Category Archives: being in the moment

The Last House by Matt Carlson

It sat on a street with a dead end. It was the last house. A small wooden house from the forties; white with dark green trim. It had a garden in front of it, a tiny lawn, a stunted Japanese Maple and a fat laughing frog. Facing it, on the left side a double swing perfectly angled to catch the sun, when it came out – a place where you’d want to sit. Behind the house, a forest of dark green, tall trees and little creatures, mulch galore because no one ever walked there, human that is.

Spiders lived inside the house, but then they lived everywhere in the forest – and in all of the houses.  Being that all of the houses on the block also straddled the forest – it was of no surprise that spiders lived in them. The wooden houses (they were all made of wood) were merely an extension of the forest for the spiders….

Bee-Bee lived in that last house, on that block known as Idlewhile. A place where they painted green beer glasses on the streets for Saint Patrick’s Day. Where everyone seemingly had a taste for a perfect mix of wild nature and tamed nature in their gardens. No one wanted their yard to look like something out of a California suburb. This was Washington, not California.

Bee-Bee had lived in California before, but never offered up that information as she knew Washingtonian’s didn’t really care for Californian’s that much. Bee-Bee was a quite woman in her early seventies, she enjoyed taking care of her garden, feeding the birds and looking after her five cats: Edna, Bjork, Nana, Burt and Ernie. All street cats, all different colors. They loved Bee-Bee as much as cats can. She always gave them delicious food and always waited for them to come to her, never seeking them out first. They slept on her bed at night when it was cold outside, they sat near her when she ate. Often she would give them bite sized tidbits of whatever she was eating. She understood cats, their nature. They were hunters. But then, so was she.

It all began when she was in her sixties. She had gone shopping at the nearby Sprouts on Heavenly Road and while coming out of the store with her cart full of groceries she began watching a woman. A woman in her early forties with red hair and a pale yellow Vera Wong dress. There was nothing special about her, though better dressed than most.  Bee-Bee had seen her earlier inside the store and had witnessed this woman’s nastiness to a check out lady. She’d been surprised to see such vehemence coming out of the woman’s mouth – something about a product she’d returned. “You owe me!’ The woman had yelled. Bee-Bee thought to herself, “That entitled bitch.” The woman had been quite insulting to the cashier, flaunting pink manicured nails  at the cashier Bee-Bee had always liked so well. Bee-Bee pinched her mouth over the incident and thought briefly that ‘someone’ ought to put that woman into her place. Preferring to focus on the task at hand and not on the woman Bee-Bee went about her business. That is until she saw the woman again in the parking lot. This time she was yelling at a bag boy who had helped her with her groceries, and of course she didn’t give him a tip. This time, Bee-Bee felt a twinge in her gut.

It was on automatic that Bee-Bee found herself turning the steering wheel in the direction of the woman’s car and slowly following her. Bee-Bee’s car was an old ’67 Oldsmobile in mint green and in a perfect state. The red headed woman drove a fancy new black Audie. She pulled out rather fast out of the parking lot and Bee-Bee had to accelerate to catch up with her. Her long gone husband had always kept their car in pristine condition – it still looked brand new after all these years – so she had no trouble at all keeping up with the newer automobile. On and on they went the two of them driving towards the Olympic Mountains. One black car being followed by one mint green one…

Bee-Bee didn’t  consciously know why she was following this woman. Something in her mind had shut off. She was no longer thinking, but reacting, sensing, observing. Her heart was excited. She knew that she shouldn’t get too close to the car ahead of her, that she wanted to remain at a safe distance. Safe for what? She didn’t know; she just continued taking slow deliberate breaths and watching with cat eyes the car in front of her. Waiting. This went on for several miles until the woman stopped on an unpaved turn out. Without considering what she was doing, Bee-Bee stopped too pulling very slowly up near enough to observe the woman.  The red head got out of her car, slipped off her Vera Wong dress, pulled on tight black yoga pants, put on her gold rimmed Nike’s, her ear bud’s, adjusted her Fitbit and while warming up moved towards the woods. BeeBee followed her unnoticed.

Not more than fifty feet a head of her she heard a noise in the bushes. She felt her heart race further, tiptoed without a sound until reaching a short distance away. The red head was stretching her calves on a log. Then she stood up, turned around and looked right into Bee-Bee’s green eyes who now stood a mere two feet away.

Startled and angry ; suddenly she said with beligerance, ” What the fuck?! Who the hell are you? Scared the shit out of me! What do you want old lady? Are you some kind of perv….” Before she could utter another word a blade flashed from Bee-Bee’s hand and was thrust into the younger woman’s throat. A horrible gurgling noise followed as the red head tried to speak, grasping fraily at the knife now protruding from her blood gushing throat, not totally comprehending what was happening – all of it so quickly. She fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes, twitched for a brief moment and then was dead.

