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Coyote Goes Round the Bend试译1

(2010-05-18 23:57:01)
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杂谈

分类: 翻译

Coyote Goes Round the Bend

(December 1989)

At forty-five years old, I am halfway round my allotted planetary circuit, more or less. If I get Alzheimer’s, I hope it will be less. If I get wisdom, I hope it will be more.

At this point on my circuit, I notice my priorities changing. No, not really changing just expanding. Let me explain with a simple and I except simple-minded metaphor.

A life is like a pebble dropped into a pool, surrounded by a serious of concentric circles radiating out to the horizon. After forty-five years I’m starting to get a handle on what type of splash I am.

The first ring is family. That’s a life’s work, raising four children and tangling with the ferocious, bright-eyed Mrs. Coyote while running with a pack of relatives, in-laws and friends.

The next ring is work. I’ve messed around in this one for a long time, often with a kind of circular tail chasing, until writing evolved into the core of what I do, and that (thank God) became reasonably settled.

For the last twenty years I have also put an enormous amount of energy into the next circle, community. We sought out the “international communities” of the early seventies, then discovered true community, called “neighborhood,” in Minneapolis. For me community had always had a high priority, perhaps as a protest against the anomie of modern life, perhaps as an affirmation of my small town childhood, perhaps because of an intuitive sense of the value of interconnectedness.

The next ring is society-city, state, nations, cultures. Addressing social problems has been on my agenda for the past twenty years as well, becoming part of my daily work.

The next ring is planet and stunning astronaut earth photographs all mocked by an increasing environmental mess. I’ve toiled at this one for twenty years as well, and Mother Earth is still up to her elbows in toxic rain and trash.

These necessary rings are each full of consuming passions, and passions that consume. One could live within any one of them for a lifetime.

However, as the rings have expanded and thinned over time, they have become more at one with the pool. As that process occurs, I have become restless again, begun to ask new questions.

What is the pool? And what is below its surface?

These days I am confronted by the questions of religion.

Mrs. Coyote is no help in this matter. She suffers from what she called PCD, Permanent Catholic Damage. That is the paradoxical affliction in which the politics and hierarchies of the Mother Church feel anachronistic and off-putting, yet no other religion, by definition, is the One True Church. So she chooses no formal religion, and seems happy whit that decisions, although she, not I, taught our children to say their prayers at night.

I was raised Congregationalist, a religion that seemed to me as a youth almost secular, a celebration of the coming of the Pilgrims, not of spirit. The Pilgrims do not turn me on. In fact, with my long interest in the many contributions of American Indians, they turn me off. Puritans introduced humorlessness and black clothing to North American, a cultural disaster from which the nation has yet to recover.

But I learned something valuable while sitting in that pew among the congregations of my youth. I learned the calming habit of ritual, such as singing in unison and putting money in the plate when it is passed, and sitting still while listening to a minister ruminate about something other than the daily round.

Of course, in those days my greatest interest was the daily round. Throughout many of the sermons of my childhood, I imagined I was bouncing a basketball off the church’s Gothic arch supports. This mental exercise didn’t improve my free-throw percentage with the DePere, Wisconsin Redbirds, but it did help me learn to sit still.

Perhaps it was the sitting still. Perhaps it was the Doxology, one of only two songs I can still sing by heart: “ Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Perhaps it was the feisty family experience on Sunday mornings, with Dad riding head when the family was moving too slowly getting ready for church. He was wise enough not to allow any dispensation for a sleepy boy lying on the soft living room rug reading the Sunday funnies, unable to move a muscle.

However I learned it, I now understand that an essential experience, now that I am ready to recall it, takes place out of the other circles—of self, family, neighborhood, job, society, environment, all so righteous and needy and consuming. It is the opportunity to address, in the common phrase, “the quiet place within us.”

But is that place “within us”? or is it in that pool, which carries all the other waves and yet is only ripples?

I don’t have a clue. But I do have this urge. So now I venture into church whenever I get the chance. Which is not very often, since I run up against the many Sunday rituals by now firmly established in my other lives.

