Redundancy Is Redundant

The Super Bowl sent me into a Monday funk. Not because I was invested in either team—as a lifelong Raider fan I am genetically obligated to hold Denver in disdain. I have nothing against Seattle, but I don’t really care about them one way or the other. Apart from hype, the advertisements, and the spectacular nonsense, the game was simply pathetic.

I am a football addict in some state of recovery. This season I watched fewer games than I have since the years the Raiders spent down in Los Angeles. I seriously maybe only watched ten games all season long—I used to watch at least three games a week. I guess it wasn’t only the pathetic melodrama that depressed me—it was like I finally saw behind the curtain, and there was nothing back there.

A lot of things are striking me that way these days. I don’t know what’s causing these feelings. We’re collectively investing so much emotion and energy into things that are absolutely meaningless.

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

My world moves a lot slower these days than it used to. Sometimes I feel like I’m falling behind. I don’t have cable TV, our internet connection is so slow as to make anything other than email and static websites practically inaccessible, and we’re lousy about getting the Netflix DVD’s back into the mail regularly. 20 Feet From Greatness, a documentary made fantastic simply by the talent of the vocalists it focuses on, sat on our end table for a week, sealed and ready to mail, before I realized it never made it to the post office.

On the other hand, a falcon just flew by and landed in an oak tree on the corner of the property, and right now I’m listening to a couple of dogs, a mile or so apart, howling back and forth to one another. It sounds mournful, but I don’t know if it is. As versed as I am in pidgin-canine, I’ve yet to figure that code out. Yesterday, on our morning walk, we accidentally flushed a fox from the brambles. Coveys of quail abound.

Freedom in Shackles

I’ve been working up in the mountains; the work is solitary. The steady roar of a chainsaw, filtered to a purr by aviator style ear muffs, accompanies the thoughts I haven’t figured out how to slow down. They close in on me at a time when I’ve been hoping my brain would finally open up. Last night I had vivid dreams of flying, but while I was flying I was crying tears of frustration and despair. Contradictory feelings: freedom in shackles, things never seem to go according to plan.

The job I used to have was steady and constant, a numbing exercise—a grind. But it provided a structure I didn’t understand how much I’d come to rely on. I currently enjoy more self-determination than ever before, and sometimes it scares the crap out of me.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.