Bee-Bee stood for a moment and observed the lifeless body lying there. And for the first time in her entire life, she felt truly alive. An indescribable elation filled her to the brim. She took a deep breath and smiled to herself. What a wonderful feeling! “Wow, she’s dead as shit!….That’s one less entitled bitch in the world…” She said out loud and bent over to retrieve her favorite ceramic kitchen knife. “How’d that get here?” She asked humming to herself  as she wiped the blade on a Kleenex in her pocket.

“Do I feel good or what?!” She exclaimed as she walked back to her car. There was no one around but she preferred leaving quickly just in case. Her heart was still beating fast, the freshness of the kill still alive and well in her breast.

It had been an exceptional day. “I think I’ll bake some chocolate chip cookies and make some tea….” And she sped off to her little wooden house. The last house on the block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OMG! What Have I Done?? by matt carlson

March 14th here in Clovis California….I woke up in Fresno (where I’m staying) and I woke up with a stomach ache. I am feeling misplaced & lost. I have left my zone of comfort on every level here. I Have left France (for a while) to return back to my roots, to reconnect. Now, I just want to go  back home and take care of the fish in the pond, take a solar shower outside while looking at the Saint Victoire, feed the birds, sing in my wooden chalet…. see some of my friends…spend some time with my other half….oops! I Wanted, Wanted, Wanted our love to be real : https://elledge.bandcamp.com/track/wanted

BUT That other half has turned out to be a monster in Borderline Personality Disorder clothes!! The lamb now a wolf has taken off his clothes and tried to eat the person who cared for him. I have become its favorite dinner and TALL TALE. I  have left to save myself, to recreate a new life here, to reconnect and to qualify people, places and ideas. I want NO REGRETS. I am full of intentions here in the land of the raisin…..OMG!

Fortunately, I haven’t had any expectations; nothing has happened that has surprised me. I learned alot living in France for 27 years and today I know and understand people: their motivations, their hypocritical ways, their words within words….As well as those that show true friendship and love. True generosity comes with NOT expecting something in return. It is not about getting something, or working out your own personal problems against someone, nor should it be a way to manipulate someone further down the road for gain…

I know when someone is being sincere with me or not.

Six weeks are coming up this week since I’ve been here and I’m still searching for my nitch. My nitch might be in Palm Springs, or perhaps even in the mountains nearby or perhaps on a tropical island….hmmmm Hawaii? Will my dogs be happy over there?

I am at the moment here in Clovis California at the PARISIEN, a French bakery http://www.yelp.com/biz/parisian-bakery-clovis… How funny is that? Maybe I could work with the owner by organizing French music concerts around his food…maybe we could organize events together….See? My mind is trying to figure out answers, trying to find my tribe. Palm Springs is a nice idea – had alot of fun there this weekend at the Indian Wells ATP/WTA tournament, with all the stars of tennis and located in a sublime place. On top of that, terrific company with a new friend orginally from Vietnam. I was treated like a king and also met up with some friends from the past, one who lives in Palm Springs….

In the meantime, I feel better after eating a French meal here in old town of Clovis, California. Funny too that name, Clovis. It’s French. Clovis was known as the first King of what would become France….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I

 

“BE HERE” & Life At Le Pin Pastèque

BE HERE  (& Life At Le Pin Pastèque)

by mATT cARLSON

May 19th, 2014. Approximately day 3,328 at Le Pin Pastèque (the watermelon pine tree) in the south of France.

It was a blustery day: the wind rattled so much that even the screws safely secured in wooden posts trembled. Branches bended & leaves sang. Squirrels and birds huddled safely in their nests; cats in their country hotels slept, dogs too on their masters or mistresses beds. Outside hanging on the home made wall of a wooden veranda – a small square mirror. It had been rescued from the trash. Tiny red tiles framed it – though a few were missing. It went “bang, bang” and then “scrape, scrape” :  a  dance of wind & an old mirror.

A large grey  barrel sat on the dirt nearby pushed up against the wall beneath the mirror. “Gloup, gloup, gloup,” went drops of rain into the barrel. The wind had freed the drops from their pine needle prison on the plastic roof. There were always a lot of pine needles on that roof.

The barrel didn’t mind more drops joining the party, it just sat there full of water. As a matter of fact, the barrel didn’t think at all: it was only a container – left there in that exact spot to collect rain water. But it was steadfast sitting and a comforting sight. The ensemble : an outside bathroom of sorts. There was an old iron brasserie stem too (next to the barrel) used as a small table, though the marble had been broken long ago, with enough room to put a glass and a few tooth brushes. Tooth brushes that were now laying in the dirt.

With the television off, I could attend my ears to those sounds around me. An instant ago, they had been mere background noises, but now I could hear them. Joining the mirror dance, the thin door of the laundry room banged too as the machine inside shook my clothes angrily in its ever revolving mouth of plastic and steel. Outside: waves of air rolling, twisting & crashing into inanimate objects. A dog barked in the distance. Someone whistled.

