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Not Recreational

Buried In the Nelson Express was news of an afternoon workshop on the state of affairs in Chiapas.

Buried In the Nelson Express was news of an afternoon workshop
on the state of affairs in Chiapas.
My sweetlove, Shaun, who is thirty years younger, wanted to attend.
and for sure I would come
having been in Palenque a year ago,
having felt
awe, respect and safety in the presence of the Zapatistas.

We heard an update from two Canadians who attended the conference
hosted by the people down there in the jungle 'out of nothing'.
They received 3,000 persons who came from around the world
and another 3000 of their own (!),
much bigger than our 75-person BPS conference in Palenque
where things were already set up.
You can imagine the consciousness-raising that goes on in these workshops,
what we can do to help from here,
the sense of deepened concern that builds among like minds already concerned
enough to drive two hours on a sunny saturday to attend.

All this is germaine to Elven interests because the next night
wisps had left me a gift of two long and thick bluish stalks
and a smaller, curvy coriander-coloured fungi.

After sharing a pot of tea, we agreed
that he would go to the tipi for some sleep.
I would play music and tidy the house.
I did ordinary things
with a kind of increasing meditative presence
and an annoying sense of speed, efficiency,
and desire for completion.

My attitude soured a bit.
These cubensis sp. have me only a halfnote off baseline,
slightly nauseated and mildly numb.
The music seemed wrong, too measured.
I wondered how it is they are so 'spiritual', so expensive, so desired.
Mebbe i never have enough..

As I set out the door under this grand fullmoon,
I resolved to leave my small mind in the house
and give opengrace to the larger mind.
I think I will find him all rested, perhaps dreamy, full of desire
or curious to explore those other concepts we'd been discussing earlier,
works by Wittgenstein, and Ryle on self identity and other minds
integrated with observations from our readings on primate social
cognition.. what monkeys do.

The snow was so crisp I didn't need to take the path
but stepped up onto the clean, meter-thick blanket
and walked (in the air it seemed)
at the height of fence rails and fruittree tops.
Ah, any of you would have loved that part..

Oh man, but in the tipi, he was a wreck, all sweaty and sobbing
even too scared to come back to the house,
ninety minutes awake in agonised inner torment,

'The whole world is such a bad, bad place.
I think I'm not even borne of this world.
We're a bad, bad species and I'm a bad, bad man.'

His political despair had come of the new knowledge
of the Zapatisitas, the increasing military presence in Northern Chiapas,
the five-hundred year legacy of ruin of the Mayan peoples
and all other indigenous peoples.
One woman had said, 'Without my land, I am flesh waiting to die.'
I feel that way.

Shaun's crying and howling, his deep grief echoed from the tipi.
No amount of long holding would soothe him readily.
No words were nearly enough.
My silence around him,
my thin arms around him, barely adequate to contain the rage of a man,
he roared and writhed for hours.

This master of sadness had moved from personal to political despair
'i cried, i cried for myself, for them,
i can never really figure out why i cry.
I got very upset at the powerful organizations for whom it would be
in their best interest to destroy these people.
I felt that
they didn't know how it feels to see and smell death.
I felt my Crazy Spirit close to the Spirit of The Zapatistas,
i saw a bravery to which mine paled,
a hope so pure and so great.
Angry spit hell-fire.. '.

Finally, he came to rest by me,
Holding his hair, kissing his eyes..
in myself i visualize, like Gordon said..
something of a five-month integration of meanings,
of setting priorities and following that strand of 'what i need to know'.

Outside the tipi, all around, the coyotes began singing.
It was extraordinary how they yipped and howled
extra extra long last night, after our silence.
Out the door, moonshadows were crisp on the heaped snow.

This was no recreational experience,
and tho there was communion
and deep acknowledgement of the Other in this hallowed space,
it was not even particulary ecstatic.
We did not visit that place of philosophical abstractions.

To call this a 'bad trip' would be trivializing.
I knew then, he would live way beyond me
and would not for a moment be wasting his life.

As for a bioassay, I cannot say what the relation is
between me and a bluestalk tea.
As I drifted to sleep,
I reviewed close connections as empathically as happens with bees,
a most pleasing entry into sleep, like prayers or blessings.
I felt inspired then, and even more now
to do the work I must do.
He reported a sensitivity to it.
I felt my ordinary-serene self, above all the other selves.
He spoke for the first time all these years
of my connection to the earth,
a part of me that others recognise and cherish immediately.
In doing so, he reminded me of my groundedness,
even tho I have not seen the ground for months
and still, as yet, walk three feet above.

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