Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.
- Wendell Berry, A Place on Earth
I’m down at the lake with Oscar. There’s black bear shit on the grass, full of seeds. Must be rosehips – the saskatoons are finished. My herb book says not to harvest rosehips before first frost, but the bear isn’t impeded by written guidelines. It knows nothing of books or Human rules. It moves around us as best it can. The loon doesn’t sing for me (maybe) but it does sing, and I do hear it, just as a I hear the waves that lap over small stones (for me, not for me), or see the dog delighting in bone marrow, oblivious to my delight in him.
One way or another, it’s all the snake eating its own tail. Yin and Yang forget to draw their lines and don’t know who’s who anymore. The fly doesn’t buzz for me. Except those that bite – they desire me well enough. The lake changes countless times every minute, but I can’t see it all. I keep my eyes on the page, while my hair blows in the breeze and the dog chomps on the last of his bone. I listen. Tree language to the left, mostly deciduous leaf chatter, with a low moan evergreen chorus in the background. If I looked I’m sure I would see them all dancing like Kate Bush every time the wind kicks up.
I don’t know what might be going on under the water. Once in awhile I’ll look up and maybe a fish will jump. The lake’s surface wears all kinds of pretty lights. Sparkling and moving, blinking on and off. But then suddenly the dog will huff and the crow will call from down the lake, and I’m looking at the page again, while the lights dance on in my mind. Look up to catch the cloud cover costume change. Diamonds have formed a necklace against the throat of the dark forest. Look down.
Oscar needs a cuddle. His fur is a promise of warmth against the winter, a soft fire. He chases a cricket. He plods in the water. He licks dried goose shit from a rock. He stands at full attention, all senses straining toward squirrel flesh. He’s a good dog. He’s not afraid of love. I’ve met dogs who were.
Huge fish just jumped. Oscar eats the water. He nibbles at washed up weeds. He is belly deep with most of his body lost inside a bush that is drooping over the shoreline. His curly-tailed butt juts out. Each moment goes by and he goes along with it, adding his bit of Oscar-vibe to the show.
Of course, I don’t know his real name. We are two living creatures who stay together. We’ve made agreements, we play our roles and appreciate each other. What we can’t appreciate, we tolerate. Life is good between us. With Humans, this transaction is more complicated. We have Words, Language, Stories. We don’t live by our instincts alone. We have to analyze everything. Wet-furred Oscar runs frantically up and down the hill, chases his tail in the sand, is now filthy. He will not be analyzed. He’s too damn Joyful. I sit quietly, my fingers getting cold, ears slowly letting go of a boat motor that is rumbling off down the lake.
I missed it. Lumbered up the hill in time to see the roof rack crest the top of the driveway and out. Farewell, mystery visitor(s)! May your day be full of sweet surprises.
Scene change: Looking up the driveway, slumped in a wooden chair. Great aspen leaf action from this angle. Furious crow incoming for a fly-by croaking. Neighbour down the road revs his chainsaw. Crow returns for a second run. Its caws dominate the sky. The saw wails in frustration. The crow soars off, spreading the good news.
Now the trees are at the disco. Aspen is once again centre of attention. Evergreens bob their boughs and watch Her in awe as She moves. The oldest trees sway back and forth, dutiful chaperones over so much lusciousness. High above, the sleeping cloud Baby slowly opens one eye and watches as Oscar climbs into the chair next to mine. The dog yawns. The Baby drifts on and away, weaving another Earthly thread into the shifting sky wool.
Oscar needs to play.
We’ve discovered that the squirrel has made its nest inside Opa’s smoker. The nest is made of bunched up dried grasses. The pine cone collection is impressive. I’ve left Oscar outside to lose his mind as the squirrel mocks him from a low branch. I shall make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and wait for him to wear himself out. Later I’ll spoil the young chickens with garden greens, both to bring them pleasure and to help fatten them up.
And that’s my Sunday report from this wee spot on the Earth.
Love love love.