15 October 2010
Indian Summer Beyond the End of the World
Out front of the House of Owls and Bats, around sunrise. Because of the clear skies, it wasn't the neatest of sunrises. Although, the colors to west, and the cast of light was pleasing to the eye.
I must admit, the preternatural warmth of the previous calendar month has somewhat thrown me. It comes as a shock when I realize the seasonal residents have scuttled off to their winter compounds. The fact there are still leaves on a fair amount of the deciduous trees, and some of them are even green is queer. A year ago, the same trees were stripped almost a month prior. Granted, there are more bald aspens on the north-facing slopes than the south, but the leaves that are there are still dull gold and rust colored, instead of wind-blasted mummy brown. Up-valley, closer to the Roof of the World, the tops of the high peaks have started to wear their winter cloaks of snow.
Recent events have put the lyrics of a Seven Mary Three song within the walls of my skull during the early mourning hours;
"I wake up
to beat the sun from her glory,
I'm only one cigarette
away from mobility..."
Okay, the cigarette part has not been true for two years and two months now, but the beating the daystar from its glory part is. Since moving to the mountains, I have become increasingly diurnal. Part of this is simply environmental; there's more to do during the day. Besides, in a township of only about two hundred bipeds, about one-hundred ninety of which are full-time residents, and living in a rural parish, we don't have what could be called a thriving nighttime scene.
That's fine. I did the nocturnal thing. It was rather fun. But it served its purpose as well as a dolphin, whale, an octopus, and a shark. It was time to try something new.
When I first started waking earlier in the mournings, I would get up to meditate. Or at least try and sit still for five minutes. I don't know if mentally noting with a demonic smirk how delicious it is to try to sit still and be silent to B.B. King or a song like Black Magic Woman playing on the radio counts as meditation in the technical sense. Perhaps that's why Buddhists have been known to refer to the act as practice, because you're constantly trying to get it right.
Sometimes, the kittens will come and sit in my lap in mid-attempt-at-inner-tranquility-and-enlightenment. The Grumpy Old Men have been known to push their heads under my arms to sniff at me. Whistler will even give me a lick on the cheek, as to let me know he's there. Even Milarepa will, at the very least, make some kind of snorfily noise. I've referred to these moments familiar mudras.
"Do you mind?" I've whispered to whichever quadruped, or quadrupeds."I'm trying to get serene here."
We have this discussion every few days. It's especially heartwarming when Chevy forgets he's over seventy pounds and decides to kick the kittens out of my lap. Whistler sometimes gives him an annoyed growl. It's charming.
At least the weasel-r'ts, little púcas they are, have had the courtesy not to interfere...
It has been interesting to be out in the pre-dawn. I find myself grateful for a few astronomy books I picked up at the library book sale, as to being able to note which constellations occupy the small strip of sky over the narrow rift-like valley that I refer to as our Sahel. Some mournings I whisper a greeting to Orion. Ever since I've known the name and location of that group of stars, my eyes have always been drawn to it, although I'm not exactly sure why. As much as I love to look at the stars, amusingly enough, it wasn't until we moved to our Kashmir that I was finally able to locate Polaris.
This endeavor that I somewhat accidentally fell into and that has started getting me up early, even for me these days, has altered my tea drinking habit. I'm not overly sure if this will do. Sabina likes to harass me about hitting the tea too hard. That I might have a [tea] drinking problem. She's done the same thing about my water consumption. Of course, she's all junkie-like for kombucha, a fermented form of black tea. She even has stills...I mean jars...of it on the refrigerator.
Although my skeleton sometimes hates me after the fact, the pain being an unfortunate, but inevitable consequence, I have stumbled into something important. Even and especially for this part of the world, and even moreso for the mountains. By afternoon, I am once more left to my own devices. Since the process has just started and I have just gotten engaged in it, there are some growing pains in its consistency, and I work on adapting to the new circumstance and finding equilibrium within the paradigm. This is something I do not trip about. After all, I am all about balance.
In the meantime, it is indian summer here. Sure, there was the four hours of a few inches of wet snow, which was gone by afternoon, even if it did get me to brew my first infusion of Nepali black tea of the season. Some mournings have been cooler than others, but it's still pleasant. I consider making a ten pence guess that, whilst there might be some meteorological and metaphorical hiccups, it's going to stay relatively mild for at least another sixteen days. Perhaps longer. I could be wrong, but that dandelion I spied on walkabout a week ago seems to indicate I could be right.