15 January 2017

Sunday Meditation #48: We Are Imperial and Ridiculous

The night sky bears down on us with its scattering of diamonds on black velvet. The pale smear of the Milky Way slips in and out of vision, frustrating and captivating all at once. In the fleeting moments where the Via Lactea can be seen it is brought home with dizzying impact that everything in the Universe is either You or Not-You. Such thoughts either evoke laughter or consternation.

You or Not-You. The imperial absurdity of it comes clear if "potato" is substituted for You. Everything in the Universe is either a potato or not a potato. An internet meme thus becomes the cornerstone of a new philosophy of self-awareness. It can be safely said by us all that "I am not a potato, therefore I am!" 

Silliness, indeed. Such thoughts on an icy winter night turn life into an extended Monty Python skit, a theater of the absurd in which we all star. "I am not a potato," we mutter into the cold air whilst shaking our relatively tiny fists at the sky. It all becomes meta. A conflation of the Universe in its immensity with tubers and all the things we are not but which we consume. We may not be potatoes or air or books, but these things become part of us the instant we chew, breathe, or read. Sometimes all those at once.

To stand under the stars and revel in the mundanity of a humble tuber as being you and not-you is profound and absurd. The paradoxes within can make the head spin and the mind marvel at the amount of energy we expend on the maintenance of partitions between ourselves and our circumstances. By such fiction we strive to convince ourselves we can be masters of the universe. 

To see the stars above and the ground below is to know, however, that we are not potatoes. We are not the Universe. We eat the one and curse and praise the other. This assures us that we are human, even if potatoes and galaxies do not seem to know we exist. We consume them both, and are consumed by the imperial and the ridiculous.

05 January 2017

Jaguar in Winter

Blood slows after the solstice but does not stop. Sunlight is a precious metal mined from the space between the shadows of the leaves and branches. The dappled chest breathes deep while drawing in the scents of a forest teetering on the dull edge of a chasm called sleep. The price of a full belly rises in proportion to its increased rarity, and occupies a greater volume of the mind behind green-gold eyes on the lookout for any opportunity for satiety. The jaguar, el tigre, knows this as blood-red filigree upon its fangs.

Breath acquires new edges in the blue-tinged light of the turning of the year. It flows against the lips and throat like ice slurry in a freezing river. This is a very different thing that the cottony dampness of summertime air, gravid with the weight of humidity and magnified odors. But those odors are there, if muted. The coding still exists, the minute signals of direction, time, and taste that orient the jaguar in the universe. It knows by dint of experience what will be worth the effort and what will not. Energy is a resource to be nurtured not squandered when the earth is being stingy with its offerings.

Flesh hangs upon bones soaked in magic, enrobed in a glory of rosettes evoking the interweaving of el tigre with the soil and rock upon which it sits. The pads of its paws register the chill seeping up through the earth. The cold itself is another marker, a facet of the medium which delivers the message signified by two hundred pounds of deadly miracle. The jaguar does not think much about the cold. It is acceptance of a rhythm composed eons before the jaguar manifested in this particular set of temporospatial circumstances. It knows that outrunning the cold is foolish and wasteful. It will not bother trying.

Bones hold the flesh in place. Bones are its bulwark against the capriciousness of seasons and the weather. It is perhaps bones more so than belly that have a deeper regard for hunger and the changing of seasons. The belly yawps and whines when it goes unfilled. The bones repose stolidly in the memory of what it means to be truly hollow. The belly may be satisfied with the sucking of an egg, but it takes blood on the fangs to calm the bones. This is wisdom to the jaguar. It will breathe patiently in the wan light of winter, moving carefully, keeping in mind the gift of flesh and blood, and all the glorious power contained within.