Spirit and Magic
Paradigms are patterns, and are meant to be shifted aside. I have been noting paradigm shifts in my life routinely, since I emerged from panic attack syndrome, eighteen months ago. I have documented many of these shifts, from my willingness to leave the mountain, to my change in attitude about having to wait in lines, including that of the Willits Bottleneck, which used to have the ability to stopping me, literally, in my tracks. Now? No problem.
One of these monumental alterations involves the wood-box in the lower living room, the one that keeps the big Blaze Queen stuffed and content. Say what? Exactly how “monumental” can a shift in logistics be, when it comes to deciding how to handle the firewood, which keeps my 3,000 plus square footage house warm, all winter long? I’ll let you decide.
Back in the day, I had to jostle my teaching career, with my responsibilities as a father, a provider, a caregiver to Mama, plus being a BMF besides, so there simply was no time for petty details. When it came to the big stove, the one that could keep the entire house warm, when the temperature dropped into the teens, and that north wind was howling, I did not mess around. This stove is most effective when we look out and see the wind whipping the bare oak branches around, the scraping and tapping of one errant branch, insistently reminding us, that we need to revisit the distance between tree and house.
During the years I taught, I kept a wood-box that was diabolically simple in its design. I built it four feet high, by four feet wide, by four feet deep, and then piled another three feet of wood on top of that. It took me five or six wheelbarrow loads of wood to fill the box, but then if we had a mild week, I would not have to bring wood in at all, until the weekend. It worked for all of those years.
Now, I no longer have any interest in expending the energy to bring in five or six loads of oak/madrone/manzanita at one setting. I am home most of the time, and frankly, I no longer wish to delegate that much room in my house for a mammoth wood-box. Now I have a metal ring, with room for two armloads of wood, a dozen chunks at the max. I start the fire early in the morning and stoke it three or four times daily, so I just go out the side door, each time, and grab an armload. It’s so much easier than what I had going, for so many years.
Another paradigm shift is I pick up hitch-hikers now, having decided that I can finally leave Tex, and his threatening hitch-hiker by the wayside. These days I find myself trucking down to Ukiah, more than I have in quite some time. The other day, on my way down, I stopped just south of Willits, and picked up two individuals, who were standing about twenty feet apart, so that I did not realize that they were traveling together.
I was in my Ranger, a mid-sized pickup, with the two seats behind the driver and passenger, respectively, but not the crew-cab arrangement. I told the two of them, that I was happy that they should ride in the front, or the bed of the truck, whichever they preferred, and they leaped at the chance to get out of the damp weather.
Spirit was the older of the two, with red hair, including a fairly bristly mass of orange, creating havoc on his face. I would have put Spirit’s age at over fifty, easily, except for that orange beard. He had seem some hard times, and his face reflected that, but there was no gray in the beard. He was never really able to articulate a complete sentence, instead bursting out with discordant phrases, expressing either approval or disapproval.
Spirit had a CD in his backpack, that he immediately reached for, and asked that he could hear “The Beetles in the Bark.” It was fast-paced, and Spirit wanted to hear it loud. Magic sat behind him, and I had much better communication with him, by simply glancing back and being able to make eye contact.
Magic was in his twenties, and appeared Hispanic. He was calm and quiet, and very appreciative of the ride. I felt that Magic served as some sort of caretaker, or guide, for Spirit. It seemed as though Magic maintained a thread of attention towards Spirit, and that the two of them were partners. It was hard imagining Spirit without Magic. Why does that strike a familiar note?
It's the same as me, Spirit, with Annie, Magic, who provides the enchantment in my life, only my beard is no longer red.