Lenin and Things: Random Thoughts from a Guy Who Is Up at 2 am
hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 22 12:18:51 MST 2003
Relaxation -- the really genuine stuff -- has always been a big, big
challenge for me that makes the vast Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in my
native Northern Arizona look like a suburban back yard.
Like many out to Save the World in his or her lifetime, I keep moving just
as fast and hard as I possibly can. Always have since the baby crib.
But, sometimes, one has to stop for a time -- and pull and smooth the
physiological threads together.
And then there's the even more massive, high priority matter of Thinking.
The big chunk.
Thinking I can certainly do -- but generally relax?
My once daily trips into the nearby hills and mountains immediately above
our home are now over at this point. The profoundly virulent disease which
has already twice almost killed me in recent weeks could hit lethally at any
point. [I still cannot walk at all well.]
So relaxation is now even more critical as I often look gloomily out of our
great picture window and the wonderful mountains not far beyond.
I can sit in my recliner chair, look at Salt of the Earth or Shane or Reds.
[I don't like television.]
But I do need much more than these fine, creative films. I read very
widely -- and I write -- virtually always serious non-fiction. My computer
work can occasionally be relaxing, but, frankly, generally not.
I don't drink alcohol. That has seriously afflicted the family from whence
I come -- both my parents died of alcoholism -- and I've kept it out of my
own present family. I never use tranquilizers. I don't smoke and have not
for many years. Coffee -- strong, very strong -- is a great priority of
mine, always in these early morning hours.
But strong coffee isn't exactly a calmer.
Now, one of the many things I happen to love is cold buttermilk:
old-fashioned, heavy and thick. It's not unusual for me to go through a
quart in ten minutes at any time of day.
And THEN, I've now come to very much openly like -- in fact, admire in a
strong and general sense -- Lenin. That's right: The Lenin. V.I.
This has been germinating, I suspect, for some years.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my full-blooded Native
father [an excellent artist with strong connections in Mexico] always
approved of his colleague and friend -- the great Painter of another
Revolution, Diego Rivera -- putting Lenin in several of his own very
important Mexican murals and other works.
Or, could it possibly have something to do with the fact that Lenin could be
a distant cousin from another land? In his DARKNESS AT NOON, Arthur
Koestler specifically singles out "the old man with the slanting Tartar
eyes, the leader of yore, who had died in time."
Who knows? Mongol-type eyes are no strangers in our local setting.
And, ever the quasi-anarcho [ mostly decentralist] syndicalist, I certainly
don't classify myself as a classic "Leninist" -- at least in the sense the
term is frequently used in high church circles. I have never attempted to
define Lenin with any precision.
The other day, the family honeymoon regarding my very recent return from our
local mountain hospital slipped substantially. In fact, some or many progeny
were making the house sound like a copper ore mill.
And our several cats, led by my faithful half-bobcat, Cloudy, were raising
pure hell. [Unspayed, she really needs a man.]
I laid back in my chair, thinking of far away Forest Service lookouts --
which could accommodate just one person.
Still, it's a really great and consistently supportive family: every single
But I needed something half-way calming -- and fast.
"Fetch me some buttermilk," I said to an offspring. I was immediately
provided with a huge goblet of the Special Drink: my favorite kind from
Weber [Weeber], Utah, just south of the Idaho border. It's always super
thick and has literally gobs of semi-butter.
But I needed more. Maybe a good book.
It chanced that a friend had very recently sent me several splendid books.
Some, in fact, involve Lenin. One is a two volume set: A book on WORLD
WRITERS AND ARTISTS ON LENIN. The very fine companion volume -- LENIN IN
PROFILE --includes almost 90 excellent photos that can be individually
detached. [Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975.]
The other is VLADIMIR ILYICH LENIN: AN ALBUM OF PHOTOGRAPHS AND STILLS
[Moscow, Planeta Publishing, 1983.]
And they were quickly provided.
And then, as I sipped the buttermilk and looked at the myriad of great Lenin
life-time photos -- and those of his always wonderful spouse, Krupskaya, of
whom my own faithful Eldri much reminds me -- and those of their cats -- I
realized I was calming: fast, substantially, deeply.
I won't try at all to define any of this. "You can never paint much of the
really huge geography of our American West," my father always said.
Ideologists can do their thing with Lenin -- but, for me, I simply like and
highly respect the man and his family. He was a very, very human person who,
with others, glimpsed and went toward something as bright and beautiful as
the warmly sun-lit Grand Canyon shining through the fading rains of early
morning Northern Arizona.
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] Micmac /St Francis Abenaki /St Regis Mohawk
[in the mountains of southeastern Idaho]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings. Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]
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