The Wonder

It is a lazy day. I tried my hand at stand-up comedy last night and found it uniquely exhilarating. The resulting adrenaline and alcohol kept me in a semi-conscious haze until I snapped out of it around 5:30 this morning, with the TV blaring and my feet up on the coffee table. I slept for a few hours, bathed, and cracked a James Ellroy book called Clandestine that I recently picked up at the Bookstore. A couple of beers, coffee, and water have me feeling half-human, but just barely. Performing is a rush, but it is followed by a dramatic come-down. The most vulnerable episodes I’ve ever felt followed performances, and the better the show the greater that vulnerability. Not that last night’s performance was super, but the fact that it was the first time, apart from speeches at weddings, that I’ve stood
in front of a crowd with nothing to protect me but a microphone made it particularly frenetic, emotionally speaking. It was a good experience for me, though I can’t speak for those in the audience.

These periods of vulnerability are probably the closest I’ve ever come to the feeling of ecstasy, which, opposed to a feeling of happiness or joy, is actually a feeling of complete openness and exposure to the great chaos. It is closer to terror than it is to peace. It is an understanding of everything and nothing at all, and the knowledge that life is constantly lived on the edge of a razor blade. A butterfly’s breath could knock you off or slice you in half.

The neighbors up here are constantly waging a war against the environment. They spray toxins on everything they consider a weed—from the blackberry vines that line the irrigating canals, to the grass that grows through the cracks in the sidewalk. They blow leaves and race around on riding mowers hacking away at anything remotely green. One neighbor blows leaves from August through January and constantly complains about the trees.

Myself, I haven’t so much as fired up the lawnmower yet and I’m feeling content to watch the grass grow. I will have to mow some of it down at some point, if for no other reason than fire prevention, protection from burrs, and maybe also from snakes, but for now it can wait.

There is always something new brewing in the Chico music scene—it’s a wonderful community to be a part of. I have had the opportunity to catch SisterhoodsTM a couple of times and I am really enjoying what Nikki Sierra and company are putting out there. It is a driving, dramatic kind of a sound the group generates and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them in the near future.

The neighbor across the street just fired up his weed whacker, and now the dogs (minus Archibald the Terrorer) are going nuts. We’re still trying to wrap our brains around the reaper’s scythe taking that joyous little piece of life away from us so soon. I think the clock is approaching beer thirty.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.