Things I love everyday that I live

I love Peggy. On the wall over my monitor is something she wrote on yellow scrap paper 20 years ago, which is but half as long as we've been married. It’s as true for how I see her as for how she sees me.

“I love Lowell 100 million billion trillion times over. I love him sooooooooooooo much. He is the best man, and I love him.
Peggy
Love Love Love Love Love”

I love plants. I feel more life emanating from plants than from people. My delusion probably comes from the fact that plants are fully here and fully now. They are blessedly free from even as the possibility of deception. Rocks are also our superiors in that regard. So it is with nearly every being that our species looks down upon (which is to say every being but ourselves). If Peggy loved them too, I would fill the house with plants. I’m especially drawn to potted plants during the winter when most outdoor plants are homely, and when it’s too wet and cold to enjoy sitting on the ground. It’s as if I inhale their essence when I’m among plants and, unlike mine, their essence is pure.

I love to dig holes. I love the beauty of the tools; the changing colors and textures of the earth; the feel of the work inside my body; the odors and the coolness; my unusual vantage point of the world; the occasional pebble, fossil, earthworm, or human artifact; and the knowledge that I might unearth a treasure of one kind or another. When I lie in bed at night and fantasize that my pain is gone, the first thing I want to do is to dig a hole.

I love habanero peppers, which are the hottest peppers I can find (sixty times hotter than jalapenos). They’re so hot that they make the top of my head sweat, and my hands hurt all night and into the next day if I don’t wear gloves while cutting them. I started eating habaneros years ago as a treatment for Raynaud’s Disease, overcame the agony of the heat enough to enjoy the high—they go especially well with marijuana—and found that they helped the Raynaud’s so much that I’m rarely bothered by it.

I love caps. Hats look better, but they don’t shade the eyes as well; you can’t pull a hood over them; most of them can’t take rough handling; they’re a nuisance when it’s windy; and, last but not least, the brim hits the headrests in cars. The only thing caps don’t do well is to keep rain from running down my neck, but it only rains here in the winter, so I just raise my hood over my cap, and the cap keeps it from coming down over my eyes.

I love rocks for their beauty, their stories, and their antiquity. Even here in the geologically young Willamette Valley, it’s possible to find rocks that go back 40-million years. These youngsters are 400,000 times older than a 100-year-old person. I study the strata in cliff faces; I dig charred wood from pyroclastic flows; I pry globe-like concretions from roadcuts; I try to feel the story of the fossils that lie buried in my backyard. Sometimes, I even sleep with rocks because—in my imagination anyway—they emanate a force. I had once hoped that force would heal me, but it couldn’t, although, as with plants, rocks can bring the joy and comfort that allows me to live despite the pain.

I love shopping at Goodwill. Half of me goes nuts over secondhand bric-a-brac, but the other half hates a cluttered house, so it’s an anguished love, but an inextinguishable love nonetheless. Besides, everything is so cheap that I figure I can always buy something to replace something I already have, and then pass on what I replaced. I can also buy things for other people, enabling me to enjoy Goodwill while dumping the curse of clutter onto them, but also giving them something that I love, that I hope they will love, and that I purchased with thought and affection.

I love my room—see photo. The walls are pink, and I have lots of plants, though not so many as I want.

I love marijuana. One-fourth of a small sugar cookie, and my world is born anew. Music and language swim in the periphery of my vision; colors assume such depth that I become disoriented. I feel thoughts well up as if from depths unimagined. I am overcome by the knowledge that trees, dogs, cats, potted plants—all the things I love—have an immediacy and an intensity that is beyond expression. I become so enamored of the history and creativity behind the fifty-year-old kitsch at Goodwill that I want to buy it all in honor of the people who made it and loved it all those years ago. I become more patient and tolerant; I see my worries from a realistic perspective, and they’re always less scary than I imagined.

I love writing. I live through the written word just as a photographer lives through a viewfinder. This makes it very hard for me to be close to anyone who really and truly has no interest in what I write because what I write is the deepest part of me, at least the deepest part of me that I can touch.

