Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting and Spending

So, over here in my corner, a sudden outbreak of employment has definitely put a pinch on blog time and on time in general. A huge ramping up of certain cactus activities also. 1,500 cactus seedlings and the beginnings of a population study for a taxon soon to be listed as endangered, for example. Plus there was Duology 4. And the visit to the poet's parents' farm/ranch in Northeast Texas. The 14,000 words of copy generated for the Santa Fe Reporter's Annual Manual special issue. By comparison, what seemed to be my "real job" teaching Algebra 1 to extraordinarily reluctant art students shifted into being a fairly pleasant, regular part of the day.

Those of you who freelance on deadline, writing or otherwise, probably know what I'm talking about. Maybe I'm drawn to freelance work because I dislike being on a schedule in the first place, or think I do. So the task at first stretches out before me, the deadline often many days away. No problem, I figure. Not liking being on a schedule leads to...not making a schedule. Then the work gets done, but under pressure and just in time. As if I actually do have a boss after all. Maybe just because I'm familiar with the pattern, I re-create it in areas where it doesn't necessarily have to manifest. Who knows?

Back to cacti. Spring has definitely settled in here, but the first wave of seedlings was sown on Thanksgiving. So there are about 500 sexy looking little plants from that. Then on February 12 I sowed two more trays, about 1000 seedlings from that.

The Echinomastus erectocentrus acunensis population out near Florence AZ started kicking flowers.

I had been keeping population data with GPS coordinates and so on for a few months and ended up forwarding the info to the chief plant ecologist at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (the type locality for the species). By coincidence, the US Fish and Wildlife Service was collecting data for possible listing of the plant for federal protection, and the plant ecologist there, friends with the plant ecologist at OPCNM, was lamenting that no one had been out to check on the Florence population. So the data that I put together will be included in the listing proposal. It's good to be even marginally useful without really intending it.

My own little backyard cactus farm has been showing a lot of flowers already as well.

The trips to habitat consume entire days, usually on weekends.

As if in spite of relatively enjoyable happenings, a strangely intense jag of despondency definitely settled in from roughly January to roughly now. A gray beast. Consciousness greeted with utter resentment. The simplest of tasks seeming enormous, casting long icy shadows. Perhaps a feature of my existence for a long time, especially in winter, but masked in the past by intoxicants. Raw and naked in sobriety. Maybe I should get it checked out. Thing is, I feel better. I feel better enough to contemplate giving the depression some attention. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think? Maybe if I just make sure shotguns, knives, ropes and toxins are out of the house from January to April?

Then there's music. A universe of conflicting realities for me. I want to be in it but I've been totally sick of it also. Soaked in it like brine for a while. The sheen goes off, and music just seems like a ridiculous chore or an activity utterly without consequence. I'm deaf, the world's deaf and it's no great loss, really. Scorched earth feeling. As if, since there are no words left for what I'm passionate about, there might as well be total silence. There's that part of me like a flailing child, tantrum-ed out and completely frazzled over something incommunicable. So, good luck writing anything about it.

But first things first: a return to JAZZ by Rex Harris. In particular, some uneducated reactions and responses to what constitutes his initial argument in the etiology of the music, namely, slavery and its ramifications. But not this morning. I have things to do.


the unreliable narrator said...

"Consciousness greeted with utter resentment", oh yeah. We got your utter resentment right here baby. DO...NOT...WANT!!!

NB however that the house is already shockingly empty of toxins et al. I know, because I lay in bed in my study through much of January and February, shivering and freaking out and locked in anxiety and avoidance and mentally tallying all the harmful objects/substances available, including but not limited to cactus fertilizer. Which would probably just make us have shinier, healthier spines.

We just should never come back from Mexico, is all. Surely translated into Spanish I would be a newer, better me?

Finally, those darkbrownred flowers? are HOT. Just like your nimble cynical botany-obsessed musically-drained depressive most saturnine self, peanut.

Dan said...

Love the cacti pictures, I could look at them all day.

If you think winters in the Southwest are depressing, come on out to gray Chicago!

peter breslin said...

Dan, I can't do Chicago. Obviously. I'd need a light box the size of an entire wall.

One thing seems true though: the great art comes from gray places, generally. Lots of practice time, no reason to go outside. That's my theory anyway.

Tere said...

Qué fotos tan bonitas! No hay nada como la floración de un cactus. Muy bonito. Saludos