Another beautiful evening at the lake watching the Turkey Buzzards tear apart an enormous dead carp on the beach. The largest Buzzard stands on top of the carp and doesn’t let the other buzzards have a bite. They attempt to sneak a piece, but he screams and flaps his wings in warning. They back off. They wait. It’s a very big carp, certainly that one Buzzard can’t eat the whole thing, so I watch to see how and when the rest of the pack will have a turn. The one buzzard fills up and can’t eat anymore. He flies off. Second Buzzard jumps on the carp, again he fights off his buddies, and won’t share. He fills up and flies off. Third Buzzard, still left with a decent amount of dead fish, starts in. He takes on the tail end, and allows two other Buzzards to join him. All except one little Buzzard. He still sits to the side biding his time. I feel so sad for him. A distant boat roars its motor and all the buzzards fly off, all except the rejected one. He is clueless- I guess he doesn’t hear the boat, or maybe he hears the boat but is so interested in the fish that he takes his chances. He is the courageous buzzard. He now has the entire fish to himself. The boat makes more noise. The little buzzard glaces up, but continues his nibbling. He is eating a huge fish without interference. I consider that he is so hungry that he is going to chance it, but he takes his time, eats and eats- must be filling up, but still, new noises and threats do not deter him. Yes, he is not a stupid buzzard or a particularly starved buzzard. He is the Brave Buzzard! He ends up with the most fish, and eats without angst. Of course, he could be a she, I can’t concern myself with sex as I watch this sweet buzzard, the most rejected buzzard, lowest rung on the ladder, bottom of the pecking order buzzard, enjoy his/her exquisite beach front dining experience. In this case, courage trumped brawn. The big wig buzzard had flown off with the others. Big wig or not, he still left the dinner table in fright. It is possible that the “courageous” buzzard who stayed on was simply slow, maybe deaf- or understood on some level that the boat noise was not an safety issue. I choose to believe that I was able to witness the beauty of a brave buzzard receiving his due! Sweetly, a couple of his friends returned to the scene and my brave buzzard shared his bounty graciously. Oh, I see…he/she was more than brave or dumb-(often the same thing?) – no, my new buzzard hero was an Advanced Buzzard- an enlightened, compassionate, generous buzzard. Let me ponder this lesson.
I wanted to post a photo of a grey head, mine particularly, but the site is rejecting photo posts, says they’re not the right something, so I contacted my site administrator and he told me in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t have time for my site anymore, being that I had rejected him as a potential life partner. It’s either partner or payment, right folks? That’s why I would be so happy as a rich woman. I Ideas and career demand a cash cow behind the curtain. For example, Lady Gaga- a random choice, just curious, how did she do it? Googled that she attended one of the most prestigious private high schools in New York City. I rest my case. You connect the dots. Sure you can sleep on a street corner and eat out of a garbage can, or worse, waitress and go to auditions, but I tell you…you’ve got to have dough to go, go, go. It all happens with money, if you have some talent behind it, or even if you don’t. Just like the myth of the self-made man, the self-made successful artist, one step further from the truth. Virginia Woolf tried to say this as politely as she could, “A Room of One’s Own” —- Cash. Rent. Protection. Oh, another one I googled, the woman on Seinfeld. Dreyfus somebody. Okay, she’s cute and talented, but come on. YOU google her. You figure it out for yourself while I figure out how to get a shitload of cash together to propel myself past these subtalents and into the sphere of greatness where I belong. But now I see that greatness, as in commercial success, means compromise and endless cash poured into a questionable return. It’s got to be bottomless. But I’m off topic. Yes, my Grey Enlightment consists of the recognition that money trumps talent, hard work, luck. Money CREATES talent, hard work, luck. location, location, location. But not necessarily. With money I would create my own satillite network, either radio or TV- and blast my blasphemy from here to San Antonio. I wouldn’t need a 3,200 dollar New York Apartment. I remember them. Let’s go over to Suzy’s and see how her cabaret show is going. It seems Suzy lives in a penthouse on fifth Avenue with her 98 year old husband. I don’t meet him. where IS he? SHE, Suzy, has a desk designed in Marie Antoinette style in a room the size of Yankee Stadium. Susy is rehearsing her cabaret show. The finest musicians in New York are at her table attempting to find the right key for her off key voice, who gives a shit, she’s paying them. They are drooling over her boa. Musicians are whores, I love them. Give them some money, they will carry your sorry ass in your saggy tent dress anywhere. You WILL believe that you are a genius. Suzy has no talent. Suzy has a penthouse. Do I want to BE Suzy. Well, maybe. It seems talent and no money leads a person to despair. I am in despair. Despair leads to radical choices. A desperate attempt to catapult past the money angle and try for a publicity stunt on a budget. There it is. Live from Bridport, Vermont. But back to the Grey Enlightenment. Lots of gray hair in Vermont. Dying hair is not acceptable behavior in these parts. Organic naturalistic aging is all the rage. And I must admit that the women look fine in these parts. Beautiful, actually, even in their sensible shoes. I watch us all, the gray brigade- inching towards a complete late life enlightenment, an explosion of self discovery, an acknowledgement that we are not going to take any more shit- POW, the 60’s in reverse. I project that we’ll have love-ins and Ashrams, drugs collected from the Hemlock Society, readying ourselves for the final escape from the mundane funny money Merry go Round- our faces in your face- wrinkled and soured- our bodies, limping and aching, inspired by the pain, – last gaspers – not going down easy- but grey, and finally free to be completely ourselves. What a force! The baby boomers fake everybody out. Slow learners, spoiled goods, snap to attention with one last narcissitic chest beating, bra burning, sex lubed, anti-government, SDS death rattle. Going down in flames. The fires are about to ignite…. cheers!