I love reading because it teaches me things and it allows me to visit other people’s worlds. I read about plants, geology, and home repair. I also like biographies, Westerns and books of cartoons—especially Gary Larson. My taste in biography tends to run to people who were hated like Benedict Arnold or Bonnie and Clyde. My only problem with reading is that I never seem to do it as much as I would like.

You might think that I’ve expressed a few surprising thoughts for an atheist, yet I couldn’t love these things nearly so much if I believed—like many do—that they are flawed forms of a once perfect reality. If I have a religion, it lies in nature because nature is all there is, and we’re each a part of it, and therefore a part of one another, and of everything else too.

41 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow, I love this post. So many thoughts I want to share:

I love plants, too, and have many in the house, yet I've never thought about them as you've mentioned here-that they are fully here and now...blessedly free....

Goodwill is awesome! While I also hate a cluttered house, there are so many treasures to be found at thrift stores. Much of what I buy turns into an art project. And thrift store sweaters are the best. I'd say at least half my winter tops are from Goodwill.

Also,

"what I write is the deepest part of me, at least the deepest part of me that I can touch"-- I understand this fully.

And as an atheist myself who loves so many things so deeply, I'm not surprised by this post. Thank you for sharing your loves!

Snowbrush said...

Why, Sarah, thank you. How your response touched me.

kj said...

Man, can you write, snow. Reading this is do effortless and interesting I didn't want it to end

I have a similar love and connection with plants and rocks and holes. The first short story I ever wrote was about a lost woman who found a hole in her yard.

And words. Where would we be, snow, if we didn't write? What a gift. And this here blog. Also a gift

I also love groceries and slot machines :-)

Someday I wish Peggy would write a guest post about you. Do you think she would? Come to think of it, wouldn't that be interesting, if our partners or friends revealed a little deeper?

I'm glad you are counting things you like and love, great post tonight xoxo

Love
kj

Elisabeth said...

Such a lovely post, Snow. It's uplifting to read about all your loves, and good to be reminded that in spite of the pain there are good things that keep you/us going, especially our love for one another and the world in which we live.

The Elephant's Child said...

I love your list and think that it is wonderful. I should point out that cats are more than capable of deception though. Ours are truly masters of the 'no-one has fed us, no-one has paid us any attention lie.

I would add to your list that I love the sky - in all its myriad moods and that I love trees. I guess that technically they are covered by your love of plants, but I would give them a category of their own.

And I love water, still, moving, salt or fresh.

And I love your posts. Always. An education and a thought provoking experience. Thanks Snowbrush. Thanks a lot.

Snowbrush said...

Oh, KJ, what sweet praise. Thank you.

"I also love groceries and slot machines :-)"

I put a quarter into a Vegas casino slot machine once, lost it, and never put another. I seem to be immune to the gambling bug.

Hi, Elisabeth, I'm always so glad when you drop by.

"I should point out that cats are more than capable of deception though."

Yes, the "How can I get away with this?" side of cats is something that's hard for me to accept. That's why I wrote "kind of like cats and dogs," but it's still a bit weak.

The Blog Fodder said...

What a wonderful post. Something I needed this morning to put a positive spin back on my life. I too love many of the things you do and will read your post over a few more times and maybe borrow the idea. My last post was pretty negative. I need the balance that your post provided.

PhilipH said...

Spiffing post Snowy. Great stuff. A list of pet hates would be of interest too.
I used to love many things - some no longer possible for me, such as vigourous sport (boxing, karate and hill-running). Age robs one of many physical things.
One of my hates, which has grown as I age, is religion in all its many guieses. I discovered recently that there are 4,300 religions practised in this world today!
4300.
OK, there are only five main ones for about 70-80% of the world's followers, with Christianity being the largest (over 2 billion believers). And it's NOT the oldest religion either!
If atheism could be classed as a religion nowadays then it could well be up there challenging all of the five main groups.
Buddhism is not a religion as such, more of a way of life - a philosophy. I have not argument with this. The rest, Islam, Judaism,Hinduism et al are just beyond my belief!
Oh heck - shut up Phil. Live and let live!

