— From the Fool —

I went to this Fool Parade. It was a nice day. There was a band playing pretty loud, and people had funny wigs and noses and bright colored pants and hats and hair and a dog with a baseball cap that peed on a tree. The dog did, I mean. They all marched up one block of the town and down the other side, the town being one block long. I had fun.

Then, out of the blue, I was flung into philosophical funk. Know thyself, it says in the Bible or the Pledge of Allegiance or somebody tweeted it, and that seems like a good idea. And I thought I did. But if you dress up like a Fool, are you really a Fool or just pretending? Is it okay to just get seared on the outside without getting cooked all the way through? Me, I think I’m at least medium rare. So maybe these people aren’t really Fools but just think they are. But if they’re nutty enough to think that, then that must mean they’re Fools. On the other hand, there are tons of people who wear suits and ties and haircuts but sure act like Fools, as far as I can tell. They weren’t in the parade.

I heard about some guys in Russia they called Holy Fools who did weird things like giving away their money and taking off their clothes and jumping around. I don’t think I’d be up for that, but I bet it made people think. Maybe you have to do it in church if it’s gonna be holy instead of just nuts.

But I sorta feel holy, if you’d call it that, when I just sit there and listen to my sister swear a blue streak and nod so she knows I hear her, cause nobody else does. I don’t have a funny wig or a necktie either, so I just say I’m a Fool cause I feel like one. I guess that qualifies.

 — From CB —

Last night, our small circle met to celebrate the full moon. It’s an eclectic bunch of neo-Pagans from various traditions, sometimes as many as ten, meeting monthly. We have Elizabeth’s soup to take the edge off hunger, then plan what we’re doing that evening, do a formal ritual, sit with bread and wine, then a late dinner and gab till the verge of collapse.

Last night there were only five, and at our house, so it went a bit differently. Over our green-pea-&-turkey soup, we decided our task was simply to celebrate the spring and the Earth. Simple gratitude, no strings attached.

The heart of it was only ten minutes. Our quarter-acre back yard has been described by a friend as pre-Raphaelite, meaning unkempt and unbarbered, with tall redwoods, smaller trees, a copious growth of periwinkle, wandering Jew, forget-me-not, and calla lillies, as disorganized as the top of my desk. I suggested, since we were celebrating spring, that we just walk out into spring and be there a while. So we did.

It was dusk. We scattered to different areas. I sat on a bench I’d built ten years ago and had only sat on once. I kneeled in the periwinkles, felt the cold seep into my knees, rose, held my hands to the bark of a tree. Ten minutes only, Elizabeth rang a bell, and we went indoors. We each talked about our long journey. Then finally we closed the circle, went back to the dining room, ate Helen’s lemon tart, and drank a lot of wine.

That’s my kind of religion. Frankly, I believe in the reality of none of the godlings whose rites I’ve ever partaken of, Christian, Pagan, or otherwise. And yet those concepts are embedded in me deeply. I believe in the power of metaphor, and its validity, its power, its rightness is directly in proportion to the value of its effect. Believe in Jesus? I’ll look to see how that belief results in acts: the quality of the acts is the value of the belief.

For me, my knees in the periwinkles, my hands on the redwood bark last night, was a realignment. I face a week of rehearsals before we open King Lear in San Francisco. So much work yet to do, and no idea whatsoever if we’ll have an audience. No notion if we’ll get any press, or if we’ll be praised or spat on. Fifteen months of futile stress, or fifteen months of joyous privilege to penetrate this masterwork? Those ten minutes reconnected me with my spine.

The wine was pretty good as well.

 — From EF —

Second-hand rage. Is that like second-hand smoke, which people finally admitted might be a problem? I never thought about it when we were having a good time with friends in a smoky Amsterdam bar, but I did wonder why my contact lenses felt like hubcaps the next morning.

So there’s now this concept that something you haven’t chosen, and may not be clearly aware of, is surrounding you and not doing you any good. And you may not sit up and take notice until your kid gets asthma. For us, it was a hammer attack just up our road.

A guy in a red car was driving toward Sebastopol from Bodega Bay, where we go every other week for our Sanity Picnic. This was 8 a.m., not a time you expect for bizarre driving behavior, especially on a weekday. But the red car was doing donuts and other festive stunts in the road, and the soon-to-be victim tried to take a photo of the license plate.

At the Pleasant Hill Rd stoplight, the red car pulled up alongside. A man got out, and started walloping the other guy with a hammer. The victim survived (with major injuries), and the attacker is in custody.

I know that we are all surrounded by a fog of rage, but this makes it a lot more personal. A bit later and we’d have been on the way to the gym past that same corner. We have air quality alerts, which mean that we can’t use the fireplace, and highway sig-alerts that warn us to avoid accident areas. But what alerts us to hazardous rage?

Instead of becoming ever more wary, might it be a better path to lower the hazard level? With second-hand smoke, the answer was to put limits on the public belching of fumes. That did make a difference. What if there might be a way to sidetrack rage? If there was some way for people to live in a freer space, the way it used to be labeled — the land of opportunity? Where hard work could get you something besides a donut and a jail term?


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015

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