Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Facing the Wind

The only obstetrician in the small Texas town admitted five women in five hours to the local hospital. Each had a different threat to her pregnancy. Will the hospital run out of beds? It's possible, someone said. We did not smile.

It is unusual to have so many obstetric emergencies at the same time. Is it a full moon? Sun spots?

My first thought was that it was from the smell scraped off the surfaces of the slaughterhouse north of town. Someone said they installed low-water systems for conservation, to go "green." Doesn't low water mean it's harder to hose off all the blood? I admit I've never seen the inside of a slaughterhouse / packing plant, so I have no idea how they use water. Do they have high-pressure hoses? I'm all for green.

The wind is blowing. I have to tell you it is not necessarily a good thing. However, I want to face the wind whenever I have to, and I want to look at it -- even when it's cold and frustrating -- as a blessing and a life-giving force. The wind turns the turbines on the south edge of town. Yes, I'm in northwest Texas, again, in the Panhandle nirvana of the essential elements: earth, wind, and the fiery sun....

Naoya Shiga: A Dark Night's Passing. The orphaned boy met his grandfather, who held his fate in his hand. The boy was six years old. To him, the old man looked thin and cruel. Taking an instant dislike to one's imposed patriarch does not strike me as wrong.


I'd like to have a nice, long talk to figure out what went wrong (and what goes right).

But, we'd probably go in circles. At least, that's what I do. I approach the truth, or at least an essential, unchanging element, and suddenly, I'm a bead of mercury and I deflect myself, or I shatter into a thousand tiny globules. Eventually, I reconverge with my brother and sister globules, and I'm a big bead of mercury all over again - just with a small film of dust on the top.

By the way, it's surprising how we used to play with mercury -- how we did not know the risks, in spite of Mad Hatters and birth defects in the old gold towns in Nevada and California, where they used cinnabar (mercury sulfide) to dissolve the gold from the ore. My mother disinfected my wounds with white merthiolate -- it did not sting like the red stuff. Both had a base of mercury.

I scraped myself often in those barefoot summers of running across lawns, down the street, and into the neighbors' splash ponds, fountains, and pools. We converged to play, tiny globules who would soon forget what it was like to be a zippy little bead of light and inexplicable chemical.