Friday, May 27, 2011

playing in the coloured sky....


Friday night I walk.
I walk for many hours – as I approach home the sky is the most brilliant red.
Crimson all round.  The mountains reflected on the water of the dam are purple.
Two fish eagles fly above me – circling, calling, and soaring.  The dams are empty and awaiting rain.

Listening, hearing, there are an awful lot of dogs barking, from all over the village.
The waning moon rises.  The following morning, I am again woken early by the dogs,
I get up to let them out, the sky is again this crimson, this brilliant magenta, flashing all around, and now in the morning the mountains are black.

Red sky at night
Shepherds delight
Red sky at morn
Shepherds warn and with that arising in mind, I decided to be alert to weather and patterns as a shepherd would need to be.  Wanted to understand this red sky thing.

Decided on the spur of the moment to take the teens and pre teens up the mountains.
It is fun for some, hard work for others, extremely challenging for one or two.  Iona went up ahead of me and twice got into trouble but thankfully Cian had chosen to shadow her and guided her.
This inspiration of kids moved so effortlessly up these boulders and rocks, shining with aliveness at being in the wild again.  Sasha asked me what I thought about the sun that day and I said it was strange because I had been thinking how very weak the sun was on that Saturday.  There were thin clouds that it would normally penetrate by 10 in the morning, but the whole day it was obscured almost like the sun in Mumbai is always covered by the smog.  I have never seen the sun so weak.  It was almost as if the atmosphere had changed and become thicker somehow.  She said the same thing.  And yet I read that people in the North are saying how fierce the sun is.

At the top we sat a while, some exploring further.  The strangest thing happened.  The air became extremely warm and the leaves off some of the trees blew off with some force. Something shifted that was totally felt by us.   Sitting up there I felt completely at the mercy of that wind and what it could bring as effortlessly as it has been doing in the past few weeks.
I felt this sudden urge to get down off the mountain.  No one argued, and  we descended.  When we had past the tricky part we settled again and no storm came.
Yesterday I went back to the mountain, but alone this time. The sun was still fuzzy and weak. 
 I found a very old oak tree, extremely large, stretching to eternity both upwards and outwards.  Three enormous branches had stretched themselves out just a few inches above the ground.  They each twisted and turned as if they were vacillating about which way they wanted to point.  To the cliff face, or to the softer mountain, To the valley or to the forest.  Enormous branches long dead,  just spiraling down and hanging.  I get an urge to swing it, to give it movement – it swings widely.
The urge then arises to sit on the one mother branch.  Sitting with my knees falling outwards,  almost like a squat.  Feet bare in the rich soil.  Fallen, monocoloured leaves in varying stages of decomposition.  The most recently fallen ones, the most newly dead are in actuality the most dead.  The liveliness of decay has not yet begun.  It is only when they are soft and pliable that they are consumed with life force again.

Many dead branches lean against the other branches so in this squatting, it sets the branch running adjacent to the one I was seated on,  which stretched forward and banged on a very young oak, creating a sound,  a drum beat.  The sister branch would move simultaneously, and I could never see the link other than the trunk which was several meters away.  Both these branches created sound, two drumbeats, and the the swishing of a branch against the leaves, and the few bird calls coming in and fading out.  Nothing else.  No other sound.  No other motion.  Just me and this tree and the fuzzy sun.

And then it occurred to me that this would be the perfect time to do the sun salutation.  And once that faded then chanting began.  None of this planned or even contemplated.  Constantly surprised by what unfolded.   
Gate gate
pāragate
pārasamgate bodhi svāhā 
 "Gone, gone,
 gone beyond,
gone utterly beyond, Enlightenment hail!"……….
 This tree as a fully awakened, realized being.  The most powerful presence I had ever been in and along with that playful and joyous beyond measure.  Sometimes chuckling for minutes and then laughing out loud.   Then the thought about leaving would arise some other movement would happen.  That part of the forest was alive with movement and music.   I would find myself climbing up the branches, hanging from a branch, lying on a branch, lying on the thick leaves.  It seemed like my whole life had brought me to that moment where I would spend several hours in the full presence of the tree.  This is what it was actually for.  I could never have imagined such playfulness.  Such intrinsic joy.  This body stretched and fell and moved and breathed and this rich untouched tree essence weaves its magic.   


