Friday, December 28, 2007

cronos and gaia

Image credit: Carlos Parada, Cronos

I passed most of the morning in bed, watching the sun, which was transformed into a milky haze by the dust of the windowpane. On days when I don’t have to be anywhere, it is almost impossible to leave the house during the hours when the sun describes its balletic arc along the southeastern perimeter of the house. Sleeping is allowed, even reading, as long as you wake or raise your eyes from the page and occasionally behold the sun--mostly, you may not leave the presence of the sun. For about two hours (say from one until three o’clock p.m.) the sun will be intercepted by a windowless section of the house and a large Arizona Ash that visits from next door. During this time you can go out.

From the front door step of our house you have two options. Going East leads to hip cafes, divy clothing shops and a used bookstores, beer, and wine and coffee--all that civilization has to offer can be found by going east. To the west lie the hills, the creek, the Spings, and the trails. This is the direction I most often find myself leaning, and even walks with an intended eastward direction usually are delayed by a westward jog. Today we head purposefully west, down to the creekbed with a thermos of green tea, an apple and a small container of milk. The sun is filtered by the overhanging vines and riparian trees, and we walk a long while before lighting upon a sunny, rocky place in the center of the creek bed, dry for weeks now. It is as if the underwater world was suddenly frozen in time--the rocks, the plants, the algae are all a milky white. Above in the blue sky, buzzards watch us.

The highway arcs above like a great serpent. It’s hard not to resent its ignominious presence--even if you cannot see it, it effects a constant drone that eventually comes to resemble the wind in the cottonwoods and sycamores--and all the more despicable because of it. We find crawdad parts, some fox fur, and scattered feathers--signs that some sort of normal, natural parade of life and death continues unhindered. Yes, I realize that in saying this I betray some fundamental principal of ecology that says we are also nature, not separate from it--but lately, and as always, I doubt this and feel we are aliens consuming this world and shitting it out in our hideous wake.

Last night we read the story of Gaia and Uranus, and I am again reminded that myths hold the key to many mysteries. As we walked down the creek, searching for treasure, I wonder about the Titans and the hundred-headed monster and the cylopses Uranus tossed into the depths of the earth. What do they tell us about who we are, about where we are going, and which direction to head in the hours devoid of perfect, dancing light.