So this is short–it’s super late, and I’ve got a promo tour to write in a minute, and, well, tired.
A real life bonfire and lying to dogs
But yesterday we had a delightful change of pace.
Mate’s cousin is staying on Mate’s grandmother’s property (which is now ours) and generally fixing it up in lieu of rent. Folks, given how much work he’s doing, I feel like we should still pay him for living there–it’s really amazing. But one of the things he does is keep up the property itself–and there’s some acreage there. Keeping things clean is a big task, and there’s a lot of underbrush, and in the foothills, that means burning stuff. You call up the weatherboard, ask if it’s a burn day, and if so–woohoo–you can get rid of your organic waste.
In this case, Ira decided to make a thing out of it, and he invited friends and some family and Mate and I and the kids and, of course, the dogs.
It was fun.
Children ran around and played, adults talked politics (which is tricky as liberals in the foothills) and generally, engaged in peopling. The dogs took turns being puzzled and happy and tussling and scared and cold, and the kids got to make marshmallows, and, in ZoomBoy’s case, he got to help with the fire. I didn’t let him pour gasoline on it (yes, they did that to make it catch– it’s super wet in the foothills right now and the fog had dampened everything considerably) but he did run around and keep the perimeter shoveled and neat so nothing caught that shouldn’t. He also helped put it out, by stirring the coals up while Ira wet them down, and generally, it was very butch and boyish and he enjoyed himself considerably.
And the dogs cuddled with us as we sat and looked at us reprovingly when we got up to move.
I, of course, got cold.
But that’s okay–I warmed up eventually, all was well.
Anyway– it was a fun time, and I wanted to remark on it, because I was away from the internet and my phone and I have zero–ZERO–regrets. Ah, real life. Ain’t it… you know. Real?
Mentally abusing my dogs (as I’m sure they thought of the long journey and the unfamiliar surroundings as) made me remember another quote from The Crucible.
* It’s hard to give a lie to dogs. — John Proctor
Proctor has been imprisoned for several months by this time, and the elders of the town and the judges are starting to see that they have been… hasty. The girls have taken off, and if they are going to save face, they need this man–this stalwart opposition of the witch-hunting madness–to confess. If he confesses, then they have, indeed, found witches, but if he doesn’t, well, they’ll hang him, and the others with him, because they have their pride, but in the end, everyone will know they’re frauds. (And, you may surmise, truly, truly horrible shitty people, but moving on…)
The judges ask Proctor’s wife to talk him into confessing–she’s been imprisoned as well, but she’s pregnant, and she has, in the course of the play, realized that her husband truly loves her. She misses him and their sons, and while she is a good person, she’s past the point of caring about their reputation. She wants her husband back. She asks him why he hasn’t confessed until now, and he replies, “It’s hard to give a lie to dogs.”
What does this mean?
It means that people who would choose between hanging people and humiliating them to save their own pride aren’t worth his false confession. They are snarling bitter pack of feral creatures with no souls–not the sweet and loyal domesticated creatures, these are the wild dogs that would rip apart children and cats for sport. They’re too stupid to know good meat from bad meat–or truth from a lie–so why give them anything? Proctor is angry–he’s had his life ripped away by idiots who don’t understand that they were being played by a whore. He’d rather give them nothing than actually be forced to lie–a thing he was incapable of doing even when he was unfaithful to his wife–even if they’re savaging his flesh. They. Are. Dogs. They’re not intelligent enough or loyal or compassionate enough to even understand what they’re eating. Why should he debase himself enough to play their game?
And in the end, while tempted by the promise of his wife and his sons back, the chance to live a quiet farmer’s life, he cannot give these dogs the damned lie. He can’t nail a lie to the door of the church and let the world believe he’s everything the screaming adolescent harpies have accused him of. It is his name–it is all he has in the world and he’ll never have another.
And they’re dogs. They don’t deserve his lie.
Okay– so there you go. Bonfires and lying to dogs.
And finally, finally, letting Christmas vacation march to a quiet, happy end.