Friday, July 07, 2006


I resolved this morning that today -- just today -- I will not hurry. I'm finding it a queerly difficult vow to follow, and queerly rich to observe. I had not realized how much of my day I hurry, how much, in various ways, I strain to somehow push something faster than it wants to go. It does not, I think, make anything move much faster, but it does cloud and fret and abrade my mind.


Is nature more real than the human, and is the body more real than awareness?

Put baldly, both questions are clearly stupid, questions to make a philosophy professor shrug his shoulders impatiently. I am not interested in the correct answers to these questions -- if I thought they were available, I suppose I would be -- but I'm interested in my kneejerk answers to them, which are yes, and yes.

Put the questions a slightly different way: Is nature more important than the human? Is the body more important than awareness?

Or put the questions yet another way: Is the human derived from nature? Is awareness derived from the body?

Again, these are stupid questions. They make assumptions that are false: among them, that these are discrete categories, when they're clearly overlapping. And these questions beg other questions: what is real? Important to whom? And, most important of all: why do you ask?


Three baby crows have fallen from their nest above our front yard. Two have come to grief: one hit by a car, one killed by a cat. The third made its way to the back yard -- a dangerous be-catted place. Martha, who always prefers action to waiting, and who learned from the Audobon wildlife people that the handling of baby birds does not, as folk tradition avers, put their parents off them, took the baby crow and put it on the trampoline, and sealed off the entrance: with high netting all around, but open above, it was cat-proof but crow-accessible. A clever solution.

But not one that pleased the mother crow. She was infuriated, diving repeatedly at Martha and screaming at her. Martha couldn't step out of the house without the crow denouncing her in vehement shrieks.

After a day of this, Martha told me, "I think she wants me to put the baby back down in the yard."

I disagreed. I thought she just wanted us to leave the baby alone and stay the hell away.

The next day, after being scolded all morning by a mother crow that refused to eat our Judas dog kibbles, Martha took her life in her hands, acted on her intuition and took the baby off the trampoline and put it in the bushes behind.

The mother crow's fury abated. She complained, of course -- you're not a crow if you don't complain -- but the edge was off it, and that afternoon she came to the back porch for kibbles, meeting Martha's gaze with some embarassment (which crows express by repeatedly wiping their bills against something.) And next day, all was back to normal.

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