In the early morning hours here in Bliznatsi, where you could wash your feet in the dew-laden wild grass of the fields, and where the roosters sing their ancient song and the tree-rocketing birds are all a-chatter, it is difficult to escape the notion that these creatures are simply putting on a show for me, nudged by the old gods -- as if to remind me of what really exists beyond the angry thoroughfares and jam-packed metros of the Business Center.
It is a false impression, of course. The birds don't care that I am here any more than the people riding on the Moscow trains do when I am physically pressed against them -- the difference being that the sparrows don't mind how long I remain, whereas the humans just want me to get the hell out of their way. Otherwise, beneath the illusion of poetry, the situation in nature is the same. Fundamentally. Yes an occasional stray dog will cast a friendly face in my direction just as a random person in the metro is apt to do -- driven, I suppose, my some undefined impulse of charity, amusement, or irony (a bit complicated for the dogs, I suppose, though it interests me why some canines are so full of trust, and others fearful or fierce, like people.)
I think that if you could talk to a bird or a dog, he would start by telling you his troubles and outlining the precarious snares that punctuate his life. He would evoke a world of deadly dangers lurking everywhere, although, in the midst of his lament, he might offer you some interesting details that you never suspected about the daily routine of a dog or bird. Some of these dogs and birds you would like and some you wouldn't. Some would interest you, some would bore you. And, instead of concluding that "Life is a rat-race", the field mice you would talk to would declare that "Life is a human-race." In short, the same old shit that we hear every day from our neighbors in the world whose names we often never bother to learn. ,
On a more serious note, it truly is ironic that while people are busy destroying the surfaces and deeper seas of the planet, some are also driven to write poems and sing songs in honor of the very creatures they are in the process of annihilating with their cesspools, parking lots and office complexes. It is as a person, as a human being, that I am able to absorb the magnificence of a deer in the forest or a horse in the field. Do they know how beautiful they are? Maybe they do; it is obvious how violent they can be when competing with the other guys during the mating process and skillful many of them are in the wooing of the partners they choose. If you don't believe me, just observe the regal antics of a male peacock when he is "on the make." He will cause Elvis Presley to look like a chump. Moreover, some creatures are peerless engineers, from beavers to wasps to ants.The wolves in pursuit of an elk shift effortlessly into panzer divisions that would be the envy of any German.
But, aside from accepting the servitude of being domestic animals -- as if in acknowledgment of a superior human power -- does a dog or cat ever look at a man and think, "Wow, that guy is one awesome son-of-a-bitch!" ?. I doubt it.
The difference between us is that the wild animal always knows what to do and the human being rarely, if ever, does. The human being imagines that he grasps what he WANTS. Then, after he gets it, he often starts to second-guess himself. But the human is driven by the furious engines of his EGO, and that is the difference. Have you ever noticed how your dog is just glad to see you when you arrive home, however late and however drunk, whereas the wife is foaming at the mouth with vindictive venom? Offended ego supersedes the joy of seeing her Baby return safe and sound from the bar.
(Ladies, I am joking of course.)
But I am not joking about my belief that the implacable machinery of the human ego is what drives the world, not only through the accomplishments of the wondrous human invention but also to the edge of mass destruction. The majority of human beings have brought upon themselves a perilous disconnect -- imagining themselves in a position of triumph --because of their foolhardy supposition that they have unshackled themselves from their, in fact, unshakable ties to nature. ( All it takes is a good hurricane or an average tsunami to remind them otherwise, but, poor devils, the people never learn.)
In the village, one feels a near-perfect blend of human beings and animals, some sense of order seems restored. If you were alone on some exotic island -- as the great literary critic Northrup Frye once analyzed in an essay. -- you would soon lose any sense of the exotic and experience the terror of total alienation. You would understand that none of the swooping birds and swiveling snakes recognize you at all. And you would be in a state of panic. Well, maybe Robinson Crusoe would figure something out, but the bloke who sits behind a computer or works in a bank would finish as a paralytic.
In the village...some illusion of harmony is recreated. A commonality of existence that simply makes sense. The animals know what to do. And so does the farmer. I am reminded of a poem I read once that goes as follows:
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
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BY JAMES WRIGHT
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
And so here I am, for a little while, enjoying the last movement of the concert the birds have unwittingly performed for me before they wing away into their daily errands. How I wish I knew how to thank them.
So the bird sings to the humanoid whose ambitions and blindness will inevitably bring it to extinction.
Leaving it to the minutest insects, and even those of a lower breed, to start the reconstruction project once "civilization" has finally obliterated itself. At that new moment, when the last tin can have been effaced from the planet, some simple cell will commence with others of a kind, to start what people might refer to as "the remont."
===Eric Richard Le Roy===