Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4: Out of the Woods, Spring Rituals, Owning Up

Coming out of the woods, I heard loud shots; they reverberated ominously in the damp air.  But when I walked up the road, I saw what it was, and the dread quality of the whole afternoon vanished at once.  It was a couple of garbage trucks, huge trash compacters humped like armadillos, and they were making their engines backfire to impress my neighbors' pretty daughters, high school girls who had just been let off the school bus.  The long-haired girls strayed into giggling clumps at the corner of the road; the garbage trucks sped away gloriously, as if they had been the Tarleton twins on thoroughbreds cantering away from the gates of Tara.  In the distance a white vapor was rising from the waters of Carvin's Cove and catching in trailing tufts in the mountain's sides.  I stood on my own porch, exhilarated, unwilling to go indoors.

It is springtime at Tinker Creek.  Dillard comes upon this little spectacle as she emerges from the forest after a hike.  Everything is greening up, becoming lush and fecund.  The sap is flowing.  The garbage guys are showing off for these teenage girls.  Sort of like a peacock spreading its feathers or a silverback gorilla pounding its chest.  It's a way to draw attention, display masculinity.  It's a spring thing, I think, built into male DNA.  And Dillard finds this spring ritual exhilarating.

I participated in a couple spring rituals this evening.  First, I went to my office at the university and cleaned up my desk from an entire academic year's worth of clutter.  Piles of papers and books.  Empty Diet Coke cans.  I indexed and filed my classroom materials into 3-ring binders.  And I threw out a lot of stuff.

Second, I went Mother's Day shopping with my daughter.  We had exactly one hour to make our purchases.  We went to Walmart.  We crossed the highway to Target.  Success.  Not only did we find cards and presents, but also found a really cool Star Wars shirt for my daughter.  And we got some popcorn, too.

Third, I made some amends this evening.  I sent an e-mail to a colleague/friend.  For most of the school year, I neglected to fulfill some promises I had made.  It has been weighing on my mind a lot.  So, tonight, I apologized to my friend.  I hope that my e-mail is received with the spirit in which it was sent:  sincerity and goodwill.  It is always good to own up to the mistakes you make, I think.  It's good for the soul.  Keeps you grounded and honest.

Spring rituals.  Some of them are cleansing; some, a little painful.  It's all about rebirth and growth.  Letting go and owning up.

Saint Marty did a little of all of that tonight.

By the way--Happy Star Wars Day!

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