Thursday, December 02, 2010

Everything for Happiness

I took a post down the other day because it was a little wrong and a little premature. But I liked this sentence, so I resurrect it here:

These are not, after all, my holidays. The religions of sacrificial lambs and chosen peoples are not mine, however appealing the bodhisattva Yeshua may be; and much as I approve of giving thanks, I can't think of the survival of that pale, bigoted, grasping tribe of Englishmen on their American beachhead as a great historical blessing.

I wish I could speak more freely of what's going on with me, but it may be just as well to cover the pot tightly and let it cook.

Martha and I have been looking at smaller houses, fixer-uppers, and lots where we might build, say, a straw-bale house. Portland is serious about encouraging infill, rather than sprawling, so it would be easy to buy a rundown house, make it reasonably liveable, and build an “accessory unit” -- a granny flat, as some call it -- in the back yard. I'd like to have a hand in building a small snug house with the passive solar well thought out and built in from the start. I'd be happy in a condo, myself, but Martha needs a yard, both as a buffer and as a place to tend: and we both would love some native flora to tend, and to find some small battlefield on which to meet the English ivy and clematis and Himalayan blackberry that are overrunning our native ground.

For now, the task is getting our house ready to sell, and getting ready to move from a four-bedroom house with a full basement to something with half the living space and an eighth of the storage. There's various painting and small repairs to be done, and both the front and back steps need to be rebuilt. We're thinking of next summer as the time to actually sell and move, but I suspect that when it happens it will happen in a rush -- we'll find the place we really want and suddenly we'll be scrambling and there will be a grand panic. That's okay.

Everything for happiness, and misery everywhere -- who says that? Sir Joseph in the Aubrey-Maturin books?

I think and think and work and work, and sometimes I fall through the ice, and sometimes I wander through abandoned industrial landscapes, full of broken, unidentifiable machinery and overgrown foundations. Bits and pieces, fragments. I learned that a Cooper's hawk has a haunting shriek, with a dying fall, whereas a sharp-shinned makes happy little chucking noises, unbecoming a raptor. Maybe now I'll finally be able to distinguish them with confidence.

We saw a raptor down Holgate way, in Southeast, that we couldn't identify. Sharp-pointed wings, smaller than a redtail, too big for a kestrel, a rapid flight almost like a night-hawk. It haunts me.

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