Last Things

It is starting to sink in that this is not a drill. This is not the projection of some future possibility that one day, we would leave this place, dead or alive.

This is an acceptance, almost, that one day, this in-the-present hardscape would become a distant abstraction on the globe, an amalgamated assortment of place-and-people memories, a thousand pieces of fused colored glass–beautiful to conjure but difficult to make out any of the original bits. One day, we would not be here, would be looking out at a different viewshed, from a different HeresHome, through different eyes.

One day, we would wake up dead or be moving from this place. Those were the options. And while we often spoke of our intention to leave here in a pine box, that would not have been the responsible thing for our children. While we could have continued to herd cats and keep body and soul together here for a few more years, that would only delay the inevitable day we would leave, and years in the future, a decision to leave would offer far fewer good years to settle in and make another place our home with its own amalgam of colored-glass memories.

And so we are moving.

And it turns out, of course, that there is a lot more to it than one day waking up in the same bed in a different house. It is not like the movies where an amnesiac suddenly finds themselves transported from their last recollections in the fifties into a different movie set they do not recognize. Maybe an acute rip-the-bandaid translation into another life would be desirable, if it could somehow become possible other than in a movie script. But ours will be a creeping crisis of opportunity, unfolding for at least a year. Probably more.

Out impending reality until June will be more like a six-month metamorphosis into a late instar that emerges at The Other Place, then continues internally to reform and reconnect the inner parts for another six to twelve months before emerging in a new skin, with new eyes to appreciate that Where that is not Goose Creek.

And with this reality setting in, it is certain that many of the things we do between now and June we will be doing for the last time:

There will be a last time we sit on the front porch with friends and a bottle of wine.

There will come a last time we walk the pasture loop while calling this our own place; we may walk it years hence as visitors when it is another’s, if that is not too bittersweet a revery to contemplate.

We will hear for the last time the creek through the open bedroom window, will hear perhaps once more the whippoorwill who visits briefly in the spring, will smell for the final time the maple sweetness when the sap drips on the first warmish spring day.

I will load the list stick of firewood into the maw of the Quadrifire, the last of the thousands that have, since November 1999, been hefted a half dozen times between the forest edge and the waiting coals from last night’s fire. And since we may not have wood heat Over There, the very last loading of a lifetime may happen as the first buds swell and the days stay warm in late April. How I will miss this part of who I have been.

We will, on that last day, have taken our last senses-wide-open panorama in our minds and memories with immense gratitude, two figures in a snow-globe fantasy land left behind as we drive out of here with our past in the rear view mirror.

But I also remember that we did all those things here for a first time when Goose Creek was unfamiliar and not ours quite yet. And while not so many things for so many years after we reach The Other Place, we will know first things again.

On Commitment

I’m beating the rush for New Year’s Resolutions, and thought I’d go ahead and start failing to keep mine ahead of schedule.

I’ve realized that I have allowed myself to get too unfocused and content to merely wander, digitally-speaking; while physically, in our current and unfamiliar dogless condition my geographic wandering covers only the distance between the back porch and the woodpile. This has got to change.

I do have the need to get things done, both because they tend to pile up like a sink-full of dirty dishes, left ignored; and because it galls me to see my to-do list being rolled over from Monday all the way to Friday unchecked. I can do better.

Writing words-per-day or completed “book parts” are worthless measures of my recent productivity. Firewood added to the stacks from the year’s deadfall has been a typical measure of things-gotten-done in winters past. This year, with our future housing uncertainty, I am not using my new old Ford Ranger to cut up perfectly good and relatively easy stove wood from up the valley. The stacks out my window, depleted, stay that way, down to the runners. This weighs heavily on my manhood.

At the same time all this is going on, I feel like I am making some progress in the “how and when to get things done” department, which overlaps with the how to save and find topical information again department. My digital house is more or less in order, the one over my head and under my feet, not so much.

With regard to the writing, I won’t beat the same dead horse that blogging’s nerve has been severed by Facebook and by my own lassitude and by having not worked to maintain my “platform” as publishers call it: your user cred measured in how many thousand people subscribe to your podcasts and blog; how many thousand you have spoken to in live audiences on regional TV and radio.

This latter deficit in my writer-cred has been one of the death blows to my early zeal in getting One Place Understood published-published, not self-published like books one and two. That fiction is over. What will become of the seventy five thousand words already tossed into the folder, more or less randomly and more or less unpolished, remains to be known.

