I flop between gluing ever more things to my wall and tearing it all down, all the little tacked-on papers and feathers and spat-together artworks. Seems like before I encountered a real "winter," the season of renewal continued to dote upon me regardless of season. Now, it happens at a deeply slowed pace; once every two or three years. Perhaps, then, I have matured at this point in time.
There is way, too, much, god damned shit in my house right now. It's killing me softly.
I drew our Christmas card this year because I have finally grown tired of buying the cheapest bullshit-ass cards I can find. In fact, I'm tired of doing anything that doesn't specifically holler my name and creed. I've been in a cave for like two years now; a cave with mortgage wallpaper dreams and a confidence level of absolute zero, colder than any scientist has been able to attain in lab settings. That is not right. That is bad. I was rotting. I have lived through a deep, dark winter of the soul. Most importantly, I have lived.
It sure is a good thing I open my eyes every now and again to comb away the dead cells. I would drown here otherwise, beneath the peaceful snow and silent deer, gnawing on dead greenery; not aware of the huge motherfucking goddamn bear, mouth-breathing mere feet away, huffing hard for a free venison dinner.
How has living in the Rocky Mountains changed me? Oh, let me count the ways. One, life does not wait for you. Other life will kill you when given the slightest opportunity; we are all opportunists by circumstance, humans and elk and bears and even raccoons, when given an unlocked chicken coop. Though I know this, they are not my enemies, the other life. I respect them as I hope they respect me: let me live until I forget the rules. One must never forget the rules.
Confidence doesn't come into play, here. To not have confidence is a luxury. Yeah, I have electricity and propane heat and...walls; I'm not living in a lean-to. It's just jarring, and oftentimes hard to reconcile how close a quiet death comes here, versus the bullet-blood-drama that death is where I come from. I've come as close to death on a porch in Baton Rouge as I have here with a hungry mountain lion feet away from my person. The difference is, if the lion had missed me, it would've gone for the cat at my feet. Bullets are not hungry.
It's been over a year -- a year, two months, and a day -- since my cat disappeared at sunset. Been about six months since a bear tore off the side of the chicken coop and made off with three out of our six-strong flock. It's been five months since the fourth went down; four months since the third. Then, there were two.
We guarded them closely. Didn't matter. Then there was one; I named her, knowing I shouldn't. I talked to her for an hour every day when I went to feed her scraps. Sometimes there were no scraps; I just went to visit her. I knew she was afraid, I did everything I could to distract her from the inevitable. They got her a week later; she saw it coming.
I've never seen a creature live in such fear. I'm glad it was only a week.
All that said, this is what's affecting my months and years lately. This is the song my soul hears, and who could blame my soul for taking its time to learn this dirge? The sorrow one feels at the sight of his own killing his own is somewhat removed from...whatever it is that one feels at the sight of nature doing its duty in a very similar manner. One might say it's sad versus inevitable; but I think, on a closer look, we might all figure it out, that they're two sides of one coin. The motives are different, but the duty is the same.
But the bullet is never hungry. Hunger is the ultimate motive of life up here. Winter, silent and peaceful in the suburbs, is desperation in the mountains. Life in jeopardy. There is no choice here.
I have no choice. If I only thaw out once every few years, what choice do I have in the present? None. Zero. Am I confident? That question is not a luxury of mine. Confidence only exists in the realm of others. If there are no others, confidence is only the precursor to skill. Thus, the only question left is,
Can I do it, or can I not?