Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The world is whatever you wish it to be

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
With apologies to Robert Frost, I am absolutely certain the world will end in ice, and climate change will have nothing to do with it. My mind dwells on winter this year. For those who have not noticed in the past, my winter begins on November 1 and continues through March 31. So, it has begun, not on the calendar or in reality. (The photograph is old, taken on February 20, 2014, from the open door of my garage; the view is a metaphor of my mind.) Winter has been in and on and enveloping my mind the past few days, and I am not sure where these thoughts are leading. I usually wish to escape winter, but rarely have and this year I even have been thinking about doing a bit of winter camping if I do not manage a lengthy trip far, far away from home. There have been winters in the past when I have set up camp in a snow/ice cave for days at a time, but that has been a while. Now, I seem to be yearning to do it again. Just below the surface, however, as always, is a wish to escape to something/to somewhere new and to don a new mask. (What could be made more obvious than that by the selection of the music for this post ??) Well, we shall see which winter comes to pass this year, shan't we .... a winter with an ice cave or a winter of escape ??

Some say the world will end in fire
Some say in ice

For a number of years when I lived on a hilltop near the Missouri River, I had a custom I suppose would cause some people to question my ??22!!**$$33[] stability. Actually, it was a way of clinging to an element from my past I could not let go of and a means to communicate with people and to return to places which had disappeared into time, but which I sensed were still with me in a dimension just out of sight, just out of reach. (Are you totally confused now ??)

The last thing I did each night before I went to bed was go outside to a rise of land and fire four pistol or rifle shots into the air, one in each direction. It did not matter what time it was; it did not matter what the weather was -- summer heat or winter cold; gentle rain or torrential rain; a light, moonlit snowfall or a howling blizzard. It was my custom, and part of a promise to keep some memories alive for as long as I lived.

It was beautiful there some nights, especially with countless glistening stars and a full moon and the black river meandering a half-mile in the distance. It was the river of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with its white, chalk stone cliffs reaching up to the bluffs where the explorers parleyed with Native American tribes more than two hundred years ago. Their spirits still wandered there, I often sensed.

I had cleared the area of trees and brush, and it was not unusual for deer to slowly move out of the meadow-like hilltop as I arrived. There were times when a pack of coyotes would line the edge of the clearing watching me. In the spring, the sound of the ice breaking up on the river would carry to the hilltop. When atmospheric conditions were right, the gunshots would echo on and on and on.

As echoes reverberated down the river valley, it seemed only natural to believe there were spirits listening, remembering the sounds of their own rifles -- and, feel running water from rain going down their collars as I was feeling it or the stinging bite of sleet on their faces as I was experiencing on mine.

I will not go any further into this custom or the reasons for it. It has no foundation in logic or in common sense, but emerges from primitive instinct. I will say that even today, when I am at home, I still adhere to this custom, but without the four gunshots into the dark night. City life has ended that segment (for now). I simply go outside now as the last thing I do before I tumble into bed (be it a chair, the floor, a love seat/couch or ....) and spend a bit of time looking in each of the four directions and sending a smile or a wish or a memory drifting away from me into that other dimension which lies just beyond my reach.

The reason these thoughts have surfaced now is because November 1 is the start of FramWinter, and, probably because the beauty of snowy, frigid winter nights paints more vivid portraits in my memory than do the nights of other seasons. And, in the back of my mind, I realize the pagan part of me actually believes in FimbulWinter. I relish and I celebrate the obscure, especially that which is within me.


13 comments:

ANITA said...

Beautiful story from your life Fram!i wish i could live like that.A magic dream.i love when you write like this.

Thank you for the music as well Fram.I will listen to it while Iam going to sleep now

Havea great day my friend!

Fram Actual said...

You have been keeping a low profile the past few days, Anita. I was beginning to wonder if you were traveling or had fallen in love or simply were working long, long days. In any case, you did find my post and you wrote a very complimentary comment for me. Thank you.

I began this custom in 1991. It was a cruel October for me in many ways. To lift my spirits, I bought a revolver on October 30. The next day, Halloween, a ferocious blizzard began, leaving knee-deep snow on the ground and drifts three or four feet high by the time it had ended. Halloween night, I went outside to the rise of ground in the midst of the snowstorm and fired the revolver in the four directions. That first time, the shots mostly were fired in anger at Nature's tempest. There is a bit more to the story, but I will end it there for now.

The music is wonderful. The masks are wonderful. Mystery can be wonderful.

Thank you once more, Anita. Your presence makes me happy.

Kaya said...

Beautiful, beautiful post about your memories and winter!

Should I call you right now FramWinter? Or still Fram? Winter for you starts with November 1st; I wish it would not be so fast. I know how harsh can be winters where you live.

I can't imagine how you can camp in the winter. Brrr... it's cold but you wrote about sky and stars and I believe you that it can be very.... I try to find a right word but can't. The only one that comes to my mind is the word COURAGEOUS. Camping in the winter is very courageous. You are out of your comfort zone and try to enjoy what you have.