My latest inclination is to just “put it out there” publicly in some way and let what few readers find it and show interest take what they might from it, and move on.

Another option I’m considering is creating a digitally accessed pdf that is nicely laid out with a generous addition of photographs from my archives. This would be satisfying, relatively easy to do, and perhaps marketable to recoup some money for Goose Creek Press, bless its poor neglected heart.

There are ways to do digital journaling to replace the moribund blog. One might be via a writing-augmented-thinking tool called ROAM. Already I have started compartmentalizing my daily brain-nuggets into a bulleted outliner (DynaList) for structured lists OR into ROAM for idea and thought management, but also into a ROAM notebook that could become an evolving internally-networked blog-like vehicle for following my own interests while those few who choose to can look over my shoulder and follow the story.

With regard to that story, a new chapter looms. It will offer much to tell but little life-force to devote to the telling, I’m afraid. Hence, full “blog posts” are unlikely, while incremental snatches of it can go to the ROAM blog, already in place.

I have been posting blog posts to FaceBook where the readers have gone. But lately a lot of my posts there are ignored and of no interest to those hangers-out. So only the few subscribing readers of Fragments can go to the link presently. Maybe I’ll try to share the link with a larger audience some day.

This post at Fragments is now duplicated over at the HOME FRONT PAGE. Let me know if you drop by. The Strange Farmer of Erehwon will be waiting for you.

Reprise: Of Memories and Hopes and Golden Dreams – Fragments from Floyd

Tools for Thought

It’s a niche interest, maybe; geeky, if you will. But I continue to explore ways that the computer keyboard and monitor that most of us have in our homes these days can do a better job of gathering information and meaning, and not just stupefying us with entertainment and distraction.

Also, we presently lack good ways of validation and credibility of the sources we find to support our thinking (we seldom set out to find evidence that falsifies our strongly-held beliefs.)

Add to that the way the present web connects resource to resource, but plays little or no role in weighing of one resource over another for our purposes (ideas, concepts, thought webs, creative design.)

There are tools both extant and under development to address both the credibility and integration of resources towards “cognitive productivity” and “augmented learning.” Our brains are not being used to best effect with the current siloed info-aggregators. If there ever was a time we needed collaborative wisdom, it is now.

So possibly, I will write here about my explorations in memory and thought-enhancement by the tools and techniques at our disposal. One of those might be contained in this video. Another, a evolving outline in a tool for creative thought called ROAM–at this link.

A Future of Keystrokes, Minutes and Synapses

These are the things that I tell myself every morning are in limited and consistently depleted supply. Every morning, this reality should drive me to the top of my task and projects list.

And almost every morning, instead, I’m not driven anywhere in particular, other than where my whimsy points me—whimsy backed by curiosity, interest and the hope of discovering something new to know that I didn’t know I wanted or needed to know.

It turns out that “genius” and creativity hold a place for undisciplined “wandering”. I recommend this article that looks at the role of aptitude and focused work versus serendipity, wasting time and just showing up–in the realm of becoming a master of some domain of knowledge or ability.

The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius by Paul Graham

Meanwhile (as Steven Colbert is fond of saying with great drama) I have now purchased three Affinity apps: Photos, Designer and Publisher. The latter two are now on sale for $35. I have bailed from Adobe products and now OWN outright the tools for digital creativity, should I ever be in that line of hobby-work again. I may yet need to create posters, handbills, etc should I venture into another magnum opus or dust off my speaker’s notes.

BTW I used Designer to cobble the graphic in a few minutes, and in time, will figure out why the WordPress editor won’t position the image properly. But for now, approximate is close enough for what you pay me.

And finally, tomorrow our little kitten Mosey (grown from 2.5 pounds to almost 7 now) goes to town to (as Gary Larsen would have it) to get TUTORED. We will hope to contain her in the carrying tote we purchased for just this purpose; listen to her howl between Goose Creek and town; and fetch her, less her baby software, tomorrow afternoon, and hope that she forgive us this additional insult, so close on the heels of leaving her at home alone for 4 days (with occasional human resupply and mostly failed attempts at socialization.)

So as you note here, this is one the once familiar “Seinfeld” blog posts about nothing in particular. But I paid my server-host friend for another year of hosing Fragments, so I’ll be darned if I’m going to be totally silent for the next 12 months. I’m looking for ways to streamline the process, lower the friction to posting and to image discovery and down-res-ing for blog purposes.

So I may in future be saying more about less. But I can’t promise I won’t get wound up and churn out an essay, homily or screed.