Sunday, August 04, 2013

The Stone in the Desert

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
Out There.


Drinne said...

I know that stone. I think our stones might be a side effect of our stories that are like mirrors - the country mouse/city mouse childhoods.

Be really proud of yourself for getting up even with the stone. I can't tell if I am or not. I think I might be - but then I also think I haven't been writing to you or making good art and I know that's my stone.

I'm glad you're leaving the desert. Maybe it was a kiln. Maybe it was only good for firing the glaze.

So here's a thing I am thinking. When something loses it's status as kosher we use a stone to soak up the impurities if it's the kind of thing that's too big to submerge into a another thing- it's a metaphor made physical too. But it does have to be a stone.

First you make sure the vessel is clean. Fill it with water to the very top. Boil the water. Heat a large stone or other piece of metal. Using a pair of tongs, throw the heated stone or metal into the pot causing the water to overflow the top of the pot. WARNING: Be very careful not to get scalded by the boiling water shooting out from the pot. Pour out the water and rinse the pot with cold water.

The stone is there to create the effects of enough water.

there's a lot of heat and cold.

Maybe it matters.

Drinne said...

Whoops one technical note- the stone is full of "impurity" it gets purified enough to kasher something by getting heated up and transfers that quality of transformation through the heat.

I realized I didn't make that clear. Sorry.

Kelly said...

It is hard to come along after Drinne...she says so much and so well.

Dental issues? I have a broken tooth that will, I'm sure, require a root canal, but I know that I do not have enough so I don't bother going to the dentist. I am lucky because it does not cause me pain. But, I've had those that cause me pain, too. They were ones that could be pulled without me missing them, fortunately. That was a lot more cost efficient than the root canal.

I know the feeling of the stone. I have my own fears. Fears that relate to not being good enough or never really finding a happiness again.

I'm glad you are here to share with us, whenever you do. It is nice to hear from you.

I will send out good vibes for that tooth of yours. Also, I don't know if you've looked into anything like a discount dental plan? I bought into one before my last root canal. I think it was 100 dollars and it brought the cost of things down by about 500, it was about 400 dollars in savings? I want to say it was through delta dental? (I can't be positive) But there are several out there...just a thought.

Elaine said...

I know the stone all too well.

I have a dental check-up a week on Tuesday. I dread them. It has been a couple of years since my root canal treatments, but still... Sending good wishes for you and your dental issues. Really hope you can get it sorted soon, I know how dental pain can wear you down.

Hoping I can pop along with a little support in the way of Poppet shopping soon. Sadly I've been feeling the financial pain of a dog who has been having seizures caused by a liver problem. Sigh. Trying to keep her from losing any more weight, and hoping she can put some back on. Aging parents with problems, who live 3-4hours away are weighing on my mind... Sick of constantly being weighed down, tired of worrying.

Wishing you all the very best with your plans to leave the desert. We have been simplifying over here too, trying to move forward. It isn't an easy process, but it feels like it will be worth it.

Holly said...

Have you heard of Care Credit? It's a credit card that is only supposed to be used for medical or veterinary purposes. You can get up to 18 months (I think; I know it goes up to one year) interest free credit, and then the apr is something ridiculous (like 30%), but if you can budget out paying it off within the grace period, it's really helpful. I've used it for my various pets over the past few years. just a thought. if I could, I would buy more poppets to help . . . someday soon.

Carrie said...

I fear I too know that stone. I don't think I can cope with it much longer but I am still fighting still trying to be good, at least to others if not myself. Creativity helps a little but I never make money - I'm a burden.

lisa said...

Drinne - as always your words inspire.

lisa said...

Kelly - I hear you about Drinne. But it takes a village to make good art!

Elaine and Holly - thank you both. Eventually I'll work the dental thing out. I knew when I took this job I might always have to sacrifice money and benefits for the love of the work. It was my choice and this is living with it. I'll check out your suggestions.

lisa said...

Carrie - Sounds like you're in the shadows right now. It's a hard place to be but it's not forever. Humans just aren't made that way. You ARE NOT a burden. I'm going to open a discussion about coping with the stone. Maybe that will help.

Mimble said...

I carry a stone around too - and brain weasels.

I can empathize with wanting to leave the place you live - I'm coming to realize that living in a city isn't for me. The noise, the excessive materialism, the lack of basic manners or ability to acknowledge other people in any way.

There is so much beauty outside of this city - mountains, trees and ocean, but I'm not sure it's enough to hold me here.

I hope your stone gets less heavy soon, that you find a place out of the desert heat where you and your garden can bloom and be happy.

And Carrie, I hope that for you too. Like Lisa said, you are not a burden. Not at all.

Anonymous said...

The stone is there for a lot of us, I think. For me it eases a bit in Asheville - the combination of mountains, art, music, and greater concern for both people and the planet are always soothing...tourist town and all.