a while back about posting stories of things that have been rambling around my head for ages. Monkey mind tales. I got one posted, and another started.
Then I got slammed with work.
Now, every time I think how much I would like to post another monkey mind tale — and don’t — because I feel guilty about posting and not working, I think of Blue Feather.
Years ago, back when I planted trees, even before my forestry days, one of my fellow tree planters went by the name, Blue Feather. Blue Feather was an ex semi-pro football player from Arizona or perhaps Southern California. Certainly, he hailed a part of the country graced with abundant citrus trees.
Blue Feather, as you might guess from his name, had become smitten with American Indian culture and had attempted to reform himself from football player into self-proclaimed guru. Or something like that. Perhaps a field injury was involved. Or perhaps, he came to the realization that semi-pro was as far as he was going on that career path. So, he picked another path to amble down: tree planter and would-be sage.
One day, when we were planting on a seriously underbid contract in northern Idaho for the Clearwater National Forest, making next to nothing, I was eating a grapefruit for lunch. As I peeled it, I discovered the interior had some rot or mold. I was starting to carefully pick around the bad spots when Blue Feather noticed what I was doing. With no warning whatsoever, he reached over, grabbed the grapefruit from my hand and threw it about three miles down the road.
I was outraged and made my point in no uncertain terms. He said, “No one should eat rotten food, especially grapefruit. They are so abundant and cheap.” I pointed out that the food we were eating was purchased out of our ridiculously low wages and that in Idaho, grapefruit were not particularly inexpensive either. And furthermore, if I wanted to eat food that I had partially paid for that had mold, it was my damn choice and he should mind his own damn business.
Apparently, my sudden unexpected outburst shocked and entertained a few of the other planters who were sitting about, also eating our communally-purchased lunch. I have a vague recollection of some interesting noises and someone starting to sing the Neil Young lyrics, “It’s the woman in you . . .” amid a huge outburst of laughter aimed at both Blue Feather and me.
Anyway, the point to this back-story is to set the stage for the only other memorable moment in my mind regarding Blue Feather — aside from the fact that I out-planted him on that particular contract in Idaho.
Something had gone wrong. I don’t remember what. Maybe the truck broke down. Maybe we ran out of something. Who knows. All kinds of things went wrong on that job. We were all despondent and Blue Feather seized the moment to share some of his guru-philosophy.
“Don’t make plans. The Great Spirit will kick you in the ass every time.”
I’ve been kicked.