I wake with a stone of fear in my gut. It's a familiar stone. Hello stone, I think. It doesn't answer. The stone is a metaphor. But the fear is real enough and I'm not happy at its return. I don't know what time it is, but I can tell by the light it's earlier than my 9am Sunday alarm. I haven't moved yet.
I take a quick inventory of what hurts. My jaw, mostly. But not too bad. Four hundred, so far, saved for the cure that costs nearly two thousand. I can live with that most days. Once in awhile it will keep me in bed until I can get to the dentist with every 'extra' dollar I can earn from now until then.
Today seems to be one of the days I can live with it. That's good. There's a cat at my feet. I can feel it, but I can't tell which one. It makes its fuzzy way to lick my face. Hello Soosi. And there's still a cat at my feet. That would be Shoni. These two work as a team.
As soon as I get up, others will come running and for five minutes or so I'll be busy opening cans and wondering stupidly once again at how I ended up with this herd. Then I'll make coffee and start on the list I made last night of stuff to do. Poppets that must be sculpted, or painted or packed. School paperwork for Orion's new year. Notes on judging a podcast competition. Something to do is good. Takes my mind off the stone.
I open the back door to let a cat out (and another in) and hot air rushes in. I get a quick glimpse at my failed garden. This year, the shades didn't save it. Once the air gets to a certain temperature it eats everything. And the soil bakes the roots. Maybe if I'd spent more time... but there wasn't any to spend.
Maybe I'll try again in fall. But likely not, because this is the year we focus on leaving the desert. And that means simplifying.The stone. I know it so well. The fear has been with me since I can remember. I seem to have always had this sense that things were going horribly wrong with the world. I managed to distract myself most of the time – mostly with trying to make good art, but sometimes with screwing up my own life and cleaning up the messes.
So finally, it seems I've at least learned not to make new messes. There's that, but I've also learned that this desert has become toxic to me. The heat is too much. I can't help but think that eventually it will be inescapable. And the wealth. Too much here. So much blind materialism. So much vanity. I want to be with people like me. By like me I mean well-meaning idiots, more interested in learning than acquiring.
I want to be with other kids who see the monster. Or at least I want not to be surrounded by aggressive denial. Where are they? I don't know. There may be others here in the desert but I can't find them. I'm too blinded by the heat. And the bling. And dentists with leather couches and marble counters who won't take half now and half later.
In the meantime, there's only one way to deal with the stone:
Things To Do and Love for Others.
I don't know which one this entry is. Possibly both. Possibly neither. But I do want you to know I'm thinking of you. I thought it might be worthwhile to let you know what's going on with me.
Tell me what's going on with you. Are you afraid sometimes? Do you have a sense that humans are on the brink of royally screwing themselves? Are you hopeful? Busy with your own dental issues?
I haven't forgotten you. Things have changed since I was writing here every day. I've never fully recovered from Ye Olde Great Recession. So I spend a whole lot more time working and, unfortunately less time writing, even though I've begun to figure a few things out.
I'm still here, being your artist. And wondering how you're getting on