Chapter 11: Weather
A day or two before I went up to the mountaintop, I blew off some steam about the election, wherein I talked about inheriting the wind, and reaping the whirlwind. I’ll see if I can dig it out for ya.
Anyway…guess what met me in the mountains, but an almost constant supply of massive winds, relentlessly blowing and blowing, as if to say, “Here’s your order, Mr. Hyperlincoln!”. And you can rest assured it gave me pause. I have always had a thing with weather…
My Thing With Weather
I’m not exactly sure when my thing with weather began. Maybe it began with a curse put upon me by an African princess. Maybe it started when I hitched across the country many years before. Not sure. Let me ponder on it a while…
The first time I think I noticed weird weather that could have had something to do with me was back in 1974, the year after I had graduated from High School. I was in a Community College, Central Piedmont, if fact, taking accounting of all things, and my teacher had just offered me a job at North Carolina National Bank.
You may not have heard of NCNB, but it has always, as long as I have lived at least, been a fixture in North Carolina. Not a light fixture. A different kind. A banking fixture, I guess you could say. The charismatic Hugh McColl was the head of this dynamic institution, which eventually grea to become Nationsbank, and is now Bank of America.
Anyway, I was offered a job…but I must also say that I think I was offered the job because I was a white male. And I might also even add…a rather freakish white male.
Those were the hippy days, after all, and I was doing my part to cut the proverbial edge.
So what do I do with this offer?
I go to a party, get really messed up, and wind up hitchhiking across the country. Not the most responsible response, but then again, I wasn’t really ready for responsibility. Still ain’t. Maybe never will be.
But anyway, as my friend and I were hitching, two things became apparent.
One: The Midwest was in a drought. And two: We seemed to break the drought, as it started raining on us in Des Moines (causing us to stop there), and kept right on raining for weeks, so much so that what was now parched land was now flooded land. An ocean of water…and all the flat land to keep it in place. Rather I should say, all the flat land that was, for so long, indeed, the bottom of the ocean.
But even a cursory understanding of the I Ching would cause one to question the wisdom of thinking that water holds its place because land is flat. In fact, it hold it better when it is indented. But let’s not get into that right now.
Only decades later, when I started breaking droughts in earnest, did I recount the events of that spring and summer of 74, and wonder as to the meaning.
Now, the meaning can be different things to different people. And as I am a little on the weird side, few would doubt that I might also have weird beliefs about weather, and if they were to do so, I’d have to concur. I know no one else who shares my beliefs, except, that is, the ancient, and a few modern, Chinese. But who knows? Since there are now a trillion Chinese, it may well be that a few hundred million share my notions. And by a similar token, there are probably also not very many Frisians or Tocharians, for that matter, who share my harebrained notions.
But speaking of Chinese, let it be said that while I may not have been into the weather, per se, I was into what I would later find to be geomancy. And the event that made me aware of such a notion as geomancy was this:
Kay Darling, my hitching buddy, and I had been in Des Moines long enough. At least for her. So she cut out. Said she was going west. I told her I wanted to go north.
So she cut out. And a few weeks later, so did I.
I had wandered north, and was now staying in a little town called Fort Dodge, Iowa. Not much of a town, really. Maybe 20 thou at the time.
I was staying with a bud I had met in Des Moines, named Kelly, who lived woefully close to a pig farm. Off what they called a “blacktop”. A blacktop was what we, back home, would call a road. Not all that many paved roads in Iowa at the time, apparently, so when one found its way to pavement, it was so designated. And a great source of pride, as I recall.
Kelly had a friend who lived in what could be called the suburbs of little Fort Dodge. I forgot his name. What was memorable about his friend was that he owned wolves. Little ferocious dogs with the needleteeth and agility of a cat.
Now Kelly had a chow – a korean fighting dog. A teenager, basically. A young teenager. But one that saw, that day, cause a full-grown German Shepard to back down.
But when the Chow was confronted by the younger wolf pup…it was the Chow who high-tailed it out of harm’s way.
The wolf pups were groovy and all, but a bit of an aside. You see, I was walking around in a park in this suburb of a small Iowa town, probably a hundred or so miles from Des Moines…and while walking, who did I run into but Kay Darling!
