Sunday, June 10, 2007

Random Thoughts from an Unquiet Mind

I {suffer from; co-exist with; adapt to; or just plain have;} a mood disorder that keeps me on the shy side of a good night's sleep rather often. As I start this, it is 3:00 AM, and I have come in from a walk. I have heard of the demise of the songbirds due to environmental poisons. Believe it not.

In my neighborhood, just off Bell St. I have come in from an hour's worth of nocturnal serenade that is worth passing along. One has to move about a bit, then sit quietly just to tone down the ever vigilant watch-dogs, but it is worth the effort. I was able to hear at least four birds, distinctly separate by position, making a variety of calls worthy of a Hollywood special effects studio. One particular Caruso of the night was notably dominant, pitching out variations on a theme ranging from chirp-chirp-chirp to too-wheet too-wheet to chitter-chitter, closing out with a nearly basso profundo throat clearing noise. His friends in other trees would respond, but Caruso was clearly the class of this American Idol show, and seemed to know it.

Interestingly, I just spent a week on site in the wilds of Gouldbusk, Texas. The crew bunked in a ranch house about 15 miles southwest of East Undershirt, middle of nowhere. We watched a doe cross casually munching at midnight upwind of us on the porch, the stars and planets were spectacular, but I heard more birdsong tonight here in Angelo than I can recall in the wild. Anne Matthews has a book out “Wild Nights” telling about her two year survey of New York City, especially the lower east side. She documents coyotes, foxes, even flocks of turkeys in the abandoned sections of one of the most densely populated cities on the planet.

I have allowed a consuming political passion to dominate my time, I am likely to continue following that passion. In this, I am reminding myself, hoping to remind the reader, take the time, sit still and alone. Let the stray thoughts you have no time for during the day to wander casually across your mind. Promise you, it will not be wasted time, a comfortable porch swing is a good investment.

To some degree, we overestimate ourselves as far as our impact on nature. I have seen deer grazing shrubbery on Paseo De Vaca. On my side of town coyote, fox and bobcat have been seen, and skunk frequently smelled. Horned toads still thrive anywhere they can find an acre of ground where no one poisons the ants they eat. One bit of advice, if you spot a predator species in daylight and it does not run from you, RUN FROM IT! It will almost certainly be rabid.

Since I seem to be in Dear Abby mode, let me get simple: Do not seek confrontation, but do not run from it; seek serenity, treasure it when you find it, but expect it not; and keep the mind open to serendipity. This last word, “serendipity”, is my favorite six syllable word. The closest new age terminology comes is “Thinking outside the box”, a newspeak term for being open-minded enough to recognise a gold nugget when one trips over it while searching for the car keys. Looking back, some of the best things in my life popped up while I was searching for something else.

San Angelo is a great place to live. I hope I do not come across as a naysaying critic. If I did not love this town, I wouldn't take the time to try to improve things. No, I do not think I am always right, another bit of advice. As I have told people, I not only don't expect everyone to agree with me, I know I don't always agree with myself. I strive for some continuity of thought, but from time to time I go trolling through my archives and find something I wrote say 5, 6 years ago. I end up sitting gap-mouthed and thinking, “Jeez, had a bad hair day, huh?”.

To the extent I have a point today it is this: be true to your passion. Mine is political, other people give time to a wonderous array of charitable causes. The almost inexhaustible resevoir of volunteers here continues to amaze me. Find something outside yourself, give some of yourself to that cause in whatever measure you can afford, you will find the reward is in the effort itself.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I grew up in Angelo and especially miss it this time of year. I miss the sounds and smells and the lay of the land. Thank goodness I live close enough to visit and get my junkie fix.

    I applaud your passion. I love San Angelo too and am glad there are people who care enough to take risks to defend what they see as right. There may be disagreement, but it's what keeps us honest.

    Thanks for the visual of home...I can't wait to get back in a few weeks.