Sunday, April 7, 2013

the easy stuff

During the two days when the Internet was down and the land-line phone was out, I drove the eight or nine miles to the lumber yard where I buy cord wood. It was time to stock up for next winter's heating needs.

There was no real need to make the drive. I might just as easily have used the cell phone I generally dislike for its poor audio and its needless capacities to do things I don't want to do, but the trip to the lumber yard was a treat of sorts: I love the activities and sounds and piles of wood awaiting some future use. Most of all, I love the smells that permeate an environment that makes some bedrock sense to me. It is plain, straightforward, creative, and seems to instill the sort of relaxed ahhh that a bathtub full of warm water might. Even the smells of diesel fuel are OK as they dance through a sea of cut wood.

Going to the lumber yard was a way of relaxing, of finding the down-home melted quality that arises after a massage ... something that made me set aside slick defenses and explanations and meanings and wise nostrums and excuses and potential improvements of daily life and simply love what I loved because I loved it.

It was no big deal and yet, too, it was a treat.

I ordered my three cords from an elderly woman behind a much-used counter in a functionally-messy office. Her hunting and pecking on an aging computer was interrupted from time to time by men who dropped in needing one thing or another. One fellow was looking for a set of drill bits. Another wondered if Bob were up on the hill fixing machinery and the woman got on a hand-held radio to ask. While she talked with these people, my eye wandered ... from the insurance calendar on the wall to the scruffy collection of candy bars offered at 60-cents a pop to the wood stove that was making the room too hot.

Finally, she got back to me, punched in the information, made a date for delivery, laughed at a joke I remembered as she was talking with one of the men ... and then the adventure was over. It was like a bit of river water that slides by an upturned rock ... smooth and flowing and ungraspable ... nothing special, an yet....

Sometimes I think it's a good way to kick off an easier life -- just find something, anything at all, that doesn't need any improvement. It doesn't matter what it is ... just find it: A button on a sweater; the smoothness of a piece of steel; the nanosecond in which a friend smiles: the look in a dog's eye ...  and enjoy the enjoyment of something that, for once, requires no improvement, that does not need to be something else or compare to something else, that rests easy because, after all, it is easy. Plain as salt.

Start with the easy stuff. Later you can writhe and wriggle, squirm and fidget, marvel and improve... Pascal's Wager or the spun gold of some 'unconditioned realm' can claim the scene. But for the moment, start with the easy stuff, the plain stuff, the stuff that is true before anyone messed it up by calling it true. Just relax in the place where there is no effort.

Before things become easy ... how much easier could anything be?

Chocolate cake!

Yum, yum, yum!

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