Charles Gramlich said...

No rocks or trees are flawed. They may have eccentricities. I appreciate those.

rhymeswithplague said...

I agree with all the others -- this is a wonderful post.

For some reason, I am assuming that you were high on marijuana when you wrote it. I hope not. But whether yea or nay, it is beautiful.

My favorite Gary Larson cartoon has an upper panel and a lower panel. In the upper panel, angels are sitting on fluffy white clouds and saying to a new arrival, "Welcome to Heaven! Here's your harp." And in the lower panel, demons with pitchforks are dancing in the fires and saying to a new arrival, "Welcome to Hell! Here's your accordion."

I love many of the things you love. I don't think they are necessarily flawed. We are the ones who are flawed, and they are groaning, the Bible says, waiting for the resurrection of our bodies. After that, apparently, the lion will lie down with the lamb and a little child shall lead them and the animal kingdom won't be carnivorous anymore (I guess that is a kind of flaw, but hey, a creature has to eat.)

Keep up the great writing, Snow!

Marion said...

Very well done post, Snow, you and I like many of the same things. I love Nature in all its forms and must be outdoors for at least a couple of hours a day, even if it is only snatched minutes here and there on a frozen day.

I love your last sentence as it echoes how I feel..."If I have a religion, it lies in nature because nature is all there is, and we’re each a part of it, and therefore a part of one another, and of everything else too."

I thought it should be written out again. xx

Ben Ditty said...

Sometimes I want to return as a plant. But I think one that bites people would be best.

Myrna R. said...

The fact that you love so many things, makes you very lovable.

Your post made me want to steal your title and think deeply about the things I love. I suspect this is an uplifting exercise that makes us reflect honestly about the things that bring us joy.

Hope I don't offend you, but I think your last sentence is quite spiritual. Many people rely on nature to teach them that ultimately we are connected in one big, mysterious project. Religion is a didactic, man-made invention, far less reliable, I think.

I really, really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing, for so honestly revealing who you are.

(I think we have hotter peppers in New Mexico. There's an XXX hot pepper that can blow away your scalp.)

Beau's Mom said...

"You might think that I’ve expressed a few surprising thoughts for an atheist".

WHAT THE????

I don't think you put much thought into that sentence, so I'll not comment on it since the error is SO obvious.

You're enjoying what is in the here and now and appreciating the fact that we are not the end-all and be-all just because we talk and walk upright.

I LOVE rocks I love nature. Sea, land and sky. We are insignificant except for our ability to cause pain and brutality.

Being an athiest or a bible thumper has nothing to do with whether we appreciate beauty in all its forms or not.

Put some beautiful rocks around the base of your indoor plants like I do and you'll enjoy BOTH at the same time.

Rain said...

And I love this post. How positive and beautiful to stop and think of all the things a person loves. I especially love your first one ;)

Phoenix said...

This post made me light up and grin like an idiot. How lovely it is to see such a sweet, thoughtful, appreciative post. I'm so glad you've found so many wonderful things to love in your life.

As a spiritual person, I'm not in the least surprised by this post either. Many of my atheist friends are more in love with life than my religious friends. It just confirms what I've always believed: you don't need (dis)organized religion to love and appreciate life. :)

I am the Dexter of house plants, sadly, although I do love all growing things, which might be why I don't try to grow them, because I kill them with one glance. I had an orchid I named Bob for about two months, and watered it faithfully, and then it gave up on me. So now I buy cut fresh flowers from Trader Joe's, because they have an expiration date anyway, and I fill my kitchen with them.

I hope your life continues to be lovely. :)

The Tusk said...

ahhhh, yes. Wonderfully written. Thank you for visiting on the 27th. Leaving me with a reminder to write. I love the new world we live in where 40 plus cents postage and the time to reconnect is a bother.
The daughters of William Cullen Bryant were wonderful in their goodwill.
I must run to volleyball now with these final words. Alizarin Crimson and Carmine are known to be colors. I love them both for that as well as the wind which can fill al hole with sand and ash and dust as well as carry the scents from your flowers to our nose.

