Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pictures of My Mother

I woke up this morning and looked for a cat. Any cat would do, although a brown gray cat who is feeling her age and is missing a back leg would be best. Or perhaps a grumpy cat whose ears fold down like thundercloud eyebrows and add to his over all grumpiness. He is so fat, he is a puddle of a cat, but he feels each touch with the gratitude of a cat who has lost much and isn't really grumpy, but is always in mourning. Or perhaps an orange kitten, who leaps and bites and loves and cant sit still unless he is in deep sleep. Or maybe it's not a cat, but a little dog who has been around cats so much she thinks she is a cat. A cat who can be loud and fast. A cat who demands the best of attentions. A cat who doesn't purr, but sings her joy in a siren's wail. A cat who prances about and is always a bit mistrustful of anyone who hasn't proved their full right to be in her rooms. Any of these would do.

Or perhaps I'm not looking for a cat. I'm so disoriented I'm unsure what exactly it is I'm missing. Maybe I'm looking for a garden of flowers and herbs and grasses. I'm looking for a deck that is weather beaten and love worn. I'm looking for a comfortable chair that is breathing in the warm breath of a summer Texas morning. I'm looking for wind chimes and quirky garden decorations. I'm looking for a warm cup of very strong coffee and the right smell of cigarette smoke. I'm looking for mosquitoes, even though I don't really want to find them, I'm sure they will find me. I'm looking for scrambled eggs and green chili and sausage.

Or perhaps I'm looking for a cool shady house. A place where the kitchen seems to be the only room that gets the sun. A place where the dim light eases the eyes into the day and apologizes for your need to be awake at all, but assures you it will make your day as pleasant as possible. It knows it can not protect you from the world outside, but everything with in will be well and good and pleasant.

No. I'm not looking for these things. I'm looking for my mother. These are not things she has, these are things she is. These are the things that have gathered about her and keep her, as I have, out of a necessity for her warmth and love and joy and earnestness and comfort and ease.

These are all pictures of my mother.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh, and did I mention?

This is my last sunburn.

A Warm Gun...Can't Complain About That

I went to the shooting range yesterday! Yes. Me. Claire Rice who wont have a gun in her house and believes to the bottom of her feet that guns were invented and are intended primarily as a people killer and only as an extra bonus as a tool for killing animals before eating. Yes. Me. I shot guns.

And it was cool.

There is no denying the power and the charge I got from cocking back the hammer and squeezing the trigger. And it was scary. It was scary to know that in my hand was a tool that could hurt those people standing around me and anyone else I ran into. The person who took me out to the range said at one point "That will do it. That would hurt someone if you were trying to protect yourself." And I said, "Right, but I'd have to tell them to stand really still and no more than 10 yards away so that I could get a clear shot." And he said, "If you had to protect yourself with a gun, more likely then not they would be right up on you."

At that point I decided that I didn't need a gun and a gun wouldn't do me much good. If they were right up on me I would be in a lot of trouble and if I were brave enough to shoot the gun, then I would be brave enough to stab or fight as hard as I could. And by stab, I mean if someone was right up on me in my kitchen. I don't intend on carrying a knife around with me. A self defense instructor told me once "Go for the eyes." Hopefully I'll be able to do that.

Anyway, yes. I shot a gun. I stood next to other people shooting guns. I loaded it, aimed at a target, and I fired. And I always hit the target. I didn't always hit it well. I was told that what I should look for is good grouping. The target I was aiming for was about a foot in diameter. I didn't need to hit the bulls eye, I just needed to keep my shots consistent. If I got them all in the same place, it didn't mater if I hit the target or not. "We can work on that later, if you want. For now, just focus on getting a good grouping."

Find your balance. Be comfortable, but strong. Hold this arm out like you are pointing. This one can be loose or whatever, it just needs to steady and control the other hand. Hold down that thumb. Now don't go until you are ready. Squeeze, don't pull. Don't anticipate. Nice. Well done.

It all sounds like yoga, except for what was in between.

She'll kick back at you, hold on tight. It's going to fire out here and here, if you get your fingers there the flesh will be blown right off and there will be nothing but bone. We wont need to go to a hospital, it will be cauterized already. We'll just need to go get a bone saw. Don't focus on the target, focus on getting the front and the back lined up with your target just above that point there. Don't shoot like James Cagney. He was always trying to help the bullet out, it's got all the help it needs. That's right, can't complain about that. That would be a kill shot.

That would be a kill shot.

I thought about hypocrisy and what it really means. Can I be anti gun and enjoy, I mean really enjoy, movies like Inglorious Bastards? Can I say that I don't even like guns for hunting, and then eat venison? Can I say that I don't think children should be taught about gun play, but then get them squirt guns and rubber band guns and even swards and such? And can I be an artist, interpreting the works of others, and not know anything about guns...when so much of the world and thus art is full of them?

I don't know. I really really don't. I try to rationalize and make sense of it all, but I feel lost.

So, I shot a gun, and I did alright.