We were both dumfounded by the co-incidence, and fell over laughing thinking about how strange our trails must have looked from above. She had gone out to Yellowstone and decided to come back, and just happened to be in this little town, just as I happened to be in that little town as well.
Well, the whole thing gave rise in my mind to the motion that there might be energy paths on the earth, and that we may have been influenced by these paths.
Years later I would learn that these energy paths are part of what is known as Geomancy. Another name for it is Feng Shui.
Feng Shui & War
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of creating Heaven on Earth. War is the even more ancient art of creating Hell on Earth. Feng Shui is, in essence, the opposite of war. Or said differently, Feng Shui is the tangible manifestation and mirror of peace. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is not a vacuum. Rather it teems with life and beauty. And frankly we need to spend more time creating Heaven, and less time creating Hell.
Let us look at the world, America, North Carolina and Charlotte at this very moment. Are we in the best times ever?
Or are we in the worst times ever? Perhaps we are in limbo. And perhaps that limbo is related to the fact that the only vision the current administration has is lower taxes and war without end. This is one reason why there will soon be a different administration.
But how will the new administration deal with the vision vacuum? I suggest that one place he can start is by creating a Department of Peace, and allowing the already vetted Mister Kucinich take the helm. This Department of Peace could have the positive function of specializing in conflict resolution and such, but it could also become actively engaged in the creation of gardens of peace on a vast scale. When Charlotteans are happy and peaceful in our environs, we will naturally become healthier, crime will go down, and so on. Instead of terror, we will live its converse.
The island of Bali is famous for its ability to absorb vast numbers of tourists without chaos ruling the day, and this is because the entire island has absorbed the principals of Feng Shui. Each day, the entire island is swept and “cleared” of negative energies and pollutions. Imagine Charlotte cleared of its pollutions! These are positive goals.
Were Charlotte to make Feng Shui a part of it’s planning, less people would die. Here is one simple reason why: T-intersections are death traps. People often meet their maker at T-intersections. And yet some people will slap up a house right at the end of such an intersection. Bad Feng Shui.
The same also applies to rivers and streams. If your house is at the danger side of a bend in the stream, you are in danger of being inundated.
Hillsides are better than hilltops or valleys.
Curves are prettier than angles.
So many ways to raise the quality of life in Charlotte and environs. We cannot afford “more of the same”. And we cannot afford to let this new century we have inherited become yet another “war century”. If we do, we do so at our peril. There are so many positive alternatives. And the new administration better start laying them out. But we, the citizens of America, need to do our part as well.
I am doing so by passing these little suggestions through the hands and eyes of newspaper editors.
In the Bible, it says that a nation without a vision will soon perish. We need a vision. And a visionary leader. The current administration falls woefully shy.
You could say that geomancy and Feng Shui are examples of how humans communicate with Nature and the world around them. It is a part of the great chain of conversation, just as is communion with the spiritual realm. Communication takes place on many planes, simultaneously. This is but one of the many.
Another stange example of this happened with a dear friend from Brookline, Mass.
Brookline Tom was a man of many hats. He was a professor of Rhetoric, a photographer, a therapist, an author, a connoisseur of fine musics, and occasionally put on a fashion show.
I lived in Cambridge. A couple of towns over from Brookline. Three actually. Well, let’s see, Brookline, Brighton, Allston, Cambridge. OK three towns over. And Tom knew, from different circles, three people in Cambridge.
One day we were talking about the other two people he knew, and what did we behold, but that we all lived in the same building in Cambridge. But now only that…we lived on top of one another, so to speak, as well as actually. And the building only had three floors!
Geomancy. Charged places on the globe. Home.
But even stranger still was the case of Zhane and Clare and the boy who wasn’t there…
This one is rather long and involved, and I have yet to figure out the perfect order in which to tell the story. It is all true, but the order of the telling can make a lot of difference, if, indeed, it can and will make a difference at all. Probably not.
The story begins in Harvard Square. The year is 1982. My girlfriend, Zhane, and I had walked down to Harvard Square to do some hanging out. Shopping for books or music, eat a croissant or two, drink lots of coffee. Peoplewatch.