And from this space, and this pure joy, it was my wish that all beings could feel this lightness.  that humanity can  transcend the bullshit it has created as itself and return to the primal joy.  The joy which is dependent upon not-hing.
In the last week the talking about the coming changes, to the actuality of the changes has happened.  To me every day I feel a palpable shift.  What was solid in the past is not so today, what was known yesterday is questioned today.   The light is still different. 
The crimson sky, the ancient tree, such wisdom and strength revealing  itself shows to me the perfection of it all – even the perfection of the imperfect bits.

And that night the rains found their way to the landscape.  Gentle rains that lasted longer than five minutes, yet soft enough to leave the land undisturbed, unravaged. 


Monday, May 9, 2011

the irreverence of my death

 - funerals.
the hushed silences,  the tailored undertakers,  the overpriced, overharvested wooden coffins
in this country, so many live on the very basics.  everything denied.  for so many the only party one often has is the one at the end of your life.  the one you can in no way enjoy.
you can't enjoy it not only because you are not there,  and even if you were there just viewing it you would not be able to enjoy it due to the fact that it is such a waste of money for the people you love and have tried your whole life to support now spending five years funding via sickening loans on your departure.  that is where you get recognised for being a human of value - when you are no longer there. 

the cheapest funeral that is not a paupers, comes in at R18 000 - and the weirdest thing is you have to go via the funeral parlour.  why is this - well it simply became a law when governments made it mandatory for certain companies to have the sole financial benefit of burying people.  so someone dies and immediately the right channels are put in place, the police are informed,  the banks are informed and your account immediately frozen - what a fucking cheek.  just when your family needs the money most, your account is closed because the government needs to ensure that they get their cut on it first.  your money going to the sharks and seemingly no one ever questions this.  and the funeral parlours put this all in place.  they are the penguins of death.

i always figured that your point of departure should follow your desire,  not some catalogued, outpriced, zero optioned ceremony.   growing up i aspired to an opheliasque kind of scene in which i would be sent down a river on a log raft covered with tons of petals, honeysuckle and rose (which would mean a winter death - but hey) -  and then the river would twist around a corner and someone would hit an explosive (organic and harmless of course) and that would be it.  just the sweet smell of burning flesh and singed blossoms.
now it has changed somewhat - just leave me out for the vultures.  put me in the veldt and bugger off and let these buzzards eat me.

please god don't let anyone stand over me at any point committing my soul to anyone on any plane.  please god don't let anyone say that my departure is a loss and a sadness.  please let us not mention jesus or his venegal father.  keep all gods out of it.  just avoid the parlours, wrap me in a carpet,  travel the distance required - hoist me out the boot and place me on the ground.  try and ensure that if my eyes were opened that i would be happy with the view.  i would definitely want to hear laughter,  i would definitely want some jokes directed at this way of being.  i would then want you to all bugger off and leave me on the earth as food,  as nourishment , as something rapidly disappearing.

and one day,  someone on earth  will remember me or recall me for the last time,  and then this memory will be completely extinguished.
why does this bring me such joy and peace?

i think funerals are such a total waste of money and resources.  wrap someone in a white cloth and place them on a pyre, and if they choose not to be burnt, wrap them in a cloth and bury them in the earth.  if there is no strong, solid box to slow the worms ability to get to you and consume you then you will quickly  cease to take up space.  and in however many years that would be, another body is placed in the hole - who cares - you won't be there to share your space anymore.  maybe just a skull or a few bones,  but who you are will not be there at all.

so enough of this bullshit.  death is a business.  death is something we are taught to fear.
for me death is the moment of liberation - how can i mourn or deny that.
let us live life so totally in every moment that we keep the universe entertained with the fullness of our roles we play.
let us be larger than life,  let our laughter dominate the streets,  let our joy fall onto others,
let us live to the full -  and when that is over , then let us die with irreverence and delight.
not having lost -   having only gained.   

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Buddha