Tuesday, November 19, 2013


A craving for potato chips. I don't bar eating potato chips, though I bar having them: I don't keep them in the house. So I walked over to the 7-Eleven and got a bag, and brought it back, and ate it. Feeling a little icky now, but it will pass.

I talked to myself as I walked through the night streets. That little store is maybe a dozen blocks away. The potato chips cost over four bucks -- don't remember exactly -- and the clerk, in a English so heavily accented I had to ask him to repeat himself, told me I could get two bags for five dollars. "No thanks, just the one," I said. Even one was more than I wanted, since I knew I'd eat them all. A strange thing, this compulsion to binge: I don't know what to make of it. I'm glad it comes less often than it used to.

As I walked, I talked aloud to myself. It's been so long since I've taken a walk and talked aloud to myself that it was like suddenly getting back in touch with an old friend. Oh yes, you! We used to talk all the time! It was nice, and I realized I've let blogging and social media crowd out that sort of time. For me, blogging began -- back when this blog was named "Vajrayana Practice" -- as a cross between keeping a journal, and talking aloud to myself as I walked. It turned into communication, and even community, for a time. (My other blog, the massage blog, has always been an uneasy combination of soapbox and billboard.) But by the same token, gradually, private rumination was crowded out. It was queer to hear my own voice in my ears again, with no public in mind but myself, and to hear what I had to say. I had a lot to say. I think I'll walk more often.

It's easy for me to get lost, to get thrown by an audience. That's okay: it's a feature, not a bug. But it means I need to have to maintain some private space, and listen for my own voice. I have been too quick, too clever, lately. I have let too many alien filaments work their way into my soul: there are too many interruptions. I check for responses too often, and do creative work too seldom. I don't blame technology or social media for this: they're just the current mechanisms of fidgety, unhealthy habits of mind that predate them entirely. They make them easier to indulge, that's all.

Ten years of this blog. A decade of water running swiftly under the bridge. An epoch of my life has washed by these pylons. And it has been an extraordinary decade: my life and habits have changed beyond recognition. Whole galleries of online friends have arrived and slipped away. The joys of being understanding and being understood are less intoxicating than they were, but they have transformed me. 

Still. Walk out under the night sky and the prickle of stars, even here where the city lights wash so many away, and I can feel a deeper throb, the pounding of a larger mind, the lure of understandings that are more important and more decisive. I have no wish to go beyond the human and the natural -- God and das ewige weiblichkeit have no purchase on me, and I want nothing that my hands can't touch -- but I'm not done with traveling, either. I breath deep -- my overfull stomach resentfully following my breath -- and a small skitter of laughter, unless it's leaves in the wind, runs ahead of me in the dark. Yes. I will be walking some more.


rbarenblat said...

I am so grateful for your blog and for your companionship over these years. Knowing you has been one of the great unexpected blessings of blogging and reading blogs.

NT said...

What the rabbi said.

Also, I bought and ate a giant bag of potato chips a couple of days ago. Must be something about the changing of the days as we approach the longest dark.

I have been seriously melancholy of late.

Dale said...

Decidedly mutual, Rachel!

NT, it does seem like some atavistic urge to fatten up before winter kicks in, doesn't it?

Yes, I've caught the air of melancholy. Hugs, dear!

I wish both of you were near enough to visit. xoxo

Phil Plasma said...

I often have a running monologue while walking; I find it helps to pass the time.

Rouchswalwe said...

Walking is my greatest tonic. There's something about the pace (now that my knee has healed I'm probably back to 2mph) that allows me to touch the ground and appreciate the natural world around me in necessary ways. In my neighbourhood, we walkers recognize each other, nod in greeting, and at times even meet in the tavern by chance. Good for the body and spirit. As for potatoes, my Mama always told me they are heartfood.

marly youmans said...

Oh dear, I just wrote a post about melancholy. And see everybody else (maybe) has it. The time of year, the time of life, I suppose.

Glad that I have not jettisoned myself or been jettisoned from your little world, Dale. It is interesting to see you withdrawing and talking to us at the same time--and then there is your "people undressing" self that is out in the Eye of the World. So complicated, this contemporary life.