Mad Mind said...

You and I would so get along. Love rocks and Goodwill!

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Beautiful post Snow!

Just_because_today said...

I like your world. Anyone who is so passionate about whatever they do or have has my admiration as long, of course, as it does not hurt anyone.
I dont like plants, I rather have people. They are similar, yet I prefer people. You can care for plants and they die on you just the same. I guess what's good about them is that you don't really grieve a plant...maybe I should like plants better

Snowbrush said...

Oh, no, I have too many good responses to respond to them all, and someone might get upset, plus I just noticed that I screwed up copying the paragraph that Peggy wrote to me on that scrap paper. Darn, darn, darn! I redid it, but I am so sad.

"I am assuming that you were high on marijuana when you wrote it. I hope not."

I put in maybe six or eight hours on this post over a period of 3-4 days. I sometimes write an initial draft while I'm very high because it's then that thoughts come to me by the bucketful (I now have 133 back-to-back pages of unpublished posts), but I always edit my writing numerous times, and I might or might not have had any marijuana for hours.

Robin said...

Ah, Dear Snow, I love this post like so many others! Peggy's note to you is the sweetest thing....and...she is so right! You really are a gentle, kind man... (I mean it...so don't raise that eyebrow!) We share a lot of interests - as you know.....and, although I am a *Catholic*....I sometimes think I incorporate my love and worship of Nature into my religion...

I love, love, LOVE your pink room....it's almost lilac-y...it's peaceful and serene and a great compliment to the green of your plants!

Love Chilis too....the hotter the better!

Love to read your words...even when I don't always agree...you are an excellent writer....and your blog is always interesting and evokes an emotion from me!

Love, always,

♥ Robin ♥

Sightings said...

Nice post. It will make me have a greater appreciation of many things in my life, including caps.

Strayer said...

You were high when you wrote this, right?

Mim said...

This is delightful, readable, funny, interesting. I love this post
I also love rocks,,,,LOVE rocks.

Sissy said...

Grand remarks, Snowbrush. We have much in common. Rocks! I am into rocks,stones,gemstones, whatever one wishes to name them. Energy in them? I'd say! I have extra Prill Beads I'll send you if you might be interested. Let me know. I use them to energize my water - drinking, plants love it. The water is so beneficial; I live with pain and strongly know when some remedy is helping. Reiki is wonderful - from the Eastern healing methods.

As I read and/or listen to

http:////www.thebookofaquarius.com/,
or

C:\Users\C\Music\bookofaquarius_audio - your post comes to mind. Very good reading/knowledge. I'm thinking you may enjoy it too. The subject is mesmerizing.

I'm often interested in 'meta'physical subjects and find the more I learn, the better I understand and see life in a more eye-opened mode. Some think I'm weird because of my interests; none of it is "weird", just unknown or of interest to the 'common man'.

I have Boji Stones, Lingams, and healing crystals, ceramic energy stones. You might google them if you would like information.

Recently I wrote a post on rocks too with a picture of some of my collection.

Snowbrush said...

"Some think I'm weird because of my interests"

You never know--they might think you were weird anyway! I hope you understand that I'm trying to be funny here, but the thought did come from the fact that, when I read your response, I thought that, "Hey, people think I'm weird, and I'm decidedly non-metaphysicist, so maybe you and I both are just plain weird instead of interest-related weird."

Snowbrush said...

ME: "You might think that I’ve expressed a few surprising thoughts for an atheist".

DANA "WHAT THE????"

Magical thinking, dear. For me to have even a shadow of belief that a rock can heal by radiating some powerful force that no one identify, locate, or give evidence to support the existence of, is something that's hard for me to admit given my materialistic orientation. If I were entirely rational, I wouldn't have to admit it, but my right brain is plenty active.

