The Iceman Cometh

Is it possible for your nose to get kicked in the ass? If so, then it happened to me today. I was meandering around in a hardware store for a few hours hoping to run into an old friend who works there, ( I eventually did, but our conversation got shortstopped and I elected to leave), and upon my departure my sense of smell was immediately assailed.

No, it was not a rank stench, neither was it a particularly pleasing aroma either, but it was  familiar. I have smelled that smell before and it spoke to me. Colder weather is coming.

Now you might be saying “Hey, dumbass, it’s September; of course colder weather is coming!” but the calendar only means so much. I live in an area of the northern hemisphere where it regularly snows on Mother’s Day and then hits 80 later in the week. But the air today was resplendent with the scent with approaching ice and snow; altogether a strange thing since the clouds were low and heavy with rain that eventually came in fitful spits.

I cannot describe how that scent and the memories it evokes in me energizes me. I live for the winter: a time of year when the world is blanketed in silence and darkness. There is too much noise and light in the world Humanity could do with slowing down, turning off their noises and lights and listening to the silent darkness for a time.

It’s getting cold early this year too. I firmly believe that there is a trend of warming affecting the global climate, although I reserve my judgement on exactly why its happening, but I am looking forward to a cold, protracted winter this year. And so I challenge the Force: bring it on!


Gods can be Obnoxious

While driving by myself down to the store for a new fan for my apartment, (the old one which I’ve had about as long as I can remember having finally died), I made the comment to no one in particular that the Sun was at a particularly inconvenient angle and I would be glad of some cloud cover and/or a tall building to shield it from view. And wouldn’t you know it, I got stuck at every single red light going across town and was forced to stare straight into said glowing disc to see when the light would change. I felt certain at the time that it was a conspiracy of supernatural powers out to irritate and inconvenience me.

Concerning Goats and Other Animals

A week ago today, one of my professor friends read before a class a certain metaphorical document likening human civilization to a collection and interaction of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. For hose of you unfamiliar with this story, the basics are as follows: The overwhelming majority of people are like sheep, that is; mentally well-adjusted and productive members of society. They harm no-one, provide for the community, and go through life blissfully ignorant of any and all danger until it tries to bite their legs off. The second type of people are wolves. These people are criminals, destroyers, and usurpers who prey upon others and contribute nothing worthwhile but, fortunately, are a decided minority of the population. The third type is the very rare sheepdog. These are the warriors, the military, law enforcement, etc. who willingly place themselves between the forces of good and evil at their own peril. In so doing, they are hated not only by the wolves, whose devious plots they seek to foil, but also by the sheep, to whom the sheepdog serves as a constant reminder of the existence of evil. It is rightly said of most sheep, that they would rather see the sheepdog de-fanged and cloaked in wool, until, of course, the day the wolf comes and one-hundred sheep try to hide behind a single sheepdog.

The complete text is far more emotionally charged and thought-provoking but this is just the basics. Unfortunately, for all its profundity, I feel the metaphor is incomplete. There is, i my experience, a fourth kind of person who may be likened to a goat or ram. They are productive members of society, they do not seek to harm anyone, but they are not at all ignorant of the danger around them. And on the day the wolf comes and no sheepdog is around, (because, in spite of their best efforts, sheepdogs can’t be everywhere at once), it behooves the goat to lower its horns and face the predator.

Some would argue that these goat-people are just another form of the proverbial sheepdog, but there is a key difference. The sheepdog yearns for righteous battle and the opportunity to pit itself against the forces of evil. The goat would much rather stand in the shade and eat clover and will only take a stand when there is no alternative. There is no greater moral value in the role of the goat as compared to either the sheep or the sheepdog, it is simply another way of responding to the appearance of the wolf: the sheep will always run, the sheepdog will always fight, and the goat will run if it can and fight when it must.

Some time ago, I came to see myself as the goat and have spent several months trying to correctly phrase the way I see myself in the world. I’m still not sure I’ve got it completely right, but this explanation feels closest of any I’ve had so far.