Thank You Amanda and Ishmael
I'm still catching up on my reading... couldn't read for a long while. I had started a book given to me by my friend Amanda... for a variety of reasons, I expect... my having lived somewhere between the leaver and taker societies, to use Daniel Quinn's convention in that book, Ishmael, to describe the difference between hunter gatherer and farming societies... by ability to visit my friend Julia for hours in her jail cell, sitting with her as she played with, or showed me her child Peirpont... feeling a sense of personal outrage as people would shout at her, "Look at the monkey..." and I would reply, Julia is a ape, a higher primate like you and me.
I finally finished the book, the reflection towards the end that we are all in the prison of our culture, even Donald Trump can't escape the prison he builds for himself and others... I did try. I lived on the margins of life for most of mine. I am not sure, that I chose to do that... perhaps I found the margins because of rejection by the mainstream, but it was clear that I was not to be allowed into the company of takers.
These frontiers of the margins are now very hard pressed. I watch as my Hunter Gatherer friends in Canada slowly die within the process of being forced into the prison of Taker culture. It becomes increasingly lonely on those margins.
A fellow, who I think was likely a madman, approached me as I had coffee last first day. He was wearing a long black robe and had adorned himself with an eccentric collection of symbols.... he wished me a Sabbath Shalom, and I explained I was a Quaker, and after going back and forth between questions about the Amish and Shakers and whathaveyou, he asked where the meeting house was... and when meeting was... ah well...
During meeting I could not settle into silence, I was stuck in thought about my loneliness. I had fallen for the trap of the Taker culture. I followed love from living the hunter gatherer life of a busker on the west coast of Ireland, to return to the US, and try to bring that life here, not knowing it was not the trappings of the life that made the life. I built Irish boats, and busked, and became less and less a part of life in the States, I began to fight for the rights of those who lived in the margins next to me, Romany people, Indians, humans without homes... and so I went to law school and it became even more apparent that I had no place in the White Male Takers society... and I came out of law school a little more lonely, I'd strayed even farther from the society of the leavers, while not entering the life of the takers. There I was, thinking in meeting about living alone, eating alone, worshiping alone, forcing my self to play music at times, mostly no longer listening to music, because playing in bands, like the one I now am sitting in on, a band whose only purpose is a pay check and even the music be damned... I play alone in that band... caught in the space between my world of leavers and the world of takers. After a half hour, a figure who had been sitting in the middle of the meetinghouse, rose, and I took of my hat to hear the message, and to my real horror, it was the madman, and worse... he was walking over to me. I put a finger to my lips and shook my head, to let him know this was not a good time for a conversation. He leaned very close to me, over a bench, and whispered... "thank you."
For a moment... I was not alone.