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Ice, darkness and ants.

by Once

Hello insomnia, again.  This is sort of a non-specific rant, about nothing.  Today’s Valentines day, and here I am, pouring out my heart to SP.  Wonderful. Maybe I’ll buy it some flowers and am box of chocolates. What a stupid tradition, right up there with the World War 1 xmas truce – let’s stop killing one another and exchange gifts for one evening.  There was a nasty ice storm here night before last. The power has been out for a while and I am unable to relax enough to sleep while wearing twenty pounds of clothes.  I awoke yesterday to the sensation that something was off,  and a glance at my alarm clock, which was dark, told me the power was out. About four hours before waking, around two a.m., the sound of a chainsaw woke me.  Who the heck needs to use a chainsaw at that time?? Turns out it was a crew from the city, cutting a huge tree that snapped under the weight of ice, and ripped down power lines.  I’ve experienced only one other ice storm, and while the coating of ice that covers what it can has a bizarre, surreal quality, it’s also highly destructive.  I spent about an hour taking photos, while all around me, tree limbs were cracking, splitting, and falling under the weight of ice.  I grew up in the dusty desert, and live in the northwest u.s. now, so these events are still new to me.  A lot of people have experienced major damage to their homes as a result of fallen trees. My heart goes out to all.

We live such delicately balanced lives. Maybe precariously is a better word…somewhere I heard someone say that long, long ago, humanity lost its ability to live in harmony with nature’s plan, I guess meaning that we’ve evolved into such complicated beings that, in order to survive, require all we see around us – exorbitant infrastructure requiring constant vigilance, maintenance and adjusting. In our wisdom and restlessness we no longer know contentment, if we ever did.  We create layer after layer after layer of technology and bureaucracy in an attempt to con ourselves into believing we’re achieving our true potential, all the while suffocating under the blanket of obligation our vast network of systems imposes on us. I suppose in that way we’re not too different than ants, roaches wombats and lemurs. We are just so unhappy, with no real way of figuring out how to alleviate our malaise.

I don’t know.

I’ve never gone this long without power. I gave up on sleeping, it’s too cold without heat, and drove to the Pilot truck stop, where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately, due to insomnia.  A few areas along the way have power, but the truck stop and surrounding areas are dark.  The grid, in all its technical splendor, has been shutdown by ice, while worker ants scramble to fix it.  Thank god for these people, I want my conveniences back, but am enjoying the dark silence of forced surrender imposed on us by nature. It’s truly a reminder that while we foolishly believe we are the mightiest beings in creation, we must play the cards we’re dealt, without as much control over the dealer as we need to believe we have.

So, like so many others have and will ask, what’s the point?  Scrambling, educated ants, earning money to entertain and feed ourselves, only to lose everything in our final draw at the poker table of life, believing it the fulfillment of some subjective and vague responsibility of an unexplainable ethereal force.  Well, if ants and bees scramble to maintain their societies, so should we. There it is. We’re here for no other reason than to keep up with the bugs.

Fuck me running.

A young girl who was a social media phenom, Dazharia Shaffer, committed suicide recently. She was 18.  While undoubtedly her family, friends and fans are hurting, I feel…happy for her? I don’t mean to be crass here…this young lady, she has done what I so desperately want to do. She found the courage and summoned the strength to move on. As I recently said of my friend Rachel who died in an accident, if there is a “something after”, she is there. Make of it what you will, the charade of man made religions has for centuries foolishly and arrogantly been attempting to define the undefinable, but in the span of time it took this young lady to end her life and a fraction of a nano second beyond, her questions were answered, or not.  She is the newest addition to my ever growing list of people whom I admire for having the courage I lack, and who many others never realized were struggling.  “If only we’d known”….”If only she’d said something”…if only she was alive, she could be here, struggling with the rest of us, as we ride lifes carousel, blindly and ignorantly reaching for the rings tossed to us by the madly shrieking psychotic attendant. If only she’d sought help, she’d still be alive, so that one day she could die properly. Is that what all the fuss about suicide is over? Hanging around to “properly die???” Chuckle. We choose every manner of action to circumvent our pain, believing therein lies nobility, insisting on continued suffering…what the fuck? By that logic I will NOT apply a bandaid to the next cut I have – it’s far nobler to let it become infected and gangrenous.  My festering, pus filled badge of honor.

