8-31: If it were possible to believe that gods created the Universe, the next belief might be that they had decided to use Earth for the indulgence of their artistic talents. To see just how much beauty they could create in, from their perspective, a limited space. When the god of Genesis stepped back from day to day and pronounced that “it was good,” this might be what he meant. From my own more limited perspective, I don’t see how they could have done better. It really was a work of art. In today’s parlance, I guess we’d have to call it performance art since it doesn’t just sit still; its parts all interact in ways that replenish itself as needed, dispose of detritus, maintain, and heal and renew. It really is quite a place. Of necessity, it had also to be useful, meaning that it provided the conditions and nutriment for rebirth and evolution, always changing, always restoring, always beautiful. Since beauty is imbued with spirit, it is also a spiritual place where love, identification, entanglement abide and enrich. But a flaw inevitably revealed itself—for a particular species usefulness begat exploitation and unrestraint and forgetting. That species, ours, severed its spiritual connection and has been flailing in opulently appointed misdirection ever since. We are now destructive, incessantly conflicted with ourselves and each other, unhappy, and seemingly willing to take down the Earth, for a long time to come, rather than return to full consciousness. It’s as if a relentlessly addictive drug dropped an opaque veil between our present selves and what we might be. A sad story.
It sort of rained last evening and during the night. I’ve not been in the presence of rain for close to a year, and I truly miss it. This one didn’t amount to much moisture but was invaluable as sensation; it woke forest smells that only rain can do, and the rolling thunder may have been composed by Beethoven. The wind cleansed the trees of dead leaves and needles, pinecones fell, the canopy rustled vigorously and was privileged with unimpeded views of the night sky. Rain fell only in spurts but enough to drive me into the camper where the sound of it on the roof is its own pleasure. This morning Twig and I walked. South Fork Kings River by my estimate is only about 5-10% of spring flow (hard to guess; could be slightly more); not so exciting as the tumult of snow melt but still satisfying to sit beside and go with its flow (which is more, I think, than the Merced yesterday, which seemed even lower). To my surprise, one of the streams we crossed that comes out of the mountains to the south still flowed. The expectation of dryness is taking over my mind, so any exceptions reassure a bit and, as flowing water always does, excite my imagination.