Friday, March 13, 2009

A Convergence of Events

Maybe you've noticed that words are hard to come by around here lately, my own words anyway. There is probably an explanation for this, more than simply the ebb and flow of writing and editing a blog, but as hard as I try, I can't seem to put it, whatever it is, into words.

It is a convergence of events around here, I suppose. A convergence of events that have me in a certain state of mind, a state that seems to be beyond words.

Sunday was the all too present reminder that I have now been battling a finicky back for an entire year. There are so many who battle chronic pain for entire lifetimes, what is a year? It has been a long year. As Democrats mingled in Boise for the annual Frank Church Banquet weekend, I was home in Pocatello recovering from another round of steroid injections. A year ago Sunday I awoke in a Boise hotel room with the strangest stiffness in my back, a stiffness that the stretches and yoga poses I had previously used to ease the ache could not cure. It's been an awfully long year with many ups and downs, far too many downs, and not being able to ride in a car long enough to attend the Democratic events in Boise reminded me of many of them.

For those non-politicos out there it may appear odd that I track time by the annual Frank Church weekend, but the event holds a certain significance for me. In fact, that weekend I came home with an awfully stiff back was my return to the annual banquet after promising myself I'd never miss another because of my health. It was a promise I couldn't keep this year.

Regardless of the many ups and downs, I've learned plenty of lessons over the past year and a lot of that has to do with growing up. We have to make choices in our lives not just for our happiness and well-being, but for our health, and I spent far too much time taking my health for granted. You never appreciate something like that until it is gone and the long road back to good health is a constant reminder of the responsibility you have for yourself. It seems rather simplistic, but the truth of the matter really is if you don't take care of it, nobody will.

From last Spring until now, there have been plenty of successes to match the many defeats.

It's hard to imagine for those unfamiliar with the Stallings Collection that now, nearly a year after the opening of the collection to the public, that the final processing has not been completed. It was August of 2006 when I began, with my dedicated colleague, the cataloging and indexing of the collection. For a collection that took nearly six months to browse through, beginning to end, it is simply amazing that I find myself on the verge of completing the project. A few more months and this wonderful personal blessing in disguise will no longer be my daily employment. What a great success it will be and what a strange day in my life it will as well.

Where blogging is concerned, there are certain successes that may never be, but I can't help but hope we are making progress toward the eradication of hate here in Idaho.

The ongoing hate speech being broadcast out of Zeb Bell's Murtaugh home has picked up listeners, mostly those who want to hear for themselves the absolute insanity that comes out of the mouth of Zeb Bell and his guests, but also a few who are listening more frequently in an attempt to show their solidarity with Zeb and the despicable ideology he stands for. Our goal certainly wasn't to bring attention to Zeb Bell to boost his ratings and listener statistics. Those who are lining up to stand beside Zeb Bell and his recent guest Rep. John A. "Bert" Stevenson, frankly, cause me more distress than Zeb Bell alone ever did. However, even the smallest progress must be considered progress. Something about Rome not being built in a day...

It isn't easy for me, just as I'm sure it isn't easy for my collaborator at the MountainGoat Report, to digest the amount of hate and filth that is broadcast daily by KBAR. It certainly isn't easy for me to handle the direct connection I have to the broadcast area and Zeb's audience, either. But these are all concessions I chose to make when I began monitoring Zeb Bell. If I had it to do over would I have done it differently? Sure. If I had the choice to make now, would I have even become involved? I can't say for certain. Yet, even on the days when listening to one more diatribe might be the end of my own sanity, I am encouraged by the increasing number of comments being written and posted on various sites that take note of their incredulity until they actually listened to Zeb for themselves.

René Daumal, the great French poet who hardly ever struggled with originality or at least in his young life never appeared to, understood the power of words. I can't say I understood a single thing about Daumal's A Night of Serious Drinking aside from the introduction, but in that introduction he wrote: "Words are made for a certain exactness of thought, as tears are for a certain degree of pain. What is least distinct cannot be named; what is clearest is unutterable."

If he is right, where I am now must be without distinction.

This year and all that it has been for me is beyond words. I near the end of a project that has defined my academic tenure at Idaho State University. I am finishing courses from professors I will never again listen to lecture about the historic themes that have defined their distinguished careers. I continue to battle one of the most complex and irritating health obstacles I have encountered in my young life. And there aren't words. No combination of words in the English language adequately describe what this convergence of events means for me.


Kelly said...

This is a beautiful, honest, and obviously heartfelt post. I found your blog late but I'm glad I found it.

Tara A. Rowe said...

Thank you, Kelly.

Unknown said...


I'm sorry to hear about your health problems, but I'm glad you continue to post on a regular basis. You're one of the Idaho bloggers I enjoy the most.

Tara A. Rowe said...

Thank you, too, Ben. Recovering from back surgery has been a much longer process than I anticipated and every now and then I get a little bogged down. I should be back to my old self soon.