We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Nature Boy

Written By: Charles - May• 16•20

Beltane and the Corona Lunacy II

Saturday gratefuls: Rain. Soaking in, helping us all up here. Weakness yesterday. A bit down, a bit luproned, a bit tired. Worked out anyhow. Persistence. Seoah’s laugh. Kate’s good spirits. Rigel, who slept in her safe place because of the thunder. This computer, a reliable servant. My gas heater up here in the loft. The fans.

Hit myself in the psyche writing yesterday. Usually I can write myself out of a funk, this time I wrote myself into one. Those bridges across the grief caused rift in my psyche may be down now, and I’m grateful that they are; but the pain they caused lingers. Yes, I’ve been sober for 44 years now, but the time I lost, the clarity I gave away confused my path for so many years. Yes, Raeone and I divorced, happily for both of us, yet again I wasted time, obscured the ancientrail I needed to follow. My career, if you can call it that, I spent working for a conservative religious institution against the bourgeois capitalist values it reinforced.

The past. Unchangeable. Yet also unfinished. We continue to bump into, feel the sharp edges of, wrestle with it. Ah. There we go. A way through this. In re-reading Art Green’s Radical Judaism for last week’s class I noticed he said the akeda, or the binding of Isaac, and Jakob at the Jabbok Ford are foundational texts for Jewish self-understanding, yet difficult, controversial.

In a sense, I just realized, placing today against this ancient narrative, against any ancient narrative, is the same psychic work I’m talking about here. Hermeneutic, exegesis, too. I place the terrible tale of Abraham binding his only son, Isaac, for sacrifice against life today. Are we really willing to sacrifice our elders for the sake of the economy? Are we ready to bind our vulnerable citizens to an ICU bed so that our President can satisfy his deluded need for a booming economy? And, if, like Abraham, we can go that far, who will send us a ram instead?

Likewise, many of us are at a Jabbok Ford of our own, wrestling another virus-related peril, isolation. When we get in the water with that angel, who will be the victor? Can the struggle with isolation also yield a name-changing moment, alter the course of history?

In the same way putting my current life against an internal narrative of addiction has the paradoxical result of strengthening me, I did hold the angel until dawn rose, but it also highlights that the limp in the psyche, the bruise of that match has never left me. Perhaps I do need, even deserve a new name.

Long ago, Joseph used to call me nature boy. I would take him on hikes, down to the Mississippi, up north. I don’t recall know what I did with him, but I suspect it was, oh, what’s this called? What’s the purpose of that mushroom? That bird? That river? It’s reflexive for me. When it comes to the natural world, I try to see what I’m looking at. Try to place it in ecological context. Try to understand the role evolution has played. What’s the evolutionary benefit is a common question for me.

Nature boy. Druid. Priest. Once Kate and I met, I left the ministry. I thought it was about doubt and blasphemy. I thought writing and selling fantasy novels was the next path. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the next path actually began when I decided to plant perennials in the front lawn on Edgcumbe Road. I finished up that bed I created as the snows of the 1991 Halloween Blizzard hit. My hands were cold, but I patted the Corm, Bulbs, and Rhizomes into the Soil.

Maybe the next path found Kate and me planting perennials all around our new house in Andover. Perhaps I walked further along it as I felled and chipped the Black Locust grove, scraggly and thorny, to make space for raised beds. Jon built us raised beds. A fence to protect them. We installed sprinklers. Got Seed catalogues. Began to learn about Heirloom Seeds and ways to enhance the natural powers of the Soil. Fruit trees, Currant bushes, Hawthorn hedges. Bees. A Fire pit. Constant work with Soil, with those living things that depend on it. Earth. Water. Fire.

Now we’re on a Mountain top, 8,800 feet into the fourth element. Perhaps this Mountain top is the Mountain top. The place where I finally see the true path I’ve been walking for years and years. Nature boy. Druid. Priest.

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