Saturday, July 29, 2017

one and only life

I see a spider crawling near me and I feel reflexive fear, and next automatic protection: protection of the spider from my fear, and my ability to kill it.

Other, worse days, I see a spider crawling near me and fill with a quick and mean rage, and on those worse days, I might kill the spider. I regret every spider I have killed that was not crawling on me in bed or poisonous and near my children.

I do not want to take the life of any single living creature. But I kill the fleas on my dogs and poisonous spiders near my children and sometimes, ants. When I watch the fleas going down the drain I think the entire time about their deaths. I wonder about being a flea. Kafka could imagine the bugs. I like to slip inside the life of everything I encounter for some period of time, small or large, and feel from inside out the true body of that life. The perspective of something tiny. The perspective of something enormous. How, to the enormous life, I am the tiny speck of flea, the thousands of ants, easily dismissed, krill soaring in the millions through the gaping baleen mouth of the blue whale.

Life in any form is miraculous. It is the true miracle, the parting of waters we wait to see has already parted, and the head of new life slid from inside the wet. 

I tell my children from the time they are gently the exact same thing when contemplating the hard, blisteringly black back of a beetle, or the tiny working arms of a fly: 

this is it's one and only life. it is not up to us to decide when it ends.

and they accept this of course so easily, because I am Their Mother. 

To spend your life highly aware of the miracle and singularity and astonishment of that life and of every life around you can be highly uncomfortable and sometimes slide into miserable, but it is also the way a godless speck like myself can without effort find meaning in this insane world, inside the miracle of an ant turning it's bulbous head to look my way, the round eye of the robin at our birdfeeder, the one-eyed baby possum looking at me with his one eye left (the other side a gaping hole from the claw of an owl) and I can see, as clearly as I can see my own hand, that this baby possum is thinking,

are you going to end my one and only life?

No, no, no, I sang to him as he circulated his tiny round ear, I am not. 

I want everyone and everything to turn an eye to something more powerful than them and to see in that large unknown thing that it only means good.

Wouldn't that be something?

The baby possum went to the Wildlife Preserve with Lola, and the woman picked him up and turned him left and then right before smiling at Lola. 'He'll be just fine,' she said.

The next night at dinner outdoors, we were visited by another baby possum, this one with both eyes in place, and a rat and a mouse.

Ever threw them food and curled up with the flashlight until all the tiny legs stopped moving in the bushes.

previous next