Fram, I am glad that you write your memories here, that you preserve them and try to keep them alive.

I enjoyed very much reading this post. Stay warm and be NICE to yourself.


Kaya said...

Music is wonderful! A very good choice to select it!

Fram Actual said...

When you grow up in a place like Minnesota, Kaya, you have become so acclimated during your childhood to snow and to cold that winter is a state of mind and a time in which you can do things you cannot do any other time of the year.

My senior year in high school, another boy and I spent two weeks during our Christmas vacation living in an "ice/snow house" we made on a lake. We ate in it, slept in it and caught fish through a hole in our "bedroom floor" in it. I could tell you stories of falling through rotten ice in springtime, having tents collapse in the middle of the night from a heavy snowfall, hunting excursions in the midst of blizzards. Things like that were games to me, fun for me. And, when you think about it, there are places in the world above the Arctic Circle where people still live lives much like that even in the Twenty-first Century.

By the way, I have had similar experiences in places like the Mohave Desert, and much prefer the cold to the heat.

I suppose I finally have reached an age where I am becoming civilized and my body cannot take the beatings it once did, but you cannot take the wild boy out of the man or the primitive instincts out of an educated mind. I am a survivalist in every sense of the word.

Actually, I am Fram Actual. FramWinter comes and goes every year, but Fram Actual never changes (very much).

History is the key to everything, I think, and that includes personal history. For instance, it includes learning from past mistakes and evaluating what directions to take when it is time to look for a new pathway. Memories are like muscles; they must be used if they are to serve a person in the future in a beneficial manner.

So, Kaya, thank you for your appearance and your words. I really appreciate them. And, yes, the music is special and I am beginning to think there might be more to Venice than Harry's Bar.

PhilipH said...

Winters, especially when we lived in Scotland, could be murderous - death by freezing was not exceptional. I am always glad when it's over.

Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons.

Can you imagine what Syrian refugees are having to face now? I cannot bear to think of the young children and babies are going to have to contend with. Not there is much we individuals can do but hope these youngsters make it through, somehow.

I'm a declared atheist and these kids and their Mums being slaughtered one way or another simply confirms my belief that ALL religions are total fantasy.

Nice piece of music; not your usual bag though enjoyable.

Cheers.

A Cuban In London said...

A celebration I am not familiar with. But then, again, I am not pagan. :-)

Four shots, huh? I can imagine myself coming up with all kinds of Freudian theories about it, not having ever read Freud. So, it would be a lot of cod psychology, then.:-) But it could be interpreted as a way of exorcising one's demons before giving your physical self the rest it deserves. Our mental and spiritual selves continue, I believe. Did the shots ring out in the quiet night? Winter nights are muffled, especially when it snows.

Re the Yanks, I have been a fan for 20-odd years, back to when I used to live in Cuba. We had only two television channels and no, MLB was never broadcast in those days. C'mon, we're talking when Fidel was still in power. What did happen was the some people who lived close to foreign embassies realised that by using a coat hanger "creatively" they could access foreign television channels (mainly American). One of my mates used to live right next door to the Japanese embassy. That's when I came across MTV, CNN, TNT and other American channels. In those days there was only one that broadcast most baseball games (I forget which now). There were no fanciful panels with fast-talking experts crunching statistics. There were games, analysis and... goodnight.

Oh, yes, man, I've got stories to tell. That's when I fell for the mighty Yanks. :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I agree with your seasonal selections in terms of weather, Phil, but in terms of superstition and luck, I usually am holding my breath throughout October and a bit on either side of it. I hibernate as much as I am able during October.

I have "spent" a number of words berating Barack Obama, in particular, and federal government leadership (including wannabe leadership), in general, regarding the role of the United States in the Middle East since George the Younger decided to finish off a job not completed by George the Elder, as well as to avenge slings and arrows aimed at his father by certain Iranian and Iraqi figures. Nothing done by those two "gentlemen," however, can compare to the gross incompetence and malfeasance demonstrated by Obama, AKA, the man who would be king.
Obama might possess intelligence, but he is utterly devoid of wisdom.

For good measure, I would add that neither has it been a shining moment for Western European leadership. Well, I will stop with that.

As someone who has not been in a church since I was age fourteen other than for weddings and funerals, I disagree with the position of the atheist just as much as I disagree with the stance of a devoted believer. As for churches, I think in most instances organized religions do more good than harm, and there seems to be no system which logically could replace them in terms of keeping the masses relatively calm. Karl Marx tried, and failed dismally.

It is not unusual for me to toss music other than rock 'n' roll in with a post, although rock rules most days for me.

It is nice to see you again, Phil. It has been a while, and I was beginning to worry a bit. Thank you, for your presence and your words.

Fram Actual said...

Hmmmm .... FimbulWinter is not a celebration, CiL. In Norse mythology, AKA, Old Norse religion, it is the final winter before Ragnarok -- the final battle between the forces of good and evil, and the end of this earth, sort of .... I will not bother to elaborate on the meaning of the "sort of" designation.

