I have a little notebook that I take with me most places I go. It is small enough to put in a pocket, and I have a short stubby pencil that fits in it. That way, when I hear something really funny or think of something wise, I can write it down and not lose my inspiration.
This is a really great idea, except for the fact that often when I get back to the notebook, I have NO IDEA what it was that was so great about the statement I recorded. So, in order to amuse and confound you, here are a few of the gleanings from my notebook, with a few short thoughts regarding them.
“Never trust a cook with clean pot holders.” This is pretty clear. If they aren’t stained and burned, they aren’t being used. The corollary to this is “A clean stove is a sign of a household who eats out too much.” Either that, or there is an obsessive compulsive living there. Neither of those corollaries are true in this house.
“The secrecy of our job prevents us from knowing what we are doing.” I think this was inspired by a discussion that Jim and Jay were having about FBI and CIA operations, but I’m not sure. Memories of those discussions are usually clouded with smoke and alcohol.
“How the labyrinth rocks connect me to people and places.” Once someone asked me how I could remember where all my labyrinth rocks came from. The short answer is, I review them regularly. The long answer is, every rock in the inner circle is precious to me, either I collected it or someone who A. loved me, B. respected me, or C. “got” the importance of the project took the trouble to send it to me. How can I forget the kindness of strangers and loved ones? When I trim the inner circle, I review the rocks as I work. Actually, the truth is that some of them I have to think very hard to remember where they came from, because there are so many now. I have started taking photos of them with labels before I take them to the labyrinth.
“Traveling far: changing river drainages” This thought came to me as I was driving up to the Fort for a doctor’s appointment. Almost every time I get onto I-44 for any distance, I think about the fact that the Interstate system in this country was largely built on the routes discovered by ancient people traveling on foot. The genesis of I-44 began back when Tenochtitlan was the center of trade in what is now Mexico, and Kahokia was a huge city at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Traders walking from one city to the other established the route which I-44 now follows. Not surprising that people walking with loaded packs would find the easiest route from one spot to another.
Anyway, the idea of moving from one watershed to another seemed like a good hallmark for what constitutes traveling “far.” Nowadays, we think nothing of hopping on an airplane in St. Louis and fully expect to arrive in San Francisco six hours later, a trek that 150 years ago took over a year and frequently resulted in the loss of your wife, children, or your own life. We routinely complain about having to spend 20 hours in an airplane so we can get to Australia from the US. How long did that take on a sailing ship, especially if you had to go around the Horn through the Straights of Magellan? Anyway there is a reason why we have all these tiny little hamlets scattered around Missouri about 15 to 20 miles apart. That was about as far as you wanted to take a horse or a wagon in a day. With the advent of paved highways and internal combustion engines, many of these tiny towns are simply ghost towns: Ira, Knob Noster, Falcon, Competition, Halfway, Tunas, Plad, Roach all come to mind.
And who names a town Roach anyway?