July 2008


Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Rumi

 I read an interview with Jonathan Levine, who’s I dunno what age, but let’s say *young* and he just wrote and directed his first movie, The Wackness.  And it did well at Sundance and is about to see a theatre release.  And did I mention Ben Kingsley is in it?

Anyhoo, Levine said that he goes to Rotten Tomatoes and only reads the negative reviews.  That kills me.  How dumb, but really, how universal is that?  Why do we focus on that cup’s half-emptiness?  That’s like something I would do, although thankfully I haven’t been saddled with the baggage that comes with developing a successful movie.  Whew, dodging a bullet there.

It reminds me of a quote from the Q and A section of I Am That by Nisargadatta:

Q: I seem to have a clear idea of what needs be done, but I find myself
getting tired and depressed and seeking human company and thus wasting time that should be given to solitude and meditation.
M: Do what you feel like doing. Don’t bully yourself. Violence will make you hard and rigid. Do not fight with what you take to be obstacles on your way. Just be interested in them, watch them, observe, enquire. Let anything happen — good or bad.  But don’t let yourself be submerged by what happens.

I’m going to hike my Secret Trail today at lunchtime.  I spied it driving to yoga class and today i’m going to skip yoga and hit the trail instead because I need to Get Outside.  There comes a point where I’ve been toiling behind walls far too long and need a dose of the great outdoors.

My Secret Trail runs under some power lines so it’s a wide open space but the trees have grown up are about as tall as I am.  There are the usual alders, but some baby maples and oak trees too.  The trail starts with a hill and as soon as you get over the top of it you might as well be in the wilderness.  You can’t hear traffic or people, you could be in the middle of nowhere, except for the power lines.  One day I walked far enough that I could see another part of the city way off in the distance.

I’ve never told my co-workers where I’m going because I don’t want to share my trail.  I’ve never seen anyone on it, just mountain bike tracks and the odd animal print.

I was reading that there’s a name for my urge, it’s called Biophilia, the desire to be around other living things.  I figure if there’s a name for it then i’m not the only one.  It’s like getting back to some more primal and basic.  I feel calmer and happier and more peaceful.  Enough that I *crave* spending my lunch hour walking rough trails under power lines.

It reminds me how I felt about the robin whose nest is tucked underneath the yoga studio deck at my house.  The first time she laid eggs everything went well and the babies got big, learned to fly and took off. 

Last year it didn’t go so well.  Something shimmied up one of the 20 foot supporting poles, destroyed the nest and got the eggs.  When I asked around people agreed the something was probably a racoon which was hard to believe.  I’ve seen the racoons trundling across the road in our neighbourhood when I’m driving home at 2:00 a.m..  They are the most rolly-polly dudes you’ve ever seen in a fur coat.  And the crazy thing is, they live in a neighbourhood where every house has a green bin chock full of organic goodies – why would they go to all that work for a couple tiny robin’s eggs?

So when mom robin came back this year and fixed the nest I was worried.  There’s a great view of the nest from the bathroom window.  When they’re big enough to get their heads over the side of the nest they are the picture of needy.  Three heads in a row, eyes scrunched, beaks wide open, not moving, just waiting, no, *begging*, for their next meal.

Then they got a little bigger and would sit with beaks closed waiting for mom to come back with lunch.  Sometimes they’d get tired and nod off.  There’s something universal about baby animals nodding off, and with every one of them it’s cute as hell.

Then they started looking more robin-like.  Although their colors were still mottled you could see the red on their chest.  One day I saw one of them stretch and raise his wings and I thought, there’s no way they’re ready to start flying with that tiny equipment yet. 

But they did.  I was at the computer and there’s a row of fir trees behind the house and one of the babies did a face plant into a tree, wings wide, flapping like crazy while he tried to get his footing on a branch.  He finally did and sat there for a half hour getting his bearings.  And in one morning they were gone.  I feel like Tony Soprano and the ducks.

The mom is gone too – where does she go?  To the spa?  To Vegas for an empty nest celebratory gambling fest?

But as much as I miss those robins it’s in equal measure with being so happy they made it to teenagehood without any rolly-polly predators taking them down.  That’s biophilia for ya’.  Just getting a big kick out of other living things.

I was talking to a friend the other day who works for an architectural firm that specializes in living walls.  They build walls of green plants for interiors and exteriors so people can see green living things as part of their urban daily life.  And he’s in California where builders are big on being green, but it’s more in the sense of building codes relating to insulation and power usage and waste.  He said it’s hard to get them to see the benefits of real green stuff, like a wall of plants in your lobby that you can enjoy going to and from your daily grind.  Or a wall of green outside your window instead of just more concrete.  Hopefully a mom robin finds a nesting spot near those builders’ windows soon.

 

Around May 20th I read Finslippy’s blog and I was going to mention it here and then I didn’t.  I’ve always loved her writing, her birth story is the only one that’s ever made me laugh.

And then someone told me the other day that they’ve been having miscarriages and I realized that what she wrote was lodged in my head and that I better understand the dumbass things to avoid saying because I get it now, or at least as good as I could get it without going through it.  So better late than never. 

Start around the May 20th entry. Thank you Finslippy for bringing your awesome writing to something so difficult.