Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I am Sofa King, Wechaw Jed.

Listening to: Morcheeba, Big Calm

Vacation time in early November; not to the Caribbean but up to the mountains, to stay in a friend’s remote cabin, just myself and Joseph Heller, Gustave Flaubert, and cheap bottle of shiraz, no phone, no internet, no noise other than the crackle of a fire and the soft flop of snow falling from tree branches.

Colorful drinks with fruit on plastic swords? Sweaty folds of flesh beneath Aloha shirts? Drunken spastics on a disco floor or painted shells strung on fishing line? That’s not a vacation, that’s an expensive trip to a bored Dominatrix. Finding myself miles from the nearest bleep or blip bubbling beneath the skin of society, isolated from the soul-hammering yammer of media nitwits - that’s my escape.

Driving into the mountains on Friday, I hit heavy snowfall, serious November flakes the size of maple leaves streaking past the windshield like a leap into hyperspace, leaving this galaxy and entering the frontier of darkness. Mahler’s Symphony #1 for the soundtrack, first movement perfect for venturing through the slipstream, each measure bringing me closer to revealing the mystery around the next corner which merely hints at the unknown beyond. As my tires crunched into the newfallen snow in front of the cabin, Mahler brought the final movement to crescendo, carrying me inside and the rest of everything out beyond the hills, to lie in state until my return.

The cabin was dark, darker than the snowfields outside, cold and forbidding. My fingers traced the letter of the nameplate over the door, “Hotel Sophia” to seek out the key and find out where I’d spend the next few days. The lock unlatched and I entered into a Spartan room, two bunks, a couch, a kitchen and fireplace. Unhinging the flue, I immediately went to work on a fire, the flames that would be my only live company over the next few days.

The snow still fell Saturday, fast and hard, bending boughs and burying any hint that I’d just rolled in the night before. If a bear tore me limb from limb, no one would know until the ski season started. Well enough; it’s what I wanted.

And enough to bring me here, to state this, to say, “I got away and what did you get?” Not to rub your nose in it (though I will, God knows) but just to ask if you’ll likewise take a moment to step out of the lines and breathe deep, really deep. One, two, three, take a moment and forget who we are, why we’re here and consider what really matters. That’s enough, isn’t it?

Sure seemed that way as I drove back home. Dousing the flames of the fire, closing up the flue, and carrying the ashes to be interned in the yard outside was the hardest thing I’ve done in awhile. I hated to leave, to have to re-enter this universe and return to all I’d forgotten for the past few days and nights. Driving back home, blinded by the sunlight bounced off by the snow, dealing with sheep shot through the chute into this eternal shithole, I wondered: is this all there is?

And thinking back on my weekend of sheer solitude I realized, no, there is so much more. A weekend without TV and internet and phone and chatter is what I needed to remember that yes, there is so much more. When a client said he’d spent his weekend watching football, I just nodded, good; I wasted my time as well. Sofa King Wechaw Jed.

If you haven't taken the time to get wechaw jed, you'll die with an empty skull. Count on it.


Anne said...

Frustrating! You are so well-written that I find myself completely sucked in~a menagerie of thoughts and "need-to-say"s running through my head and yet, my fingers can't type what my head wishes to convey.

I was right there with you~and wish I had my own Hotel Sophia because the Almighty knows I NEED one~doesn't he?

Jealous a teensy bit :)

lu said...

"To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never, in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common, this is to be my symphony."
~William Henry Channing

So, so happy that you were able to take a much deserved/needed time-out.

You do realize that you can bring it home with you, right? While you are busy making promises to yourself, make a commitment to carve out a niche of quiet and still every single day.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you in that we should "forget who we are" in order to arrive at what really matters. Isn't honoring who we are, being true to ourself part of arriving?

Oh, and yes, it was worth the wait.

GraceD said...

Isolation is splendid, isn't it? Your hermitage was just comfy enough. Did you have coffee brewing? And stew bubbling in a pot? If so, then in my book you would have known perfection.

Thanks for taking us with you, dollin.

Kathy said...

I don't know if I'd know what to do with myself if I had the chance to be alone. We don't have anyone to watch the kiddies - not even for a weekend - it's one of the things I've been dreaming of, but with my honey, not alone right now!

And how could you leave your new girl? She looks sweet.

landismom said...




Welcome back!

vicki said...

My best times are in solitude away from the world.
This post sounds like a dream weekend come true- I'm happy it was yours and I'm glad you got a break.

Will you be hurt and angry if I ask why you mucked up your lovely post with images of sweaty fat people, fruit drinks and drunken spastics? Maybe don't even credit the parts of life you scorn by alluding to them? I think sometimes you give in with anger to too many of life's shallow irritations and trashier aspects. You have such good, intelligent, loving energy to use in the right places...(sorry. I sound like somebody' s interfering mother. My children say that I am that, if nothing else.)

Apropos of nothing in particular other than you: "A knight errant without love entanglements would be like a tree without leaves or fruit, or a body without a soul" (Cervantes)

Your posts can be a joy to read. And Lu has good quotes in her comments. And your dog is very cute. You could name her Dulcinea. Deuce for short. You look nice, much the way I envisioned you.