Snowbrush said...

"You were high when you wrote this, right?"

You read the whole thing, and that's all that came to mind to say or ask! God, Strayer, I've failed; I've failed; I've failed.

It really don't matter, kid. It's whether the post communicates something real and maybe a little deep, and doing it in a beautiful way; not whether I'm drinking coffee, smoking pot, or eating the last of a dozen cream-filled donuts. It doesn't even matter if I'm kind of sober-fanatic who wouldn't take so much as a baby aspirin if I had twelve broken bones.

Snowbrush said...

"You really are a gentle, kind man... (I mean it...so don't raise that eyebrow!)"

I know I'm kind. Like last week, I rescued a potted plant that was being slowly killed in a restaurant (I offered to pay for it, but the waitress told me to just take it with me). I have another side though. It's protective, and being protective isn't always kind. I'm also callous. To really go a long way toward being kind, I think a person needs to be a vegan, and I'm not, so I try to cultivate not caring about how cows are treated so that I might have cheese, or how chickens are treated so that I might have eggs.

Strayer said...

Yeah, that's about all I came up with. Hey, you rarely say two words on mine. So there.

Snowbrush said...

"Hey, you rarely say two words on mine."

Please don't take it personally. I've been working on some projects lately. It's also true that I often feel guilty about how much time I devote to blogging, and when this happens, I need to pull back for awhile, or else blogging begins to seem like an unpaid job

ellen abbott said...

great post and I can agree with it all. except loving Peggy. I' don't know Peggy but I'm sure I would lover her if I did. But especially the plants, the digging, the rocks. and your last paragraph, why I think you just described god.

Zuzana said...

I really loved this post as I can so relate to everything you write. I love very much the same things you do. I love that which is honest. Nature is brutally honest at all times - this includes plants and animals.
I also share your fascination about rocks. Every day I still pick up that amber I found on the shores of the North Sea and marvel over its incredibly old age, a span of time I can not even comprehend. It fills me with humility and awe.
I love least of all people, as their affection is fickle. But lucky are those that can find that one person who will love them unconditionally - as I still believe such things does exist.
Great post, one of my favorites of yours - and I love the note Peggy wrote.;)
xoxo

Kleinste Motte said...

Goodwill has helped so many. And I agree with the nature concept to some degree.

C Woods said...

I love many of the things that you do: my spouse, plants, caps (especially for keeping hoods from falling over my eyes ---also I like to clip a cap light onto the brim for walking after dark) --- rocks, Goodwill (although I am determined to give more than I buy because our home is already out of control), writing, reading.

One way I have managed to read so much is that I listen to audio books. For me, the ultimate pleasure is being able to read while I am doing something else ---drive, garden, do laundry, walk, workout, grocery shop. I do a lot of digital art work and I can listen while doing that, too. And if I transfer a book to my iPod, it is great to have with me when I have to wait for an appointment.

I borrow ebooks, or books on tape or CD from the library. I also read actual books, because not everything is available in audio format. I often listen to a book and then borrow the book itself because I want to look up a passage I liked or see if there are photos.

Luckily I use a large library system and can request materials from any branch to be sent to my library of choice. They will even search statewide, and then nationally, for something I want that my library doesn't own.

All Consuming said...

"It really don't matter, kid." Amen.

I love many things you do of course,in fact, you're not a bad old stick yourself you know, and I really enjoyed this incredibly positive post. I might do something similar.

So great you kept that note. x

Brianne said...

Hello, Snowbrush. How nice to come along and find you.

I find a wonderful connection within your post. What a question it is when the religious ask, "Well, what religion are you?" I no longer want to answer, "I'm an Atheist." That answer only uses my non-belief in a diety as an answer. By saying it, I am aknowledging that there is a diety. Do you know what I mean?

I have, in my many years of wisdom and thought (smile) come to answer that question, "Well, what do you believe in?" in much the same way as you have noted as the things that you LOVE in your Post.

I only input, "I believe in" in lieu of I LOVE.

