For this blog, I must primarily speak in platitudes. For this action, I ask that you forgive me. I prefer to write about how when I was driving today, and the sun was reaching my skin through the dash-side window of my car I had such a strong urge to skip out of work and get to Nisqually where I could be miles down a boardwalk, past the mudflats of blue herons and eagles, and just surrounded by undulations of water currents watching the mountains, looking out at Rainier and the clouds that surly would be piling upwards as if they were great mountains as well…but I could not just go because I have a bit of a future journey to fund, and the weight of responsibility towards a small business that I love.
When I sit down to write about anything much, my experiences from ~2007 – 2010 have begun to fall like pears fall – ripe with intrigue, damaged from impact and a little bit too much time in the sun. I feel that not particularly having confronted these times in writing has prevented me from working on the other voluminous stories which are rumbling with urgency. That date frame was a fairly transient time which included acquiring a small set of wilderness survival skills, and more than a full circuit drive around the country. And I look back at that time and see all the things I still “hate” about myself, in addition to the life of mine that is bold, beautiful, idiosyncratic, and imaginative. I look back and recognize much of the self destruction which I participated in then as much as I continue to now-which I much more often attempt to ameliorate at this point in my life.
Back then, self destruction was not broken down to it’s components in a matter that I could keep track of…It was impossible for me to see myself as doing anything that could be construed as depriving my own body of nutrients. My parents always said that I was “such a good eater,” if any of their daughters ever developed an eating disorder, it would not be me.
Self destruction back then was a conscious recognition of the state my homeless compatriots were in by necessity, paired with something else. I was spoiled, and I was rejecting as much of the privilege as I possibly could because without the loving support of my family I would be exactly where my friends were. And, I was there weather I realized or not…And still, all I felt was some intense spiritual cloud that clawed inwards at me, not something that rose from me. It was something I felt in my body – a spinning, overwhelming sorrow, and clouding of reason that I could not source. It was something I know just a little better now as hunger.
And oddly, I will turn to an excerpt from Siddhartha because of the manner in which Hesse captures the ascetic experience:
“Instructed by the oldest of the Samanas, Siddhartha practised self-denial, practised meditation, according to a new Samana rules. A heron flew over the bamboo forest—and Siddhartha accepted the heron into his soul, flew over forest and mountains, was a heron, ate fish, felt the pangs of a heron’s hunger, spoke the heron’s croak, died a heron’s death. A dead jackal was lying on the sandy bank, and Siddhartha’s soul slipped inside the body, was the dead jackal, lay on the banks, got bloated, stank, decayed, was dismembered by hyaenas, was skinned by vultures, turned into a skeleton, turned to dust, was blown across the fields. And Siddhartha’s soul returned, had died, had decayed, was scattered as dust, had tasted the gloomy intoxication of the cycle, awaited in new thirst like a hunter in the gap, where he could escape from the cycle, where the end of the causes, where an eternity without suffering began. He killed his senses, he killed his memory, he slipped out of his self into thousands of other forms, was an animal, was carrion, was stone, was wood, was water, and awoke every time to find his old self again, sun shone or moon, was his self again, turned round in the cycle, felt thirst, overcame the thirst, felt new thirst.”
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
Those were times that were incredibly trying emotionally and physically. I’m not saying that the years that have come after did not have their tribulations, because there were many still. I’m still riding the repercussions of the views that I developed during that time. Still looking for a way to reconcile. Still wondering how to even gather energy to volunteer my time and energy towards the social causes that might make the difference.
And – And
I still catch myself starving – for the ability to feed myself properly, and to find that which is just the right amount of stimulation and challenge so that I may further evolve my views of this world.
My friends, it is an elephantine undertaking.
Perhaps, this was not as much platitude.