Aristotle taught while pacing to and fro. Hobbes, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard thought deeper on their feet. Heisenberg and Bohr strolled while discussing the latest permutations of physics and war. Wordsworth wrote, "Happy in this, that I with nature walked." Saigyō, Bashō, and others sojourned through Japan, while Dōgen sat and let the mountains walk for him. Santōka, sheltered in wayward temples, begged enough for one night's room and board, or stayed with friends, sometimes too long.
First I plotted a linear path, carried on the shoulders of giants. Now the world is a presence that besets us, and the physiognomy of its contours, both naturally and architecturally, are the occasions for our own corporeal unfolding. Body and world gather and form each other in a mutual and dialectical dance. I notice, for instance, that my own movements, the way I walk, feel different, and probably are, when I walk in circles.
Living in Paris was a Russian named Pankrotov, whom most critics called a genius. One night, all his paintings were destroyed in a fire. After this, he never painted again. One reason was that is essential, claims Deleuze, is to have an animal relationship with animals. Deleuze draws his conclusions from watching people walking their dogs down his isolated street, observing them talking to their dogs in a way that he considers 'frightening.' He reproaches psychoanalysis for turning animal images into mere symbols of family members, as in dream interpretation. Deleuze concludes he was just tired. Another was that he could never measure up to the legend created around those paintings that no longer existed. Now he makes his living anonymously repairing the damaged works of others. "There is only one real sacrifice an artist can make, and that is to accept the possibility of being forgotten," he said. Later we learn it was he who had set the fire, and that one painting, a portrait of his daughter, survived.
On the edge of the forest there's a zoo. In its cages, animals neurotically pace. I've been there only once. On September 12, 2001, I went because on the day after the carnage in New York, admission to see these captives was free.
What I could clearly see yesterday,
this morning is hidden. I know that what my brain has secreted is
constantly recombining, tinkering with an imaginal grammar and mouthfuls
of words. Now a scrim of trees seems to appear. One tree's trunk
is split open, exposing spires of red splinters. It forms a lean-to
over the path. I slip under it, thinking, Risk is why so few
of us attempt to reach the other side. However, I won't go further,
have consecrated my life to
changing matter into spirit, with the hope of one day seeing it all.
Seeing its total form, while wearing the mask, from the distance
of death. And there, in the eternal destiny, to seek the face I had
before the world was made, as a tooth is beginning
Drought, then two weeks of rain, snow coating the mountains, as the season nears its end with 70% of normal moisture. Even after the sun squeezes through some thin clouds, in the animist world view, spirits may intrude upon man from a variety of sources: from the pool of ancestral souls, from animals or trees, or indeed from transistor radios or telephone poles. All of these, and in fact all things animate and inanimate, living and dead trees continue to drip. In puddles that mark the path my face is murky. When I question the creek , it bubbles...then bursts. This wisdom is beyond my years.
Today I've been remembering the thrill of my first weeks here. One day, walking on Yamhill street, imagining a field of fleshy tubers budding in the dark warm earth beneath the pavement, I came upon a brass gargoyle mounted on a crimson door. I went inside and inquired about the building's strange guardian. Although a successful trip in the literal cave most likely means you exit by the same route you entered. A successful trip in the metaphorical cave means you will not. For this reason, the backward glance in the literal cave means survival, and in the metaphysical cave, it means the occupants had passed through the throaty grin so many days of their lives, no one knew its name.
A man is pushing a baby carriage up the rocky trail, scoring deep ruts in the mud. What labors our genes assign us! Though in this burden we find affirmation, already the child is crying to be a person. Resemblance is all we have to show for the passion of our teleology and the scars it leaves behind.
my way down the steep hillside. Momentarily tangled in a bramble