every Fortress must have a Journal . . .

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Old Hare

I live in a place that encourages reflection, because things change so slowly here. They change slowly and repeat themselves endlessly. Not to bore anybody, but to give a lesson. If you need a quick fix, you can watch television or screw around with your Facebook page. If you need to reflect, you can come here and look around for a while.

I went out this morning to the backyard to chuck the kitchen scraps on the compost pile. I turn that pile over every Fall. That is a meditation in itself. We aren't here for long, and that's not a bad thing. If we were all made out of stainless steel or high impact plastic, the world would be one hell of a cluttered mess.

Fortunately, we degrade. I say fortunately because I think decay has generally gotten a bad rap. Disintegration can be beautiful, sometimes, but it is always necessary.

That's why I get such a huge laugh out of the incessant "news" about immortality through technology. We've got Methuselah on the brain and the old geezer is making fools out of us once again. The Fountain of Youth is gushing more liquefied baloney today than ever before: cybernetic, genetic, nanotechnic, cytological bullcrap. I won't bother with the links, you've undoubtedly seen the breathless headlines: "Don't Die Now, Soon Average Lifespan Will Be 985 years". The hype is perpetual and the gullibility is catholic. It's rather like millenarian delusion standing on its head: "Don't worry, you'll be around for ever as soon as you subscribe to our monthly immortality newsletter. Only $49.95." Yes, we are going to be uploaded, paid up and marked "read-only". Then we can sit back and watch the centuries roll on by.

Immortality is not only dumb, it's undignified. That's what the Old Hare told me this morning. He was an old male, sitting in the dug out half of the compost crib where he had slept the night. He had chewed up a few of the apples, but he wasn't looking too refreshed. I walked right up to him and he half froze, as hares do, and sized up his chances of making a quick dash out of the crib. Not too good. He was battered, his fur was shot through with grey patches and worn down spots. He even had glaucoma covering his left eye. He kept his right eye on me, pawed the slats a bit and then just turned around and faced me. Nope, no run. He wasn't up to it.

This is the Old Hare's last winter and he seemed at ease. The nights are real cold now, below freezing just about every sundown. So, soon he will be leaving. And that was his lesson. There is no tragedy in decay. The only distress is our misunderstanding and the lies we have been feed by people who make a living by selling fear.

I went down into the root cellar and found a carrot from the vegetable garden. I took it back to the compost and left for the Old Hare, who wasn't around. Perhaps he'll come back and eat it tomorrow morning.

1 comment:

ps said...

decay--it's why i like fall so much--death swirling about to remind us to stay in the here and now--this was a great read...