I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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[History] rushes on, as it always did, with two forces racing toward the future, one splendidly uniformed, the other ragged but inspired.
A low-grade, persistent terror plagued me throughout the summer before sixth grade, because in June I’d found out I was to spend the next year in Rabbi Friedberg’s class at my Orthodox Jewish Hebrew school.
For a term paper I demanded a Louis Vuitton purse. For a take-home midterm, a Tiffany bracelet.
The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition.
In the fall of 1991 I was the lowest-ranking waiter at a steakhouse in Hampton, Virginia. My sole transportation was a Honda 350 motorcycle — halfway between a street bike and a moped — whose chain slipped at the most inopportune times.
Recently I was invited to give a special lecture at the university where I teach. I accepted the invitation though, contrary to what my sons might tell you, I don’t really like to lecture.
As the train slows down approaching Sunnyside, I look out the window for the spot where Harry jumped to his death. It’s marked by a tree still pinned with a few tattered ribbons and plastic flowers in Harry’s honor. “You fat fuck,” I whisper. “Who am I supposed to jam with now?”
She neglects to mention the coins that dot the walkway in front of the prison’s main doors. As you leave, you bend over for a penny and discover the coin is sticky with ejaculate. Cheers and howls erupt from the many floors above your head, and more coins rain down, along with obscene invitations. You drop the penny and wipe your fingers on your pants, but the damage is done. They now have your measure.
A caring teacher, a forbidden love, a missed period
I prefer to ask what gifts the land offers. Gifts require a giver, a being with agency. Gifts invite reciprocity. Gifts help form relationships. Scientists aren’t comfortable with the word gifts, so we get ecosystem services instead. These terms arise from different worldviews, but both recognize the way the land sustains life.