We make no fucking sense. And I have yet another new hero. I am genuinely and unequivocally screwed up and a coward.

I’m 57, today. And I hate life. I harbor an opaque fantasy of fulfilling many unattained dreams. There are still a few things I’d like to do, and as I begin the process of detoxing from three years of heavy drug use while also realizing I am only now genuinely beginning to grieve the loss of my only love after almost two years, I see how debilitatingly depressed and angry I am, how foolish and naive I am, and ultimately, how pointless all of this is.  My will to live far exceeds my ability to die at my own hand, which is to say that I am one hell of a strong coward.

My prayer to the universe today is two-fold, as it is every day. First, it is one of thanks and gratitude for all the good in my life. I am not rich, I am alone and in tremendous pain, but I have so much more than many others, and don’t know why that is. I am independent, I have a roof over my head, I rely on noone for anything.

Second, I beg daily to die.

All around me, the power is out. Many aspects of life have ground to a halt, temporarily, as we scramble to restore them by closing the circuits needed for the succesful flow of electrons.  Yet inside my heart, deep in my soul, the darkness grows, apparently unimpeded by scrambling worker ants.




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thebends 2/14/2021 - 10:12 am

Your birthday is Valentines Day? That’s really cool. Or maybe it could be depressing. Let’s go with cool. The ant analogy you made is something I think about often. There are 2 huge differences between worker ants and worker humans. #1. Ants are part of nature’s plan. They clean the forest, scrub carcasses to the bone so disease doesn’t fester and spread. Like all non-human organisms on this planet, they are essential. Which leads me to #2. Have you ever seen a depressed ant? I haven’t even seen a tired ant. They all seem to be driven by an unstoppable, maybe even “happy”, sense of purpose. When I was a disgusting kid I used to torment ants by pouring water on their anthills just to see their reaction. They never cried out at the universe, never yelled at the gods, never fell into depressed suicidal self pity. They cleaned out the damage and rebuilt their hills. I stopped pouring water and instead learned that I’ll never be as great as they are. Happy valentines day. indeed a sad day for all of us, like every day.

Once 2/14/2021 - 2:19 pm

“…and instead learned that I’ll never be as great as they are.”

Yes. Yes yes yes. We have difficulty getting past our ego to clearly see our … well. Ants and lemurs are the best. They don’t deal in denial, I presume, where we bathe in it, eat and breathe it, excrete it. We ARE it. Thank you for the wish.

system 2/14/2021 - 12:34 pm

This is slightly unrelated, but I love the way you write. It calms my mind.

Once 2/14/2021 - 2:20 pm

Thank you, System. 🙂

Once 2/14/2021 - 2:52 pm

I also enjoy reading your posts. I can’t relate to some of it, probably cuz I’m old, but you have a razor sharp precision to your thoughts and writing that reminds me of what it would take to be a lawyer or authority figure. You’re direct and concise, to the point, informed. You make me stop and think.

Mf 2/14/2021 - 4:11 pm

Thanks for sharing this, i really enjoyed reading your reflections on current life… and yes, i have to truly agree: we make no fucking sense. Maybe that’s why many spend most of their lives trying to find a sense to everything (i know i do at times), only to realize that it’s kind of futile. Still, there’s some things that do make life more manageable for some (imho), even if it’s a constant struggle to keep going.

Once 2/14/2021 - 4:21 pm

I shudder to think what life would be like without those things that make it decent. They come and go, and they’re important. Very important, some days more so than others. Thanks Mf.

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