Thursday, July 19, 2007
“The more we have the less we own.”
I just signed my contract for staying with this job another year. I will help teach English, play, and hang out with the children of a little city in the Ehime hinterland facing the calm and heavily islanded Seto Inland Sea.
The recent typhoon jump-started the river now flowing through the middle of my town. All Spring and Summer twas nothing but a long field of dry, smooth stones my friends and I walked across to massage our feet. Now it's a river, full of life, music, flowing like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, it sings the swan songs, ambient, spontaneous, crystal clear humming, murmuring, and wish washing. To give you a great visual about the river, here is a quote from Hesse’s Siddhartha: “Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it!”
The rice is now high and green, and the dragonflies are everywhere, swarming and mating like tiny dragons. The cicadas have not arrived yet (my favorite natural lullaby/alarm clock, next to the sun and the rain) however I saw a cicada wing next to my bike the other day. Spooky. Last year there were these cicadas with solid brown, black and gold wings I had never seen before in my life. I've been meaning to do a painting of them. I wonder if this kind of cicada will be back this year. They might be like those once-ever-17-years kinds. I'll keep you posted.
The rainy season ended a few days ago, and yet the air is still cool and fresh, and everything still seems to be glistening. You know how the world looks when the sun comes out after it rains? Dark clouds, bright golden light, rainbows and raindrop crystals. Everything still looks that vibrant.
I miss waking up to the rain though.
Swimming in the rice paddies by my house are millions of tiny, fat tadpoles. And floating in the leftover puddles in the palms of the tree roots are tiny twitching larva worms. Where are their wings right now, I wonder. Maybe waiting as pre-written potentials in their cell’s DNA. But how the hell “delicate wings” is written within those double helix noodles of info I leave up to the god(head), my higher self, to comprehend. I’m busy writing and reading my mind.
It's a miracle anything is happening at all, if you ask me; all this shimmering and noise, all of reality--waking and dreaming, and all the endless movements and suffering is a mind-made miracle, filled with actors, bodies with sensory organs, nerves and electricity, lights, smoke, and mirrors.
Also living in the rice paddies are big, beautiful bullfrogs. Many people here are afraid of them. I’m not though. Probably because I used to catch and play with bullfrogs when I was maybe seven to eleven years old. I went “frogging” with my friends as often as I could. It was “the life”: great friends would come over to my house and we would stay up late, go outside when it got dark, and play in the large, dark creek nearbye. Of course we knew of the dangers (we knew of wolves and foxes, maybe even bears that might be there, waiting to get us. We were also vaguely aware of the threat of perverts, kidnappers, and bullies, and we often brought weapons, like knives or some kind of firecracker, just in case it was necessary. My friends and I even developed a whistling/screaming version of mores-code for emergencies. Sometimes we would even dress in black to become even more invisible. We practiced being silent, climbing trees in the dark, and escaping away from any danger through secret alleyways and the tunnels of the sewer systems. We were prepared for anything, just like ninjas.
Frogging alone at night
In the beginning my dad would go with us, but after a while (probably after he honestly evaluated how safe we were) we went out into the wild night alone. That's right. I got to wander around the tiny forest, creek, sewers and neighborhood at night whenever I wanted. My parents were so great.
But then my friends and I started sneaking out, without permission, and meeting other kids, and doing naughty things in and around that creek, all fun and experimental, of course, but far from frogging.
I don’t remember exactly who taught me how to frog. I was so young. I just remember a voice saying, “use a flashlight to blind um, and then you can just grab um up.”
I quickly learned to have confidence in my approach and grip. Mastered, my friends and I could get dozens of frogs a night. (Especially when we let them go and could catch the same frogs again and again!) We also caught snapping turtles, crawdads, and ducks.
I fly home in a few days. (Don’t remind me of that horrible plane crash in Brazil, 200 dead. The plane skidded off the runway as it landed, shot over a busy road and then hit a fuel depot, bursting into flames?) Unreal.
The new Harry Potter book should arrive at my house the day I leave on the overnight ferry for Osaka. If the book comes, I will not sleep on the ferry. I will read through the night, and sleep instead on the plane ride over. If it does not come in time, then I might fall asleep on the ferry, making it harder for me to sleep on the plane, adding two days to my jetlag when I finally make it to Kansas City. I really hope the book comes.
But at the same time, I’m kind of afraid to read it. I mean, this is the last book, the end of the Harry Potter story. We have been sitting around our storyteller for almost 10 years now, as children, listening, laughing, and sometimes even crying. The story is already longer than the bible, and we have read and reread it many times. It's a big one, and its conclusion, its death, is approaching quickly. Two days away, actually... the Death and End of the Harry Potter Story.
What will we do when we don't have another Harry Potter book to look forward to? Will we have to start spending more time and attention on other world problems and dramas? Will this death actually mark the beginning of an new, vibrant, engaged living that will even more creatively and gracefully usher in the transforming, effervescent, post-post modern world? Maybe after Harry Potter, Lost, Hero’s, and 24 are all over, I can get back to drawing and painting. But until then, my studio sits cold and untidy.
Not really. But that’s how it feels sometimes. It seems that my drawing teacher was right, and the world conspires to keep me out of the studio.
Posted by David at 2:28 AM
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