17 November

Communicating With Rocky: The Living Mind

by Jon Katz
Red And Rocky

People are often upset with me if I change my mind. I change my mind all of the time and have never understood the idea that it is a hypocritical or troubling thing. The great thinkers I know and have read and have met change their minds all the time. Hannah Arendt, a moral philosopher I respect – her work has affected my life – believed it is unethical to cling to the same ideas and never change them. That, she wrote, is how ideas and minds calcify and die. That is the living mind, not angry and unyielding but open and searching. Curious and listening. When I listen to politicians talk in Washington, I see dead minds everywhere, and it gives me chills as they set the tone of the other world.

My mind is always looking for new information and new ways to think about things, that is what the living mind is for me. People who confuse rigidity with conviction have always puzzled me. In our civic and political culture, we are supposed to put on our few and tiny labels – liberal and conservative, left and right – and keep them for life. I hope that never happens to me.

I have been thinking a lot about the notion of Rocky as a spirit animal, an idea that has evolved for me over time. I have worked with shamans and communicators and I respect them, they have done some amazing work with me, but that is not where I am now. I am working on doing my own communicating. Today, I took Red out in the pasture where Rocky always grazed and I closed my eyes and tried to listen, and I had this image of Rocky inhabiting another space, another barn, the life of another human. He was in a barn, he was a younger pony, he was being brushed. He seemed content.

I asked him if he had any messages for me, and he did not have words for me, but I felt the same strong feeling from him I always had, that I felt from the first: I am not yours, I was not Florence’s,  I am my own spirit, in my own life, my own mission. I come and I go. I accept my life, and embrace it and let it go. I am a part of your life, but independent of you. I always come in peace and leave in peace, there is no guilt or regret or misunderstanding in my consciousness. Those are human ailments. There is no mourning or lament for the past. That is my message for you, that is my meaning for you. Accept life and love it, and then accept it and love it some more.

And when I opened my eyes, Red had gone off in pursuit of the sheep. Was I communicating with Rocky? I have no idea, really, how does one separate the message we want to hear from the one that is meant for us? Rocky has changed my mind, about spirits and death, as did Orson, as did Rose, as did Izzy. I believe in animals as magical helpers, as spirits. They do not belong to us, and we do not control them.  I hope in a year or so people will be asking me why I changed it again. I cherish the living and changing mind, not the stiff and angry one.

17 November

George And Donna: Recovery

by Jon Katz
George and Donna

George Forss had surgery on his eyelid, drooping for many years as part of his encounter with polio. He looks like he was in the losing end of a boxing match. I said he was too frightening to be out in public for a day or two, and he agreed. But he doesn’t look bad, and he is recovering well. Donna Wyndbrndt is watching over him, as always.

17 November

Hanging Our Curtains. My Place And Our Place.

by Jon Katz
Hanging Our Curtains

We’ve ordered curtains for the living room, dining room and for my office, and they are changing the feeling of this beautiful old farmhouse. Florence was an interior decorator and her home captured the feel of the 50’s and 60’s when she clearly did most of the last major work here. Her wallpaper and carpets are gone, and we are feeling our way. These Indian curtains for the living room have made the room warm and still bright. I’m getting some green and thicker ones for my office and we are hanging some bright ones for the dining room.

Our instincts about moving were good, I think. Bedlam Farm was my place, this house is our place. Maria never got to really choose the furniture and design for Bedlam Farm. She is in her element here, and I love seeing how happy and connected it makes her. Me too. There is a difference between my place and our place. This is why we needed to come here.

17 November

Light In The Window

by Jon Katz
Light In The Window

The light in the window is a sign to the world outside that we are here, that the house has come to life, a point of light on a dark highway. It’s also for me, a call be strong, to shed anger and judgment, to listen to my heart and follow it. A call to let go, especially of the idea that I can pull the strings that run my universe. The light in the window is for them, and for me.

Email SignupEmail Signup