We walked down Oxford Street, where we lived, and cut through the campus of Harvard, which was, alas, the path of least resistance, and besides, it was nearly always a pleasant little world apart from the surrounding supports. It’s hard not to feel special while walking through Harvard Yard. The oldest and most venerable, and besmirched, corporation in the Western hemisphere.
So there we were. At the brickwork edge of Mass. Ave with a choice of direction to ponder. My scan produces a clump of people standing in front of Au Bon Pain, or “O Bone Pain”, as I used to call it, one of whom I recognized. It was Jon Whatelsesky. We called him that because he would always say, “what else?” to no matter what YOU said. It was rather irritating, and I often wanted to snap his jogger’s bra, but never could find the nuts.
Jon used to collect bicycles. He had hundreds of them. He was a great collector. His apartment had zero free space. Even the sink was filled with tools of every stripe. Even his mattress was not flush against the floor. The corner of the bed was leaning against the wall, and raised ever so slightly. An amazing feat. One that I have only rarely seen, and only then when hallucinating.
So there he was. Zhane’s old beau. Talking to a few fellers.
So why am I suddenly shy about walking over and talking with them? Why do I have this weird feeling that Zhane will be attracted to one of the guys? Why do I tell Zhane that we ought to, instead, go over to Harvard Bookstore?
Yes, I was pre-jealous, if there is such a word. There was a guy there, that, for some reason, I felt that Zhane would find attractive and want to pursue. But my will won out, and we went to the bookstore instead.
Flash forward to the year 1985. No. Not yet. Flash forward to the year 1984…
In 1984, Zhane and I found ourselves in a strange predicament. We lived together, but were going out with different people. She was going out with a guy named Mark, and I was going out with a woman named Clare. Mark, I thought, lived on Walden Street in Cambridge. Clare lived a couple of towns over, in Brighton. At times we would both stay out all night, she with Mark, me with Clare. At times, when she was away, and I was not, I would walk over to Walden Street just to see if I could catch a glimpse of this guy, Mark. I never did. Turns out he really didn’t live on Walden Street. He didn’t even live in Cambridge. He lived in Brighton. Two towns over.
Now flash forward to 1985.
I am living with Clare. We live on the second floor of an apartment that was once a house. Some guy lives downstairs, and has lived there for years.
One day, I was looking out the window, and who did I see walking up the sidewalk but that guy that I didn’t want Zhane to see in Harvard Square, talking with Jon Whatelsesky lo those many years ago. I summons Clare into the room.
“Clare! Do you know this guy?” I pointed to the erstwhile object of jealously.
“Oh yes! That’s Mark. He lives below me.”
Mark? Hmm. Could it be? No! No possible way. Maybe?
“Clare, do you mind if I call Zhane for a minute?”
“No. Go right ahead. Your dime.”
Zhane. Nonny. Hey. Do you remember that guy, Mark, that you were going out with a couple of years ago?
Of course I remember.
Where did he live?
He lived in Brighton. On Bigelow Street.
You guessed it. Now think about this: When Zhane and I were going out to see our prospective lovers…we came to the same house, and were basically humping in a pile of four, only separated boy a ceiling and/or a floor. And yes, Clare told me that his bedroom was directly below hers.
Geomancy. Lines of energy. The stuff we are made of.
So it was my thing with weather that I was thinking about up in Blowing Rock, where the wind did blow and blow and blow. But, thinking back, and simply remembering the very name, Blowing Rock, and then adding that to the fact that it was in fact November, and it has been rather hot lately, and Autumn would not hold itself back indefinitely. At least not until climate change is complete, and we are all living, or dying, in vastly different conditions.
This is not to say that the other things did not happen. Only that this occurrence which I had placed a certain pregnancy, might indeed, be nothing new, nothing to write home, meaning you, about. But alas, I have already done it, and I do need to get to that 50,000 mark. Moreover, I am due to once again make my way up that mountain in just a few short days…which will mean that, again, I will be bereft of a computer, and thus unable to work on this that you are reading so raptly. And what a shame that would be…
You DO agree with me, don’t you?