I guess we don’t have to know one another for me to call you friend. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna try and hug you, I’ll just share these few things with ya. If I remember that you’re my friend, I feel quieter and sweeter, it keeps me off of my soapbox and closer to the heart. Yes, your heart. Maybe grab a cup of tea or coffee and I’ll send you some scrabblings from where I sit.
I woke this morning and walked into the dark of my brother’s driveway here in Colorado. There was a cold wind and the cottonwoods were clacking branches together. A cottontail was at the fence and I saw little puffs of steam coming from her nose. She was eating grass in the cold. Before I went back into my little Dolphin RV I heard a bird call in the tree behind me. I had never noticed a Spotted Towee before this, I had to look him up. I pshh-pshhhed him a couple times and he cocked his head. Two hops from that branch closer. A wing flutter and he was on the fence with one eye toward me. He was looking at me with that fiery red eye and I was looking back. Two hearts beating and four lungs breathing and the attention between.
I put an interview on the radio when I climbed back in my rig. Leonard Cohen was talking about words, his wonderful voice low and humming. It seemed everything he said was pulled up from the deepest parts of the sea, down down in the secret trenches full of the indigo-blue dotted with glowing plankton. He was a couple weeks from dying in that interview but his thoughts were rolling and lovely, lightning over the horizon. I wonder if he did not die into a river of poetry, carried out and set loose into the stars. Leonard Cohen could have written beautiful words for another thousand years if his body hadn’t given out on him.
Every so often, I’ll be aware enough to know that I’m right here, in my skin. I feel that way right now. It ain’t because I have some cool insight into satori. I am not a shaman. I am rarely wise. But I am here because of the sun that is shining through the back window of my rickety old camper. Also, I’m here because of the Spotted Towee who’s song is still bouncing in my ears. I am here because of the Red-boned hound dog in the next yard, Tara, who is a bit overweight but has amber eyes and whose bark is so soulful as to evoke the ghosts of all hounds in all the woods of the world, causing racoons to stop washing their tiny black hands and squirrels to launch across space between the oaks and mountain lions to squint and read the future with their nose to the wind.
There used to be a tree at the bottom of the hill by my brothers house. It was a huge cottonwood. From one of the highest branches someone had hung a swing. I like swings and especially like swings that have been done in open space. Whoever hung that one had to work at it. I still climb trees a good bit and I was impressed at the difficult placement of the chain, some 50 feet off the deck. Now there are town homes going in down there where the swing used to be. The willows are bulldozed and I doubt the muskrat is still whiskering around in the swirling creek. I am sad about this stuff. I just am. But I love this world and I am working on believing in my ability to change things. I think that change in both directions is natural. I can’t make everyone see from my angles, but I’m not giving up on the dreams that are born at the edge of the creek. Maybe I’ll go hang a swing from the high branch of a cottonwood today, in some spot that is protected from bulldozers and townhomes. In a spot where the wind will pull the memories up out of your past and make you laugh like you did when you were a kid.
Breathe in some air. Drink a glass of water. Listen to a songbird. Smile and be kind.