Sunday, September 2, 2007
A Dream And Something Else
Starr Ann and I took a thermos of coffee to the woods early this morning, so we could wake up with the animals and trees.
Poor Starr Ann had some bad cramps going and when we passed by a big boulder covered with sunlight, she couldn't resist stretching out across it to let it heat her achy abdomen. That felt so good, she urged me to go on down to the pond alone while she soaked up the warmth. I took one cup of the coffee with me and left the rest there for her.
When I came back, Starr Ann was sitting on the ground facing that boulder, sipping her coffee, looking wide-eyed and sleepy at the same time. She told me that two extraordinary things had happened while I was at the pond playing with the frogs. First, that big rock had spoken to her. Then she had fallen asleep and had a marvelous dream.
I said, "You mean you had two dreams?"
"Not at all. I was awake for the rock part. Swear."
Then she asked to borrow my notebook, so she could get it all down, because she was pretty sure the details were fading. Here's what she wrote:
Dispatch from a stone---
Notice me. I experience. I feel changes in temperature and moisture as acutely as mammals might experience sight and sound. Creatures of all sorts pass me here on their way to the water. Now water, that's something I understand well. Water and me go way back. An incredible volume of passing water gave smoothness to my beautiful roundness. In exchange, I gave water a direction for flowing, and that formed this very trail near which I sit.
You mammals are mobile to an unfathomable degree. I try to imagine moving, not just the sensible millimeters per year, but feet per minute! I cannot identify with such a scale, let alone the dizzying 'miles per hour' that my deep knowing tells me you are capable of. I wonder if you are capable of any form of focus or wisdom at those paces. Can beings so erratically busy possess a soul?
My life is ideal. In morning, I stay cool while the sun rises behind tall trees that grow to my east. As the sun marches over me and around to my west, I begin to warm. Then there is a cool-down when the sun leaves again for the night. On rainy and snowy days, water and I have a nice reunion. After a big rain, the path beside me washes out and the sound and feel of it takes me back to when water was working on me constantly.
My existence is by no means static. Wind, rain, bacteria, animals and the freezing and thawing of my outer self keep me changing. But there is time to be. And that, after all, is all that can be asked. I am, fully, a rock.
There was a woman. She put her hand at the small of my back and all the pain slid away. Then she took my hand and walked me through the woods, off the path, but stepping through the undergrowth was easy as could be. We came to a spot where something had spent the night and mashed down the ground cover. The woman spoke very deliberately then. Here's what she said.
Your environmentalist concerns over saving the planet presuppose that humans have the power to kill it. This is consistent with the anthropocentric viewpoint, but inaccurate. Even your perceived political, military superpowers absolutely lack the ability to annihilate the transcendent microcosmic suprapower. You are free to dump all your chemicals, explode every one of your bombs, fowl the air, and let slip the soils. But bacteria will scarcely notice. On the morning after apocalypse (and there will be a morning after because you are powerless to alter the celestial orbits or rotations) bacteria will be up bright and early to commence the next blossoming of biodiversity, maybe more careful next time to reroute its evolutionary path to avoid additional experimentation with impractical rational organisms.
The woman asked me if I understood and I said yes. Then she asked me if the knowledge made me feel better and I said yes to that too.
When Starr Ann finished writing, she handed the notebook to me. All I could do was stare at her after reading it.
Starr Ann stood up, brushed the dirt crumbs off her butt, and laughed. She said, "I believe that's about the best cup of coffee I ever tasted. Were the frogs funny? Did they make you laugh?"
I put my hands on my hips and asked, "You're kidding, right? When have the frogs ever failed to crack me up?"