I’m sitting on the back porch. A recent rain has filled the pool and I’m imagining that I have just returned from a long trip to some far away country. It’s so great to be home again even though I have been here for weeks and months.
But the truth is, I have never been here before. Not on this day. It is a new journey and it is a far journey. I have never seen the trees exactly that color, exactly in that state of profusion, with those deep shadows lit by cracks in the fence from the light of this overcast day. And how the air strikes my face, how it smells, the coolness of it, not hot and dry. The desert air replaced by sub-tropical monsoon moisture – I have never quite felt it this way before.
The backyard has a wholeness as if it were one body. It seems contained and somewhat symbiotic. The algae eat sunlight, the bugs eat algae, the frogs eat the bugs, the cat eats the frogs, the owl eats the cat. Or I guess that’s more of a food chain. Some kind of a process, some kind of a metabolism.
Within the confines of this yard there are innumerable changes talking place and all in concert and cooperation with other elements. The ragweed’s long serrated leaves begin to turn yellow and droop on cue from the falling temperatures and the changing angle of the sun. Underground foragers and burrowers, worms and nymph larvae alter their behavior in some way I’m sure in response to the changing temperature. It’s unfathomable. To see it in it’s wholeness and to know there are millions of unseen interactions going on that comprise this picture, is a beautiful feeling. Everything is working and everything is connected. Gee, I guess I am too if I’m appreciating it. That is a form of interaction. The kidney shaped pool and the trees, the running fountain and Miatti the cat and me.
My backyard is one of the characters in the book I’m working on. Thoreauish. Basically. How I write this part is just hang out in the backyard with a pen and notebook and see what happens next. Could be absolutely nothing. No thoughts. Nothing to write. Those are the best, but invariably the angel shows up and starts whispering in my ear. ‘Write this down and tell the people’ she says. And I do. Of course. On course. On site. Unbelievable. Ha! Just messin with the angel.
The story of my backyard is the story of the Garden of Eden. We’re not that far separated from it, friends. We lived there for 300,000 years and only recently left it to found our civilizations and invent air conditioning and stuff. Also many many kinds of different plastic molded items. Stores full, ships full, trucks full and landfills full.
And for 300,000 years we were in the Garden of Eden? Yes, friend. Our species appears in the fossil record beginning 300,000 years ago but we had not yet eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We were innocent, primal. Sex was impulsive and without guilt. Plentiful also, one would think. People lived on the bounty of nature. Then about 70,000 years ago we came up with a great idea – let’s have a cognitive revolution! And those creatures (us), who could already talk with a high degree of proficiency, began to make art and began to invent gods and began to explore realms within their own selves, not just in the world outside. They found that they could imagine things that didn’t actually exist yet, could plan for something that could happen in the future. They could say that this is good and this is bad, you are wrong and I am right. They began to tell stories about the spooky woods and all the monsters hidden there and the gnomes and the fairies. They eventually invented farming and gave up their hunting and gathering ways, or most of them did, but we never really lost the stories. And that’s because our roots, the hidden knowledge of who are is based on all that back there. It’s written in the book of our deep and immensely ancient past.
We have a subliminal and a compelling desire to return to the Garden of Eden. That’s why I like hanging out here and writing stuff. Or not writing stuff. Just listening. Angel or no angel.