a moment in waterfalls creek
I wondered for a great part of my life what the difference was between the earth and the world. I have an idea the preacher in the church I grew up in believed they were the same. I automatically believed they were the same until I gave it some observation. Carried it in the back of the mind where it floated in a storage room, picked up periodically, looked at and returned to its quiet subconscious search. A gray squirrel is scavenging just outside the window in front of the desk, sitting on a rock, scampering about with huge bushy tail behind. I came to see what scriptures mean when they say the world, it is the world created by the human mind. The scriptures are full of recommendations to avoid being seduced by the world. Mainly for practical purposes. Disappointment follows. The sorrows I carry for the my dog friends, my cat friends, my human friends, would have been avoided if I'd stayed away from a need of the human mind and heart for friends both two-legged and four-legged. But it was worth the pain of losing them to experience the joy of knowing an other for however many years. I came to see what scriptures were talking about as the world is the creations of the human mind. The world lives on the planet, the earth, and consumes the earth's resources. The earth is the source of all the world's resources unless we're getting some from space. The oil division of our corporate government has been suppressing solar energy over the last 40 years. Solar energy was spreading fast against resistance until 1980 when the Reagan Junta took power. Immediately, solar energy and research toward electric cars were finished. Solar energy is creeping back gradually by necessity, still with corporate government opposition. Politics is the world, the money game is the world, art is the world, desires are the world, ego is the world. Get down to body and it's the earth.
small waterfall beside a place I like to sit
My question upon defining the distinction to my own satisfaction was how do I live in the world and not of it? How do I drive a pickup, have a job, have money concerns in the front of the mind all the time, want a bigger flat-screen, want a better shelter for the donkeys? How do I interact so pervasively with worldly things, belief systems, traditions all day every day and not be of them? I never learned how. Yet, a short number of years ago it feels like a gear slipped into place. I came to see there was not anything I wanted anymore. I don't want any of what I used to need to have. Sure, I'd like to have Robert Bly's new selected poems, Stealing Sugar From The Castle, but not like in the past. Then, I'd have bought it as soon as I started wanting it. Now, I wait. A time will come of a petite rush of extra money, and then I'll get it. No hurry. No hurry. It will happen or it won't. I recall feeling the urgency of necessity when I wanted something new. By now, I have so much more than I want, I want to get rid of stuff and don't know how to start. It amounts to stuff. This is the world I created for myself, a box full of stuff I wanted, piece by piece, until I got it. That's when it became stuff. I live in a box full of things I once wanted, stacked, on shelves, in drawers. It's totally absurd. If I had any brains I'd leave the house, turn it over to an auctioneer and say, empty it. Come back into the house next day, scrub and wax the floor, give the walls a good scrubbing and start again with the simplest of everything. Then comes the day I want to read some poems by Robert Lowell; Oh no, I sold all my books. No more poetry of Tu Fu and WB Yeats, no Elizabeth Bishop to pick off the shelf to sit with and read a few poems. no John Berryman and May Swenson, no Henry Miller to pick up at will, no Wallace Stevens. I don't think it's a good idea to get rid of my stuff. Attachment? I have my own library of books and music. Walls are loaded with images I like seeing every day. I live in a closet of my stuff. It's my own personal nest. C'est moi. My rind. My mind.
my barn where the winter's hay is kept
I've come to assess the world the manifestations of the mind. Mind. The world is the human mind. The way of the spirit is guided by the heart. It doesn't work in this world to be all heart, same as it doesn't work to be all mind. We live a weave of both. Living in the world not of it suggests to me living everyday life, taking care of business, using mind for a very interesting tool without attaching identity to stuff and justifying impractical desires. Self control. It means what my grandmother used to tell me, "You don't need everything you see." Ultimately, I suspect it is about balance of heart and mind. What we call nature is where I find heart. In nature is where I see the flow, hear the flow, join the flow. Today and yesterday I am hearing new birds returning for summer or passing through on their way north, seeing new birds at the feeders. It is the time of year snowbirds leave for wherever they go, fewer daily at the feeders. I feel like it is about accepting our humanity, not suppressing it, allowing self to feel honestly, allowing heart, the feminine, the subjective its place in the world of reason, logic, the objective, numbers. Left brain / right brain. The balance. I live so much in my mind, I feel I need the natural world, the woods, a mountain creek, donkeys to know, people without forebrain mind, the mind we're still learning to live with. The donkeys have thought and feeling, but not the forebrain we call mind. They are still in that place we were before the forebrain when we slept in the trees because the ground was dangerous at night. This evening after the donkeys had a full day of grazing, I saw Jack raising his tail, Jenny stood directly behind him watching, and Jack let go some droppings in a little pile. Jenny stood just a few feet from him. Jacked stepped away, Jenny stepped up and sniffed the pile and walked straight through it with head high in a haughty air looking straight ahead while Jack watched. She walked away in a straight line not even looking back. It charged Jack. He about danced. He fell down onto a place where hay they'd eaten had been, rolled on his back, rolled over and rolled back. Up on his feet, he took off after Jenny in a gallop, ears up like a rabbit, out of sight of the window.
jenny tells jack to get back
Pre-human behavior fascinates me. It shows how deep some of our human behavior goes. What I saw Jenny do today was down and dirty. It was donkey talk I don't understand. I'm wondering if she's going into heat. I've already thought she was pregnant. I looked up donkey gestation, it said she has to be three years old to go into heat. Jenny is young and so is Jack. But I don't know their histories. I hope she is not pregnant yet. If she conceived when I thought she might have, that would put the baby due in the coldest part of the winter. I also wonder if it could be Alpha Donkey behavior. The days Jenny's ankle hurt, Jack took the role of Alpha, stayed alert watching the fences and protecting Jenny with his Alpha power. I saw Jolene in the distance, neighbor's black and white dog, walking up the road toward home. Jolene left the road, went sniffing over the ground the other side of the donkey fence. I saw her look like she was considering a shortcut across the corner of the donkey meadow, looked to see where the donkeys were. Jack was looking at her with jackrabbit ears up from the middle of the meadow. Jolene walked around the fence to the road. By this morning Jenny had taken the Alpha role back. I don't know what is going on between them. They are both sexually charged. Jack is jumping out of his skin to have a chance with Jenny and she keeps her ears back, dives at him with her teeth when he comes near, kicks at him, snorts and growls at him. I went into the meadow this morning to spend some time with them, see them up close. I've been staying out of the meadow, they've been acting so frisky. I stood still and let Jenny smell me all over, front and back, arms, hands, head. She ran her nostril all over my clothes like a vacuum cleaner. She took the bottom of my shirt in her teeth, just to feel its texture and let it go. How pre-human is that? I'm glad we know each other well enough now for her to be comfortable giving me the deluxe sniff, or even trusting me to be still long enough for her satisfaction. Today I was still for her, gave her the time she wanted. Jack was occupied munching grass. She's well acquainted with my scent now. This is what I mean by nature as much as listening to water splash over rocks and the trill of a screech owl as night consumes the last ripples of daylight.
side of the barn