Wednesday, October 13, 2010

doofus time

At 70, I sometimes feel like a doofus when something comes along that honestly interests or moves me. Usually the sense of foolishness arises in contrast to other, more socially recognizable interests.

I am interested, mildly, in the news of the day. I am interested, mildly, in social solemnities or leanings. But generally these matters run out of pep in my mind. I am intellectually engaged ... for a while, but that 'while' seems to grow shorter with age. Been-there-done-that is a whisper in the back of my mind. Sometimes I think I am reverting to toddler-dom -- a time when one point of interest fades with the snap of the fingers and the pretty balloons are replaced by a passing dog which is replaced by a pile of swirling autumn leaves which is replaced by....

But then, all of a sudden, something that really grabs my attention comes along.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. Going to the dentist is not something I like particularly, but I can do it -- been there, done that. But when the dentist came in to check to work of the woman who had cleaned my teeth, we chatted a little and she said she had had a baby boy three months ago and my heart became fully engaged. And for a few bright, conversational moments ... what a lot of fun!

What a lot of fun.

Earlier today, I read a spiritual-endeavor question on an internet bulletin board. The writer had had an experience in the past which blew him away... away from Christianity and towards Taoism or perhaps Buddhism, he wasn't sure which. He was still, after all these years, trying to digest it. What should he do? He was wrestling and fidgeting with the experience. And his words really got to me, made me remember and want to lend a hand. I seldom have that feeling with the delicate and filigreed difficulties of someone further along in their spiritual practice. This was fresh and touching to me. The ones who have begun and continue ... well, begin and continue. But how to touch what touches the heart and is full of uncertainty? I'm all ears.

 And yesterday, I was working on a maple staff I want to shape. I was sanding and whittling and smoothing and wondering if I still had the lamb bone I had added to the tool box so long ago -- a bone with which to smooth the sanded project. I was up to my ears in attention when suddenly I stepped back and wondered for a moment who else would give a hoot about the project. And the answer was, few if any. But I was somehow surprised to find that I was bedrock content to create something others might take to the dump. I am a sucker for what I think is beautiful and happy to have a role in its creation ... even when it's not anyone else's vision of what is beautiful.

Does any of this mean much? I suppose not. A second childhood is not so bad, though I do wonder at all the time I have expended while trying not to be that child... being serious and loving and spiritual and whatever all else in accordance with someone else's adult outlook.

Hell, chocolate is delicious. Do I need any 'supporting' evidence?

What a doofus.


  1. I don't know if it's Buddhist, scientific, or just self indulgent, but the phrase "try it and see what happens" seems a good guiding principle.

    Having doubts about the future of humanity brought me to give some effort to the infrastructure of survival on the land. New out buildings, fenced and seeded pasture, investment in livestock, none of it certain to succeed. My energy wanes, but I want to leave the kids some place to run to if things get much worse out in the world. The suspicion that if you can feed yourself, you might survive is the pervading hope.

    In the midst of uncertainty, one hopes for luck more than wisdom perhaps. But you try it, and see what happens. One of the heifers calved a handsome little bull last week, all bone and appetite and unexpectedly out of season. I'm just tickled pink. Life... what luck!

  2. Time to get some carrots from the garden dehydrated.

  3. It is in the mundane exercises of our life, you might even say the routine, that LIFE is always available. If we are looking for it outside the mundane aspects of our life we miss completely the chance to understand and contribute to to humming of the universe as it is. Looking for the tool one has misplaced, cutting the carrots for supper, seeing a child walk nearby, taking notice of our breathing, walking to get the mail, putting o our clothes in the morning, and talking with someone else about "whatever".....everyday, every way, awakeness..:)

  4. It's 10 am, just came in from out in the garage while putting some varnish on some stacking tables I'm making out of recycled oak from an old bookcase I salvaged, and... coming in to get some more stuff, and my wife asks me... "Have you eaten breakfast yet?" Um, oops. Better eat before I play. So now I have to stop and say.

    What's this world coming to?


    My nose is running.