I say this instead of just saying the one "big thing" that I don't believe in... their god.

So to answer their question, I believe in Love, really; Mountain ridges in the Springtime; The love of an old dog; the wonder of a newborn baby's journey; the joy dolpins have surfing in the waves....... It goes on, just like your list.

I loved hanging out with you. See you later. Peace. Brianne

Snowbrush said...

"'I'm an Atheist." That answer only uses my non-belief in a diety as an answer. By saying it, I am aknowledging that there is a diety. Do you know what I mean?"

Yes, I know what you mean, but I see the problem as, to some extent, linguistic rather than substantive. We live in a society in which belief in god is the norm--the default position, if you will--so it seems natural to me that there would be a word for those who don't take the default position. Other, positive words, would include naturalist, humanist, and secularist, but they too have their problems, and they're interpreted by many (atheists and theists) to suggest a desire to make one's atheism less offensive to believers by the use of a softer and less precise word. The word atheist is straight from the hip and unapologetic. This is why I use it, but I too hate to define myself in terms of that which doesn't exist.

Ed Pilolla said...

what you have described is certainly individual taste full of great detail that comes alive. you make me want to get high, which i don't need any encouraging to do:) you bring the lifestyle of loving habanero peppers to life. the place i am living at most of the week relies on donations and we had a huge donation from little sisters of the poor of habanero sausages. we served them at the soup kitchen routinely, but we also ate them ourselves for other meals. by week five, even the habanero sausage lovers had to apply effort to read them.

funny, i remember the night i spent with a rock. i was camping with two friends. we each had our own tents. i come from a family with circulatory issues. my sister has raynaud's disease, as a matter of fact. i was worried about the cold, so i heated up a rock on the fire and dragged it into my tent before it got too hot. what a great night's sleep i had. that rock stayed hot for most of the night. i touch a couple rocks on my girlfriend's desk regularly. now you got me thinking about that.

this is living. the secular life can be a very deep and spiritual life. jesus was totally secular. he never went to service. there's a great line in the bible, one of the few i know off hand: when in a strange land, take the most ancient road. you travel an ancient path, and live an authentic life.

by the way, i enjoy see you in september very much. i heard it on the oldies station growing up. bam. i'm 39.

Snowbrush said...

"you make me want to get high, which i don't need any encouraging to do:)"

"Get high"? And what might be the matter with staying that way with all day everyday, I will be asking ye? That's pretty close to the truth for me and has been for many months.

"habanero sausages"

I don't eat meat, so would be left out on that. I NEVER cook with habaneros because Peggy wouldn't eat anything that contained them, and because I'm happy with just keeping a box of chopped habaneros in the freezer and sprinkling them on foods. I did finally succeed in finding a hot sauce that deserves to be called that, but I won't buy anymore of it because I prefer the straight betters without the other ingredients.

"i touch a couple rocks on my girlfriend's desk regularly."

Since it's your girlfriend's desk, I can imagine there's a substitutionary element at work here, but then you might just be like I am. I also have a strong, adjustable, lighted magnifier, that I like to use to explore as much as I can of the hidden world within rocks.

"the secular life can be a very deep and spiritual life. jesus was totally secular."

Yes, yes, yes, to your first point, although I am loathe to use the word spiritual because communication become too confusing and because I find it annoying to be told that I'm not an atheist after all, especially if it's framed, "You're too nice [or smart, or sensitive] to be a real atheist." One of the blessings of marijuana is its "spiritual" flavor. For example, becoming so absorbed in an experience that I forget that it is I who am having the experience until I am eventually--and instantly--yanked back into an awareness of myself (I like to fantasize that death is just such an absorption into an ultimately undifferentiated awareness). Or how about becoming so awed by all the steps it takes to do anything--getting out of a chair, for example--that I end up having to struggle to do it? I also spend a great deal of time meditating (informally) about aging, illness, chronic pain, and death while stoned. If I had a terminal illness, I might very well use even more of it than I already do.