It's two am and I am sat with Mrs Twigg watching Paul Simon through my highly dubious, but very effective, connection to the BBC.
The concert is great, the music is evocative and excellent in the way Paul Simon never fails to deliver. Even when he bust the sanctions, and pissed of the African National Congress by going to South Africa during the apartheid regime ... he still managed to come up smelling of roses. He worked with some talented black musicians, so I think he pissed everyone off at the same time.
Anyway, I was just sitting here with the urge to write something. No idea what I am just indulging myself on the sole pretext that I enjoy writing and, from time to time, others enjoy reading it.
So, with my apologies to the orange mermaid, let us descend below the waves and see what I decided to write about.
Even here in Oklahoma, a State I disparage at will, because it deserves it, I find moments of pure tranquility. To be fair to Oklahoma, there is beauty here. From the Glass Mountains near Kansas to the rolling hills of the South East, the deep red earth shaped by man after his own fashion for eons, and the lakes of the area I inhabit; the state is a surprising mixture of contrasts.
It might be surprising because there is also an ugliness that is hard to quantify. An ugliness that is a sharp counterpoint to Still Crazy After All These Years currently emanating from the teevee machine. Listening to that song, and the Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes that follows it reminds me of other "perfect moments". Riding my motorcycle across this land is a pleasure I never imagined I would find when I arrived here, but it is something that I treasure.
The ugliness is not that, anymore than it is the lakes or hills. They simply serve as an ironic frame for the social structures built by man. The Oklahoma Legislature produces laws and policies not befitting a modern democracy. A land that gave us Woody Guthrie and Will Rogers ... They give us Tom Coburn and James Inhofe.
They gave us Dan Boren and called him a Democrat. That is not what I called him.
They give us, and about forty other states, Hobby Lobby, and its subsidiary, Oral Roberts University. It wasn't always thus, ORU used to be the empire of the eponymous Oral Roberts. His failed institution finally brought to its knees by a vapid son who preferred the finer things in life to running an educational establishment with any pretense at academic integrity.
I dunno. I ride across this land, have my home and family here, feel the earth between my fingers and it is filled with history. It is real, tangible, it was here before the dust bowl and it is still here. It was here when the most populous inhabitants were buffalo, and they provided a whole way of life for a people who are still here. People fighting desperately to retain a sense of their own belonging. Yet all the while becoming better known among the "new" population for the casinos they own, rather than the traditions of a proud nation(s). Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw ... The five civilized tribes. I don't know what their ancestors would think of the Oklahoma of today, but I can't imagine that pride would figure largely.
That term, civilized tribes, is an insult to the Native American Nations. They were the five tribes considered civilized by the conquering settlers. It's not for me to judge the arrangements made by the locals, when the boat people arrived. If my own land were invaded, who knows how I might behave. I have never had to face that terrible event, so I cannot judge, but I think I would prefer that my descendents considered me to be decidedly uncivilized, maybe Cheyenne, Apache or Arapaho.
Most of the peoples the settlers considered to be civilized were themselves refugees from their own lands, to the east and south.
Maybe one of the things Paul Simon brought with him from South Africa is simply the impetus for this Englishman (my daughter calls me "British dude") to sit in his home in Oklahoma, and think a little of the folk who lived here before any Europeans arrived. Even the ones who now call themselves Americans.
"I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told" ... perfect.
"Promises, lies and jests" .. It sounds so familiar. I recognise those words as I feel confident they would be understood by those who lived here for thousands of years, and long before the Mayflower ever set sail.
Now we are busy building a new class of poor, and Oklahoma is right up there leading the fight for this latest underclass, the working man.
As a curious little footnote. Paul Simon gave me the urge, and impetus to write. The Glen Campbell profile we watched immediately before was interesting, but it didn't move me like this.
The comment below by commonmass had me thinking:
This land, in its current form, was built by hard-working Americans. In the late 1800s it was settled with the Land Rush, aided by the Homesteading Act which granted 160 acres to those staking a claim.
But even with the gift of the land it was a hard life. Poor farmers, in the main, who scraped a living, some doing better than others. They survived that and then faced the Great Depression, which again they coped with.
Following the economic collapse they battled with the Dust Bowl years, and no sooner than that was done they fought a World War, sending their young men, and losing quite a few.
Even that didn't stop them, and Oklahoma today is a modern, mixed economy yet something has changed because today they blame all their ills on others. Specifically, they blame it all on Barack Obama.
That is one powerful President when one considers the adversity that has been overcome in the past.