Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Familial Remembrance

My present entanglement in largely inane academic concerns was disrupted by the death of my maternal grandfather Wednesday afternoon. My focus was retrained to remembrance of a man who lived life very much on his own terms in the face of a rapidly changing world. He was an Oregon logger of the old school who started falling trees with axe in hand during the Great Depression. I have inherited most aspects of my physical stature and strength from him along with an obstinacy and general animosity toward modern 'civilized' society. He was still trying to subsistence farm and herd his handful of goats last week despite failing health. I have numerous images and memories of my time with a man who was most comfortable working independently in the woods or on a farm without submitting to the daily oppression or grind of punching a time clock for wages at a company. He paid an economic price for his autonomy and refusal to submit to the changed economy, but he was more content living his life without being trapped like a rat in the maze of urbanized life. He was a usually good-natured and simple man who retained a level of superficial, yet lighthearted, orneriness throughout his life - underneath he was a surprisingly caring and sensitive person. He'd argue just to be obstinate and stir the pot in a teasing way, while grinning to let people know he was usually agitating for the sake of agitating. This is probably the root of my deteriorating boyish mischievousness that used to soften aspects of my personality and make me more interesting and likable. Hopefully, I can retain and reclaim some of this heritage before I lose the playful side of my nature to emotional vacancy and my atrophied bitterness. I think I can set forth myself as a decent legacy and representation of this man in this world.