I bungie down my saw along with a bag holding with fuel, bar oil and a sandwich to an old, pink, plastic sled and set off through the snow. Its morning grey and the cows are having breakfast. I don’t bother to unwire the gate, just slide through the second and third wires of the fence and into the woods.
I spend all morning out there doing what is in front of me, going in circles, cutting grape-vine and multiflora rose, bucking trees I dropped last year, moving wood to the edge of the log road, dragging out big pieces of sassafras top and prepping fuel wood for sugar camp. All day I cut till I collapse and then lay there for a while. I carry logs till I collapse and lay there a while.
That part of the woods is changed now. My tracks are everywhere in the snow. Certain paths are developed.
There are times when I see ideas very clearly and I feel I could tell great stories about simple things like going out to cut firewood and work in the woods. Very rarely, I’m able to sit down with these ideas and see them come out in words on paper.
The radar is a rainbow of color
Blue, green, pink and yellow across our region
The calf is out of the barn for the first time
Running in the new powder
Born again into wonderland winter
Snow is falling
Powder on powder
Spring is gone again
Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again.
– Don Corleone
I’m in and out, lost and found. Sometimes I’m gone for hours. Maybe I’ve been gone for days. I don’t know anymore. Other times, it’s just moments that I’m out and I notice quickly and am back.
Practice is always changing. It’s like a new religion every day, religions like clouds blowing by. A few weeks ago while writing the Banjo poem, practice was playing with the idea of death. Before that, it was going back to birth. Lately, it’s just been playing with the eyes.
All day with the eyes
Everything they see is what I am
I am the seeing and I am the seen
The eyes see sunset
The eyes see pornography
I am that
I am all of it
If you are like me then you will have more than one practice. Perhaps you can have one. Perhaps you are not like me. Perhaps your one practice will be “Who am I?”
Verily, all practices are the same practice
The important thing is this:
When I sound like I know
Laugh at me
“Call it a voyeuristic substitution into an actual connection with a friend, but I really liked it.”
Sixteen going on seventeen
Be Here Now on my tray in the cafeteria
Jail, boarding school, mental hospital
Sliding along the metal rails
Going beyond seemed like disappearing
On the edge, thinking I could do it
Ready to do it
But for her
Mara is masterful
Ego is supremely beautiful
She needs just one thing, you know
When I sound like I know
Laugh at me
Don Corleone: Tell me, do you spend time with your family?
Johnny Fontane: Sure I do.
Don Corleone: Good. Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.
Somebody should tell that to my father
But then, who would pick the log out of mine own eye
“You think you’re enlightened? Go spend time with your family”
– Ram Dass
I’m with you, sometimes there are motes and sometimes logs
But I have also seen through clear eyes that
There is no happiness but this
Are you with it?
There is no happiness out there when some condition is achieved: when the kids are grown up and able to wipe their own asses, when we live on a sustainable, little farm with the mortgage paid off, when relationships with family are ‘repaired’, and so on and on – it’s never-ending.
The whole time she is screaming in my ear and even sometimes hitting my head – I am happy. Of course, I don’t like it. Of course, I hope that she will stop. She is the purest of teachings, the purest of beings, more real and present than Chauncey the Gardner and constantly walking on water.
We found the teachings in Denny’s by ourselves as children
Going deeper and deeper, coffee pot after coffee pot
Seems it is just a process
To remain open (and questioning)
Then recognize in more and more places
The truth in more and more ways
You are the teaching
You are the truth
“That said, I don’t think it’s not enough to “be the change” (Gandhi, a believer in civil disobedience and activism, never used that phrase).”
Be something other than yourself
Be everything other than yourself
Do not deny the greed, bigotry, violence in yourself
It will cause you suffering
“We are all bigots so filled with hatred
We release our poison”
Instead, like a newborn, cry when you are hungry
But do not resent when you are not fed
And when I sound like I know
Laugh at me
I went out to try to cut up those tulips I’d dropped along the fence line to the north. The snow was too deep to do much work but I found another tulip that needed dropping. I opened the face to the south and put two wedges in the back cut. She was standing dead and her diameter was just less than my saw bar. My chain cut through her and she fell with a great crashing thud.
I walked back over persimmon creek toward the house following the footsteps I’d made coming out. Coming up over the hill, I was looking through my eyes. “This is what life wants to see through me,” I thought. I didn’t dwell on it, but I knew that I never really had any choice in the matter. I stopped at the cows lunching on round bale. I scratched Ruby’s poll and asked politely how she was doing.
Do you know what she told me?