FimbulWinter will last for three years, without summers or any other seasons. It is a time of death, destruction, war and a total collapse of social norms. It is the end of law and order. So, you might understand how such a phenomenon appeals to the belief system of someone with my romantic views.

I do not think the four shots are Freudian or even especially symbolic. It simply is one shot in each of the four cardinal directions. When I think about it, the sequence was not the same from one night to the next. It was rotating, the last direction of one night being the first direction of the next night. As I mentioned in my reply to Anita's comment, the very first time the shots were fired was in anger, more or less a symbolic gesture to ward off/frighten away the snow and cold forces of winter: I was a primitive man trying to battle the god of winter storms. After that first night, the routine became more of a salute to those who once had walked the earth with me, but no longer were alive and present in my life -- one individual in particular.

I enjoyed the tale about your innovative discovery of American television programming and, chiefly, American baseball in the form of the New York Yankees. Actually, life was not too different for me than it was for you in terms of television. Living in the distant hinterlands, our initial television reception consisted of two channels, which generally went off the air by midnight. Antenna reception was sketchy much of the time, and it was not unusual for reception to fail about halfway through a program; the remaining portion would be lost and the ending never known.

In terms of sports, football was my love. There would be one professional game every Sunday afternoon. That was it. In many ways, football and baseball and all sports coverage has become more hype and entertainment than athletic endeavor. The cult of the personality has taken over, and that makes it less interesting and less enjoyable for me.

I am glad to see you here, CiL, and, to employ the words "interesting" and "enjoyable" once again, I would use them to describe your comment. Thank you, very much.

ANITA said...

Hei og Velkommen Fram!!Hihihihih
Had to leave a comment to you!You velkommen:)))))

its always Nice to hear the americans speak Norwegian!!sometimes we laugh loudly..its soo funny!!:))))

Thanx again for wonderful Winther landscape photo you took..Do you still have that coofecup With the lady bird on it??i remember it very well:)))one Cold day at Your Apartment:))))

Ok Fram i am at work so have to take care of my patiens

God Kveld I Stuen:)))))

Hilsen Anita

Fram Actual said...

Three of my four grandparents spoke Norwegian as small children, Anita, and the fourth spoke German until he started school. But, you would never hear me try to speak your language so you and your compatriots would not have the opportunity to laugh at me. By the way, I really do have that sign.

I think you mean the lady bug walking round and round on the rim of a large cup/bowl. The lady bug stayed behind when I left the townhouse or, possibly, hid inside one of the boxes with my belongings and never emerged. She was a pleasant guest for a few days. The cup I still have, and use it frequently with chili and soup. It was made in a ceramics class and given to me by a former boyfriend of one of my daughters. I really like it. I liked the boyfriend, too, but he was sort of weird.

Now, while you are caring for your patients, I will be packing a few items. I am leaving in the morning on a short trek, and will be home Monday evening.

Thank you, for coming by again and for your comment, Anita.

A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for the reply. I meant "celebration" in general, as in "acknowledging" but you're right, it is not a celebratory tradition.

Once upon a time when I was still a knee-high to a grasshopper I read a lot about Norse mythology. In fact, I read a lot about mythology in general. My two favourite types were the ancient Greco-Roman world and the Scandinavian one. I also sought time for my very own Afro-Cuban roots and touched on the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas. I sometimes get flashbacks of some of the tales and myths I read at the time.

Interesting to read your thoughts about sport. Having just found out now that my soccer (football for us) team has lost again, for the 7th time this season, I am revising my passion for sport. I am not a fair weather fan, by the way, but I do have other priorities in life. :-) Following Chelsea Football Club is, at the moment, not one of them.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I am "gone" from home for a few days, CiL, and just as my body is wandering, so, too, is my mind -- far away from my post and from the blogs.

My own beginnings in mythology began much the same as your own, with Greek and Roman, then mine moving across the Mediterranean Sea to Egyptian and into the Middle East with those myths of the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Mesopotamians and, dare I put it this way, the Israelites.

It was not until I was in my mid-teens that I became fascinated by Norse mythology as an extension of reading about Viking history in terms of raids and exploration. There are many, for instance, who believe Vikings reached as far inland as Minnesota in North America, and I have an axe head which might be a relic of their presence.

If you should feel your interest in mythology resurfacing, I would suggest turning to Joseph Campbell and reading his book, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," and his series, "The Masks of God." You might find yourself re-thinking your positions in some areas regarding the evolution of religion. Most people think and debate religion in the context of the last two thousand years or so, when the roots actually extend back in time several hundred thousand years. Think of god as a metaphor, then define the beginnings of the metaphor. I do not think it will change your mind, but it might enlighten you a bit.

Sports come and go with me. I am mostly a fair weather fan, and sports serve as a distraction at times. In a larger sense, I think sports should be played, not viewed, and professional sports should be disbanded.

Thank you, CiL. I am glad you stopped by again and happier still that you left a neat comment.

Something special ....