the front, a turquoise solar truck struck down to the size of a two-seater motorcycle.

I bemoan my tendency toward the vatic; Brian tells me I've already been there. Alternator current between flash fact and meaning. His attachment to meaning means he stopped reading Ashbery in the early 1990s. Peel it away like a sticker from a carton of eggs, put there so they don't hatch in the car. My daughter would not find that funny.

"In a journal," Thoreau writes in his, "it is important in a few words to describe the weather, or character of the day, as it affects our feelings. That which was so important at the time cannot be unimportant to remember." Near the end, Saijo noted the weather several times each day in his notebook. The weather had weathered his feelings, worn them down like a river stone.  His cabin has been painted and protected with a large overhang; the tall trees out back were cut down and the neighboring lot cleared, except for an old chimney. No structure should outlive its maker, and this one did, only to be "renovated." The better to rent it out.

Our neighbor goes to the store before other people arrive. He rides his bike to the park before the tourists enter. He works all day, alone, on his ceramics. But venture over to see his work and he'll talk for an hour. Thinks he might want to see Machu Piccu "before it's too late."

Bryant has gone to the hardware store in Kea`au to get chicken wire. He will fill the holes in the cottage where rats can waltz in. A cat down the road scampers over the roof once a day. It's a sound system, but hard to get the balance right.

For most of this trip, I've not missed music or the news of the day. He'd collude again and again, if he got something he wanted of it. But I watched the seventh game of the Stanley Cup on my iPhone. You don't see the puck, but you follow the surge of skaters around it. I've watched Taresenko's pass to Shen a dozen times. My daughter's cross in front of the net, pushed in by her teammate.

"Perception itself is never finished." (MP) Ride far enough on your bicycle in the park and there is nothing else. Language trails perception, lives in a higher gear. Language works through gesture to re-convene the world at the moment of perception, though it's more diorama than pan-.

Meaning emerges as distance. The nene do fly over the caldera in the morning light, though signs alert us to their road crossings. We must laugh at the line about how "gay people control the weather," including recent tornadoes in the Midwest. If they control the weather, who controls their conspiracy theories? The academy hates a life of the spirit, but uses it to make political points on behalf of those whose culture ought not to be appropriated. A double-appropriation equals the neutral zone play of the Blues, who made center ice a nearly impassible "swamp." "We" can speak for "them" if we parrot their reverence.

The lama told a profane story about pissing. Westerners were horrified. What does pissing have to do with enlightenment? He never told such stories again; even in translation they seemed incomprehensible. My hard-of-hearing aunt loved him. She wondered what all the lava here "was good for."

Memory's exigencies fail here. Events come pre-shorn of affect. At least for now.

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