Perhaps what I noticed in this trip away was the immensity of my carbon footprint. Perhaps my guilt was activated. Having the septic tank emptied below my village window was a good reminder of the waste we each produce. At home, I sink into some feelng of complacency, congratulating myself that I don't drive as much as some, and viewing myself as reasonably aware, but, perhaps, there, amidst such clarity of stone and air, I was more clear on the liquidity of my boundaries and the continuing ingestion, in and out.
I also find myself wondering about "the word." Considering that I traveled up to Squaw Valley with at least twenty incredible books, and that I was there to listen to fine poets read, it was odd to find myself questioning whether I ever needed to speak again. I found myself, again I say it, so cleansed and emptied, by the rocks, trees and air, that I wondered about speech, and yet, a gondola lifted me 2000 feet so I could better see and feel the lightness of air, a gondola produced through communication and the travel of words.
There were five poets who taught the classes Jane took at Squaw, the workshops in which she participated. All read their poetry very well. All write very well, but one man seemed to be a bit difficult for the students with whom I spoke. He was caught up in his own story of abuse and prison and seemed unable to relate to or even understand the poetry of those different than he. Jane has participated in the Untraining, and considers herself extremely aware around the subject of prejudice, and she is, and it is odd to be discriminated against and not received in what one writes. I spent a great deal of time considering this vast subject of poetry. I love poetry and I do not like to see it mis-used. For me, it is a chance to understand how another mind works. It is spiritual, the root with which we connect. It is the base of empathy. Studies are showing that animals have empathy, and, of course, we are animals, though we like to raise ourselves above them a notch. Anyway, it was curious to me to consider my perception of poetry mis-used by someone so caught up in his own self-righteous "story," that he could not receive and value the life-blood sharing of another.
Because this man, has had a life of prison and then a financial rescue by another poet, he has actually never worked or had a job. He did not see the subject of "work" has a valid poetic subject. Now, all of this is second-hand as I did not participate in the workshops, but I am astounded at such a dismissal of a huge chunk of most peoples' lives. Poetry is not meant to be spun in ivory castles. It walks in the world and gathers stones and flowers to share. I am still astonished that this man was even there in a teaching position, and I am hoping the evaluations as they come in mean he will not be there again. It allowed me to look at what poetry means to me. Why do I attempt to write it? Why do I read it?
I believe it is a way to tie souls together in new ways. I believe we each fly our heart like a kite, and in the subject matter and sharing of poetry, our kites, our hearts, touch a little more closely. Poetry matters deeply to me, and I was allowed to see in these few days that we each have different ideas of what poetry means and how it might influence the world. My balcony overlooked the village. I was actually given a choice location, which meant I saw and heard most everything from first light to almost again another first light. The band at the Auld Dubliner was my evening, until midnight, serenade. What I noticed was the babble of voices, all blended together, and then, the individuals. This is how we live, all the time, as individual and blend. We are coffee and cream, rock and stream, and I think honoring our differences, enriches us all.
On another note, Otis Elevator has an advertising campaign for its Compass (trademark) Destination Entry system. Schindler introduced this system fifteen years ago, but Otis has decided to take note, and so I have in my hand a little notebook to tell me how to use this "new" innovation and to reassure my heretofore unknown fears. Now, you may have already used this system and didn't even know it, but here we go. You can check this out at: www.otis.com, but I am going to tell you what some trees have given their lives for: another advertising campaign. I will give it to you in the color coding that someone was paid to produce. By the way, this new system is billed as "The next best thing to a personal elevator." Well, that certainly catches the eye. I am thrilled.
So, here we go, and this is for those who might think the world is not being dumbed down enough.
OTIS - on their Compass (trademark) Destination Entry.
(After all the word "Compass" should be trademarked by someone. Why have a word like that floating loosely in the stratosphere? It might go astray. Now it knows exactly where to point. There is no confusion on what is north. Corporate power holds magnetic rule and points us all to the pole that soon will melt under the weight of telling us what we all might already know if we cared enough to think about it.)
What if ....?
What if I get in the wrong elevator or change my mind once I'm in the elevator?
You should always check the LED display in the doorjamb upon entering the elevator to verify that your destination floor is illuminated. If you change your mind once you're in the elevator, exit at the first stop and re-enter your desired floor using the nearest call button, keypad or touch screen.
What if I get delayed in the lobby? Do I lose my elevator assignment?
The Compass system accounts for the time it takes you to walk to the elevator. However, if you are significantly delayed, you may lost your elevator assignment. Simply re-enter your floor destination at the nearest keypad or touch screen to receive another assignment. (I am shocked. I assumed my "next best thing to a personal elevator" would know who I am and wait for me. I cannot believe that I, the self-important I, will have to re-enter my information and wait. Shouldn't the elevator wait for me?)
What if I forget my elevator assignment?
Re-enter your floor destination at the nearest keypad or touch screen to receive another elevator assignment.
(Ah, relief. I thought there might be a floor slot into which I would be dropped if I forgot my ever-permanent elevator assignment. I never would have dreamed on my own I could re-enter my floor destination, but then, what if I forget what floor I want to go to? What then? I want my "next best thing to a personal elevator" to know exactly where I want to go. I await now the mind -reading elevator. That must come next.)
So, I invite you to savor a beautiful day, away from elevators and this new cyncism that seems to have taken over my mind. May it soon dissipate like the fog that appears to be opening the sky. I am in a perplexed and confusing mood, and, because all is change, that, too, will soon move on. A joyous Sunday, both intricate and simple, to you!!