 

狼到中年

198912月)

我今年已经四十五岁了,既定的人生轨道也多多少少走了有一半了。如果老了会痴呆,我希望少走一点。如果老而睿智,我希望多走一段。

人生之路走至今,我发现需要自己优先考试的事情也变换了。不,不是变换了,仅仅是范围扩大了。让我打个简单的比方来说明一下吧。

人这辈子,犹如石子投水,圈圈涟漪向外扩散。活了四十五年,我方才开始注意自己溅起的水花是什么样子的。

第一个圈儿是家庭。就是传宗接代,抚养四个孩子,和飒爽暴躁、双目有神的狼夫人拌嘴,以及与一大群亲戚朋友本家妻家共事。

第二个圈儿是工作。过去很长一段时间,我想追着尾巴原地打转儿一样,把这弄得一团糟,知道写作成为我的主业。感谢上帝,这工作得以合理的安顿下来。

过去的二十年中,我把大量的精力都放在了第三个圈儿社交上。我们先寻找出了17世纪早期的“国际社交”,然后发现了真正的社交,这在明尼波利斯被成为“社区”。对于我来说,社交永远都是优先考虑的事情之一,或许就像清教徒反对纷乱的现代生活的那种坚决,也许就像我儿时小镇的那种认同感,也许是因为对于交际价值的直觉。

第四个圈儿是地球。不断严峻的环境问题对于生态学课程和美国印第安人的夸夸其谈以及美妙绝伦的地球航拍照片都是一种嘲弄。二十年来,我一直致力于这个问题,而地球母亲的肩膀依旧置于酸雨和垃圾中。

这些不可或缺的圈儿,每一个都充满了强烈的激情,并让激情愈发强烈。人们可以靠着其中任一度过一生。

尽管,随着这些圈儿不断地扩散、平息,他们与池塘渐渐的融为一体。在此过程中,我无法停歇,开始提出新的问题。

这个水池是什么?水面地下是什么?

这些天,摆在我面前的是宗教问题。

在这个事情上,狼夫人帮不上什么忙。她被PCD,也就是持续的罗马天主教伤害所困扰。这种自相矛盾的痛苦,来源于主教堂里政治和阶层那种不合时代,令人不适的感觉。因为迄今为止,没有一种宗教能对“真正的教堂”下个定义。所以她没有正式信教,也对这个选择十分满意,尽管她,而不是我,教导孩子们每天晚上要祈祷。

我打小就受公理会影响。这对于年幼的我来说就不像是一个宗教,而是朝圣者参与的一个仪式,不关乎鬼神。朝圣者并不能吸引我。事实上,让我一直感兴趣的是美洲印第安人的成就,对我颇有吸引力。 清教徒带到美洲的那种严肃死板和黑色服饰对这个国家造成了文化灾难,至今还未抹平。

但是我与那些年轻人坐在一起集会时,学到了不少有价值的东西。我学会了在仪式上保持平静,齐声吟唱已经将钱放入传过来的盘子里,还有稳稳坐着挺牧师布道反思,而非整日游逛。

当然,在那些日子里,我最喜欢做的还是整日乱逛。我的童年满是布道讲经。我想象着我在教堂拱形柱子下玩篮球。这种精神锻炼并未提高我在威斯康辛队的德皮尔比赛时的投篮命中率,但这确实让我能保持端坐不动。

有时就那么端坐这,有时唱一首名为Doxology的歌曲。这是我至今铭记在心的两首曲子之一:“受恩惠的人赞美上帝”。有时周日早上家里一片忙乱,父亲引着磨磨蹭蹭的全家去教堂。他不需要动一根手指,仅用智慧就能保证没人会躺在柔软的客厅地毯上读周日笑话。

不管怎样我明白了,现在额可以理解这种必不可少的经历了;现在开始会为这份记忆,代替了其他的圆圈儿:个人、家庭、社区、工作、社会、环境、所有这些正义的、必须的,热切的事物。在这普通的话语中,我们能够找到那“心中的静地”。

但这是“我们心中”的那片地方吗?或许这是那个载着浪花儿的池塘,现如今只见涟漪。

我一头雾水,但又有种十分强烈的欲望。所以现在只要一有机会,我就会去教堂转转。不过自从我周日与家人安排了许多固定的活动之后,就不经常去了。

 

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