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Coyote Goes Round the Bend试译1

(2010-05-18 23:57:01)


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.
















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。









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