Each time a new noise sounded, Foebbe and Fender (2 white Jack Russel’s) jumped down from the couch and ran to the glass front door. They jumped onto it excitedly with their front paws or in realizing an absence of anything worth discovering, would return to lie down, each in separate corners. “Of course”.

I took a deep breath. Aside from the dogs, I was alone. Of course Truc (Thing) the cat was there and the fish in the pond, but for all practical purposes, I was alone. And I desperately wanted to bring myself back to me! Back to my own thoughts – not those that were once again clamoring at my brain’s doorstep. Those were NOT my thoughts.

It was as if I wanted to read a book, but instead of the first page of a book I’d chosen, there were 1st pages of other books opening at the same time in my mind. Books from other people. “Read this one!” They yelled simultaneously, or almost. Similar to one door opening and suddenly shifting into perspective:  another door! Way the fuck too many doors- or books! I took a deep breath and with impatience yelled at the dogs to go and lie down again.

“Breath in deeply,” I told myself. “Count to four.” Wait four seconds. “Exhale,” and I did while still counting “1, 2, 3, 4″… There was no need to be anywhere. I mean, I didn’t have any obligations outside of the house, the animals, taking care of the home front kind of stuff. O had left a couple of months earlier and I had had little news.

Today I would just try and exist. To breath. To listen to the wind. I would not even try to focus on that first page of any book. I would not sing. I would not write. I would not try to figure anything out.  I would just sit here with Foebbe and Fender. Together we would listen to the wind.

“Be here,” I said .

mATT cARLSON

Mind Babble: WHO THE Fx££%K AM I ? by matthew carlson

Mind Babble: WHO THE Fx££%K AM I ? by matthew carlson

I closed my eyes. Then tighter and listened. I could hear my footsteps on the sidewalk & the ‘click-click-click’ of the dogs toenails beside me…..Then the other sounds too; cars passing by on a busy street a block away, a whirling of some kind, a buzzing too, people talking, parents taking their kids to school on foot or on skateboard or trottinette. A dog barked, the leash pulled and i opened my eyes. Merdre (shit) ! I had almost walked into a tree. The mind babble was taking over – I was trying to shut the voices down with some meditation. while walking Foebbe and Fender – the guardians of my soul.

“What do i want?” I asked as I inhaled. The Chokra Center MP3 meditating files from Carlsbad California were on the computer I was using upstairs in my alcove where I was renting. I listened to it ALOT. I was getting better at meditating, but still the voices would take over – always before I’d realized it. The voices were thoughts of course, but were they mine? Did I think those thoughts before uttering them in my head or aloud in the streets? And was I any different from the multitude of people I saw daily who were muttering aloud to themselves? And I’m not talking about the ones hooked up to their phones actually talking to ANOTHER person either.

Sam Harris the very intelligent brain scientist/atheist and book author of ‘Letter To A Christian Nation’ and other unsettling books says we have no free will. Oh yea, and he wrote a book about that too. (‘Free Will’) He explains to us that we don’t have any (thanks Sam!) – that we’re all basically a bundle of DNA and constructed cells and imprinted memory stuff whereby we think we are creating our own thoughts, but it’s all a bunch of baloney: free will. Makes you want to kill yourself doesn’t it? Knowing that… Or at least stay on the couch with your smartphone in front of the TV (& Netflix) with a case of Pringles & beer next to you along with the ice cream waiting in the freezer of course.

But in spite of Sam’s wise and devastating words of advice (or lucidity) I still want to feel that I’m the captain of my ship. Somehow. But it’s not working for the moment. If my body is a ship, then it’s been out to sea for a long time in some kind of surreal storm. But not an open sea – a large container with a sea inside of it.

The voices have taken over once more, competing for my attention. I don’t know which one I should listen to first. If my thoughts had weapons, my head would be a bloody mess, a third world war of sorts where logic doesn’t count – never did. It was only to win, to be the victory thought. AND that would entail killing off the other thoughts that wanted to be THE ONE CONTROLLING THOUGHT.

Meditation time again. As you can see – not an option. If I wanted to stay sane (or at least give an outward appearance of sanity) then I would have to meditate. Deep breaths, one after the other. A virtual wand of my hand scatters the attacking mind babbling thoughts. “No more thoughts! Be gone you bastards!”

Back to breathing deeply: in and out, in and out. Then focusing on my physical being: toes, feet, ankles, shins, knees, thighs, buttocks, groin area, waist, lower back, chest & upper back, shoulders, neck, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers,head, ears, eyes, temples, nose….Still breathing: In and out. In and out. Breathing to find myself once again. Those thoughts are not me. Not mine.

I am here. Standing next to this tree. Next to Foebbe and Fender. They are looking up at me wondering why we are STILL standing in the same place. It’s hug time. I bend down and tongues and lips and fingers & paws meet. Several hugs, kisses, belly rubs, head shakes, & pawing paws later, we are ready to walk some more.

I remind myself to keep breathing. “What do I desire?” I ask myself not waiting for an answer. The universe will answer soon enough. In the meantime I would go home and sing a song. Or maybe write another one.