I had to start. It is just too much of October to me and though it’s fine and reasonable to do it whenever, I needed to start now, while it was still October. I don’t know how that’s going to work, how I’m going to work nine nights in a row, but once you’re in, you’re in, so I’ll just make it happen.

Talking about religious things is difficult and yet, if we don’t, how will the people who come after us know the landscape?

So, it’s like this, for me. I believe there is this world and the other world and that they sit, nestled in each other, and we will all pass over one day, but sometimes you can press against the curtain and make out the faint shapes of folks on the other side. Sometimes, you can feel them press back.

For me, it is a sensation of leaning forward, more than anything. I don’t know how else to explain it. There’s here and you lean forward a little and there’s there. Usually, I’m not leaning forward with my body, though there are times when I come back and my body is leaning forward.

I think of it like learning to be intoxicated without the intoxicants. It’s nothing to hallucinate after dropping acid. But to learn to hallucinate without it is the trick. If you think of it like a piano, you know, someone hits the key and the note is made. But, in this case, you are the piano and you are trying to pull down that key in order to strike that note. It’s tricky, but you know the key depresses. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it come down without a finger’s weight on it.

So, yeah, you totally could use drugs. I don’t because I have a job and I need the health insurance. But you could.

Otherwise, you just have to practice.

I worry this sounds crazy. And yet, when folks talk about the power of prayer or whatever, that’s okay. And really, it’s all equally crazy or not.

So, this is what I do. I mark off a space, usually with lit candles surrounding me. I set something to smoldering–usually herbs from my garden–so that it even smells different. Tonight it was sage, rosemary, and lavender. And then, I sit there quietly and wait for the shift. For my brain to let go enough that I can lean in. And sometimes, it’s like a fairy tale. And sometimes, it’s like a dream. And sometimes, you can’t quite connect.

And sometimes, it’s really wild and strange and wonderful.

This is the most important thing I do for myself all year, to reconnect and recommit to a world wild and ultimately fundamentally unknowable, to learn and practice the signs and skills folks before me have figured out.

I suppose it’s possible that it’s all in my head. But I have to say, even if it is, it’s a part of me I can’t otherwise get to, that lets me work through things I otherwise can’t figure out. And it for sure causes my brain to produce some chemical that makes me feel good, which seems to me to be a sign that my brain would like me to continue to do it.

In other words, I’m not sure a dismissive, logical explanation would really change its importance for me.

25. Lock One Park

Here, behind a low stone wall, down a little traveled road, in back of a church on Trinity Lane is Lock One Park. It goes without saying that there used to be a lock here on the Cumberland River. And before that, Eaton’s Station, within sight of Fort Nashboro, which most folks, back in the day, called French Lick Station.

If you can get over the stone wall, the park slowly descends down to the river and throughout are foundations of old buildings, old tracks, old paths, old walls.

If you feel inclined, you should go down about half way to the river, just past where the path curves and the ruins switch from stone to brick. Sit there for a while. I can’t tell you how long. Sometimes shutting your eyes helps.

You’ll hear the noise from the nearby interstate and kids playing up at street level and birds, the constant chatter of birds. You might hear a mother, calling for her child. Nothing strange about that, except the accent sounds so old-fashioned. And your wait is soon satisfied by the sound of children running past, delighted with a frog or a crawfish they found.

You might also hear the zip of the back and forth of saws on trees and men working to clear the timber from the hills. And there is the noise of the barge as it signals its approach to the lock. And there are the thwacks of arrows hitting wood. And there is the sound of the thunder of thousands of bison moving past you to wade through the shallows.

Still, wait for it. Do not yet open your eyes.

Give it long enough and you might hear a thud like a log falling to the ground, followed by another, and another, until you realize those are footsteps. The smell, also, will be a give away. Maybe, if you are lucky, there will be a whole herd.

Stay still. But open your eyes and see the mastodons, come down to the river to drink, their ghosts still roaming the state, in large herds, though this is the only surefire place to see them.

Some People Don’t Get to Vote for Gary Moore and I am Sad for Them

Is Gary Moore a genius or does he just have someone on his campaign staff who is and, if it is the latter, can we put that person to work for the TNDP?

Check out Moore’s latest mailer. It’s basically “Do you want someone who sits around in his parents’ house eating Red Hots by the jar and typing away on his computer as your State Rep?” It’s basically “Let’s channel all people’s unease about kids today and bloggers and people who look vaguely like Jack Osborne into a mailer!”

It’s brilliant. Even the way the photo is leveled by the jar of Red Hots, thus leaving everything else slightly askew has a nice unsettling effect.

If Moore wins reelection (good lord willing), he needs to give some seminars to his fellow Dems on how to do hardball right.

Ponzi Scheme of Evil

I don’t know if y’all saw this over at Pith, but I was discussing how it turns out that the lead lawyer for the assholes trying to stop the Murfreesboro mosque is also the president of the assholes trying to stop the Murfreesboro mosque.

It seems legal but hinky. I mean, lawyers have to eat, just like everyone else, so I get why they would take on unsavory clients. But being your own unsavory client? And then taking the money assholes give you and spreading it around to your friends so that they can do such important things as read websites into the court record?

It just seems like a scam.

But what has really stuck with me since writing this is wondering about the dynamics of the people who give money towards this nonsense. How do you know when you’re a misunderstood Superman and when you’re just a fool standing outside in his long-johns? Is it harder to admit you’re just a fool in his underwear once you’ve given money?

And there’s a weird ego thing going on with the idea that you, small group of Tennesseans, would somehow have secret knowledge that everyone else for the past 1500 years has been too stupid to realize.

But my favorite thing is that basically their whole case, so far, seems to boil down to “There are groups, such as ours, who really hate Muslims and don’t want them to be able to do anything, therefore Muslims shouldn’t be able to do anything.”

They really think that for some reason they can’t quite articulate, probably even to themselves, they should get the deciding vote in how their communities develop.

It’s stunning to watch them willingly hand their money to charlatans who promise to help them defend that right.