Life is far more strange and even chaotic than we prefer unless we have developed the taste for the strange and chaotic. The ups and downs can be far too strong. I know that part of what drives the civilizing process that is the long history of our race is the demand to control this side of life and render it less. We wish to tame life in other areas as we do in the fields. We are fond of parks, of course and of tamed wilderness, and less fond in the main of the raw experience of wilderness when we are just another creature in it. It is not quite so friendly a place when we think we could end up someone’s dinner, even though through our efforts, that is the main experience they have of us, that we are dangerous and unkind and incessantly grasping and selfish.
Despite our efforts, life erupts as it did for me yesterday in the death of my small part Siamese companion, my familiar since 1991, killed accidentally at my own hand. I am thus rendering the verdict of the four-footeds, a consistent message, that association with the two-footeds is fucking dangerous. That is why so many stay away from us. We think we pay no price for this kind of treatment of the planet and the planet’s children, but we most certainly will.
I have been feeding birds for quite a while now, mainly House, Purple, and Goldfinches. It took most of a year before the winged ones found and trusted the source. My renter in the back yard has also put out food now and is receiving some winged ones. I am not surprised at the slow building of trust and I hope that the winged ones will not assume their welcome extends from our places to others nearby as a matter of course. We humans are often untrustworthy.
I have a friend who declares that his epitaph will be “But he meant well”. That’s about right for some of us. I fear even that lies beyond the aspirations of others on the planet. Perhaps we can rise above ourselves as we go on our ways. It is not enough to wish for better relations with things. We must practice, I think, have the courage to fail and resume immediately if we can our striving.
It may go better if we accept help from our familiars and from each other, not only from God but from God-With-Skin-On, whether the channels are two-footed ones or four-footed.
That's When The Sun
I thought my joy gone, taken from me as summer takes spring and fall takes summer, as drought takes rain, I thought my joy dried up. That's when the sun broke my bones open wide, light roaring out of my eyes, when you said to me, yes.
Some years ago my poetry took on a mythic flavor and I became a character in my own poems, a mage, "the man of the Northern Wall". This apellation is not completely fictional. My middle name is Noordwal, a Dutch term for north wall, though in current Dutch it mainly means north bank as in riverbank. I was told that an ancestor, a Portugese Jew escaping the Inquisition, settled in a small Dutch town and took this name from where he settled, near the north wall of the town. I have thought for a long time that -wal meant wall, think my mother told me that. A linguist might say that my usage is no longer common, is an older usage, but then the Inquisition happened in Portugal a few centuries ago, right around the time the Moors lost control of the Iberian Peninsula and the Jews lost the modest protection given them by Islam. Now I write as this mage, my poetry persona.