Without warning, a co-worker- friend, school mate- is struck down in the prime of life by a fast moving truck or mystery virus and we are left stunned by the impromptu fashion of the demise. Wait a minute. That person is younger than I am, if only by a year, but still, they’re dead as a doornail and they had so much press in their favor. Only last month they won that award and had their picture on the front cover of that popular daily news media site. Wait a minute. So what does this mean besides a glowing obituary, front and center column, the photo, the spectacular funeral procession comprised of celebrities with generous words and the specific gravity of their grief….famous grief, monied grief, the grief that comes with the loss of lifestyle indulgence. The recently dead can no longer attend the MOMA or Met openings, can no longer sip the best champagne with other pre-legends in the best places, and oh, the lusciousness of those pre-death hearths, the sacred isolationist hubs of the monied or beautified. Already in a heavenly sphere, death, to these glorificated minutia, is a real bummer, a true loss, a future permanence of noshow status, which leads, of course, to a fading, and being discussed, if at all, in the past tense. Have they lost the game or won the war? Are they the first or the last? In the end, we must turn our backs and continue on our quest for social immortality, that is to say, a permanent invite to the best of the show, before our own sudden disapearance, without a just excuse. I”m so sorry I can’t attend my coronation, i am not of this world. The burden now falls squarely on your living head, you, still functioning, must take over and organize a proper eulogy for the person you despised and wished dead in the first place. The sudden death of a co-worker leaves a void, a void easily filled by you and your constituents, and if they contained greatness, you will over come it, because nobody really thinks the grave is a good place to be productive, although worms would disagree. You, the dolt, can limp on in their place, thumbing through their file cabinet of truths, re-marking them to suit. You are the winner. The surviving Dead Head, ahead of the game due to your continuous breathing out and in, heart still beating, your mediocrity fueled with random luck that only longevity may bestow.
I mean nothing artistic, except straightening the pictures on the wall. This is a first. I don’t know the reason. I had big plans for my time in the country, writing, painting, a little gig somewhere….. ZIP. Days and weeks passed, I busied myself the way most people do who are not artists- home maintenance, various charitable projects, making money renting the lakehouse, paying bills, reading, walking, brushing the dog. Last week I finally called a psychotherapist – what the hell is going on? Why doesn’t my ego kick in and demand accolades? Is it depression? It seems different than that. Turning 60 and facing some facts that might discourage me from pursuing anything except picking out a gravestone? Booking a cruise? Maybe I’m busy “settling” for what I’ve been left with- a house in the boonies surrounded with either farmers or countrified suburbanites from Greenwich, Conn and Jersey. Safe theater, safe music, safe, safe, safe. Safe and steady. Safe and sad. Safe and solidified. Oh, let’s not blame Vermont. I think I’ll blame myself, as usual, and focus on where the hell my ego went? People ask me what I’m doing, I say, nothing. They don’t know what to make of it. Everybody is doing something, or planning something, or wrapping something up. What’s with doing nothing, and is it even possible? Why don’t I care anymore? The proposals and opportunities to be a diva and or oil painter and or writer and again trickling in, due to my attempt at connection with the outside world, like the Unitarian Church, the Democratic Party, Group Yoga. Everybody has an idea. Everybody, bubbling with a craving to offer help, has an idea, a plan, a person for me to meet. There are lead weights on my shoulders and a black bag over my head. Maybe I want to find out who I am as an aging woman, losing her looks, without any good press, without a fan club, without an audience, without a resume, just a fade out. For now. I have enough self knowledge to know that something will break here, at some point, and cleaning the toilets, dusting the shutters, organizing a drawer, will not suffice. But what the hell is this? Where did I go? Who was that I that went? Do I even like her?