Thursday, November 24, 2005

Be a Savage Blogger

Be a Savage Blogger

Today is a holy day: Thanksgiving. Please be sure to do at least one thing that advances the spirituality of yourself and someone else.

I spent most of the day doing military training with the kids. The 5 year old and the 8 year old boys are brave, bloggery, aggressive, audacious, auspicious, enterprising, tenacious, vasperish.

They will engage in quick wit combat someday, like me, their predecessor.

But for now, we tromp through the woods, heroically, industriously, symbolically. I explain the metaphysical dynamics of each event. "A sticker bush is merely a problem to be solved and surmounted, not a disaster to fear or be defeated by."

The five year old swings from a vine over the creek as I push him over the cliff edge, out into space, and back again. Even if he slipped and plummeted, he'd barely get a bruise. But fully experiencing the anti-human savagery of the woods is the whole hidden purpose of the expedition.

We have to get filthy, itchy, tired, soiled, scuffed up, torn by stickers, tangled in burrs, with sappy branches slapping us in the eye. This discomfort zoning is an important part of the training. Goal = to despise softness, coddling, comfort, and ease. To hasten toward exploration, innovation, and adventure, instead.

All wounds and injuries are scoffed at heartily, "You're okay. It will stop stinging in a few minutes. This is the woods. It doesn't like us."

The wilderness is not designed for our comfort or values. It falters beneath us, cuts us with sharp needles, scratches up our faces, trips us with its debris, freezes our feet with foul stinking cesspools as we slide, unable to grab a treacherous vine, into the watery traps.

All this must be endured merrily, manfully, metaphorically. We press on.

Purpose? Go as far as you can, then return home, crossing the gulley, and up the steep hill to the dead end street car barrier, taking the ancient cracked sidewalk to our bungalow...then go right back to the starting point in the backyard, and do it again.

When the 8 year old got tangled in an unnoticed sticker bush, so that he could not move without the points digging more deeply into his leg, I came to his rescue, explaining the brevity of stinger pain, the glories of spartan-stoic courage, and the basis of the usability problems of the woods.

His tears evaporated rapidly as the cold Canadian air mass rushed against his cheeks.

"Girls like boys who are tough, fearless, curious, and have a self-induced rugged appearance, but who can also be gentle. Football players with fluffy toys," I proclaimed lecturishly, allowing ample time for spoken responses, articulated comment posting in the air. Mostly I get laughter.

He had been tunneling through thickets of brambly brush that I, being larger, tend to circumvent. Each hiker followed a similar consensus route, but also occasionally took little detours and tangents as seemed suitable to him in his individual trek.

The potential lair of a mountain lion was seen. Looked like a carved out cave, not deep, but enough for any large cat.

The rural legend of bobcats, pumas, and cougars is increasingly verified as fact: farmers and hunters hearing them scream their human banshee shrieks on the shrouded hilltops, there, just beyond the dog kennel. Dead danger-cats are showing up here and there.

And what is to be done when you meet a mountain lion suddenly, after it has stalked you for 10 minutes, slinking from bush to bush?

You must know how to stand one off, prepared and able to hurt it massively, with lightning speed and careful aim should it get too close. Cats like to play with their food, and like to kill for sport and fun. Sounds like us, doesn't it? But in this case, we're the food.

Never run, which they interpret as the thrill of the bloodlust chase. Do NOT run!

Large cats love the sport of speeding after their prey. That's what their strategy consists of: pounce and tear into the meat. Running works up their appetite, culminating in a deeply indulged, carnivorous ecstasy.

Practice keeping your eyes open for weapons wherever you are. Look for a large brick, a rusty sheet of iron, a hefty stick, a bridgework bar. I generally carry a razor-sharp Army machete. At night, that and a million candle-power halogen spotlight gun. It can blind mammals at close range, and then I'd start slicing.

Over rotten trees that crumble as we crawl over them, our feet slipping into the stinky black toilet of decaying husks and shadows below, its stench making us sick to our turkey-bloated stomachs...still, we marched on.

Half a deteriorating tree, reduced to fluff and moss, a powdery dream of a trunk, the half I was currently traversing, cracked and dropped, with me close behind it, down we tumbled on the muddy slope, into the foul sewage stream.

Found a puppet, "Woody" that we fished out of the iced over pool, set it up on a mossy log. And it, to show its appreciation, peed all down its leg and all over the place. We call him "Mr. Pee Pee Pants".

Leaf pile forts, amassed on the north side of the bungalow, were created later, with private apartments and tunnels. To see a little boy emerge from a pile of leaves that gave no indication that it contained a small fellow, that was quite a spooky sight.

Experiences like these translate translucently into savagery, strength, stamina. What every blogger needs.

Run gleefully out into blizzards, bundled up and full of joy. Ride a bicycle through a blinding downpour. Have a picnic in a hailstorm. Jump repeatedly and cheerfully off a 60 foot cliff in Racine, Wisconsin, into a strip mine lake (Vaspers did this).

Triumph over things to become more triumphalist in your blog.

Be a Savage Blogger.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



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