Today is a rainy day,
but I had to take a walk.
So I have my favorite little umbrella
made by a company called Leighton.
It’s very steady, very well-made.
It’s double around the rim and opens very nicely.
Though slightly small it is just right for little walks.
I like it.
The woods were noisy with rainfall
but it was all rain that was caught in the leaves.
As I walked out of the woods it was quiet again.
My first stop was the little shed next to the pond.
While in the shed it poured down raining.
It was delightful.
I like sitting in that shed when it rains.
The rain eventually stopped and I moved on toward the vale.
I stopped at my first special place to sit on a rock on the near side.
I sat studying the underside of my umbrella.
What a cool design.
And then – I noticed the rope.
I think it once held up a pump down in a well.
Then it got used for other things.
But I found this 18 inch piece laying in the field
and I tied it around this tree that’s here next to where I like to sit.
I don’t know where the ropes were used last.
I’ve tied three ropes here, actually two ropes and one twine.
The twine was bailing twine. All of it is plastic.
The heavier blue and white rope that once held a well-water pump
is about a quarter inch in diameter.
The other twine is only an eighth of an inch or less.
I tied the bailing twine around a tree where I like to enter or leave the vale.
No one may ever notice it.
As a matter of fact, I don’t expect anyone to notice any of it.
Now I’m walking to the other side of the vale.
First I walked down the west bank to the vale bottom.
It’s not a steep climb down or anything.
It’s a small vale. It’s only maybe 100 feet across at the bottom.
Now I’m climbing up the east side.
I just passed the groundhog hole at the bottom of the tree.
Now I’m approaching my other favorite spot to sit.
You may ask, “Where do you sit without getting your ass wet when it’s been raining?”
I bring a plastic trash bag with me.
I unfold and set it down where I want to sit.
And now here I sit on the tree
which leans over at such an acute angle
there’s room for 4 or 5 people to sit on this tree.
It’s only 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
There is a little branch arising next to me
where there’s another blue-and-white rope tied.
I can see the other tree where the first rope is tied
but I can’t see the rope.
And I can’t see the rope at the wood line
where I will emerge when I leave for home.
It’s beautiful and green here.
There are lots of trees of different sizes.
It’s fairly rocky here too.
Some of the rocks are sharp and some are rather smooth.
That tells me something.
The sharp ones have been revealed sharp by more recent breaking pressures.
They’ve been cracked with sharp edges exposed.
The smooth ones have been weathered down by many years of rain.
It becomes obvious that water once flowed down this vale.
But it’s been a long time.
I expect glaciers left a lot of the soil here.
And trees left a lot of soil here.
Trees don’t grow very large here when there’s very little soil.
But they fall and become soil.
Then subsequent trees grow larger.
Then there’s the dust that falls to earth every day
that must add an inch every few hundred years.
The old old trees are gone entirely with no signs of the trunks
where they broke off or fell over.
There are a few trunks left from trees that have fallen over more recently.
And there are some that have been cut.
So there’s always an increase of soil.
Some of the trees seem to be growing right out of the tops of rocks.
Some trees are growing in soil that probably has good depth.
When the trees mature that have this deep soil my ropes may still be here.
My little ropes.
Yesterday was raccoon day.
So is today.
Yesterday a raccoon crossed my path as I was about to open the gate to the farm.
Today there was a dead raccoon in the road.
It wasn’t the same raccoon. It wasn’t big enough.
But that’s two raccoons two days in a row.
I learned today that the butchers son killed himself driving an ATV.
He was a young fella still in his teens.
He had served me numerous times in the butcher shop.
He had a slow but genuine smile.
It was always welcome.
Both he and the raccoon died on the road.
Both under circumstances that were easily avoided.
These fractal bodies of ours are easily lost.
Both of these bodies were young with no children.
Their friends and families know the impact of their lives.
I know little.
I was walking toward my favorite vale.
My jeans were clean.
I spotted a beautiful butterfly on the path.
I stopped and spoke to it at length.
It flew up and landed on my jeans.
I kept speaking to it.
It stayed put.
I started walking slowly.
It settled and opened his wings again and again.
I kept talking to it.
It stayed put.
It seemed to like its position.
I was glad to have the passenger.
And I told it so.
Finally it flew up and flew around me
and then landed on my other leg.
I had kept walking
and I kept talking to it.
It appreciated the conversation.
It spoke back to me.
Not with words of course.
Words are cheap.
I felt claimed by a glorious presence.
I wished it well in all of its endeavors.
It is difficult to express how the small creature had made my day.
I changed from being a simple man,
to the butterfly person.
I’m still grokking that.
It’s a significant change in perspective.
I may never be the same again.
But of course when I got up this morning
I never expected to be the same anyway.
Shall someone who expects consistency and expects sameness from day-to-day from their human consorts expect to ever understand the change that has occurred?
Can I share this with my business associates?
Will my family understand?
Should I attempt consistency with my former consciousness?
Everything I encounter changes me, even dirt and stones.
I used to read a lot,
especially for the changes that humans could incur within me.
But I found I was digging in the shallow pool.
I could have eaten the butterfly, but that would not have been nearly as nutritious.
It flew away as we approached a puddle.
It said goodbye with a few flaps of its wings and got a drink.
I walked on. With gratitude.
I finally reached the vale where I like to sit and think.
A fox approached.
It gave me a look like ‘oh, you’re the butterfly man’.
What could I say?
Yes. I am.
Folks learn Latin because it’s a dead language.
It rarely, very rarely changes.
There are a couple of strains of it.
But it’s no longer active, dynamic.
English is the language I was born into.
I learned French in high school for four years.
At one point I even dreamed in French.
My point here is that languages are dynamic, active languages that is.
Our words change.
We give the same word new definitions.
Each generation comes up with new definitions, new ways to use words, new combinations.
We get attached to the language we used growing up.
Then, sometimes, we discover meaning beyond words.
Then we seem to be much slower at looking for new words new ways to say things.
I have made up lots of words.
And it’s important that we do that occasionally.
We look for words to represent realities that we have not found words to represent before.
For years I introduced myself to new words that I did not know before
so that I could speak more clearly.
But I try to use words, even when making them up,
that are relatively discernible to anyone thinking about what I’m saying.
I’ve read about things you can say in Russian that you cannot say in English.
There are no English words for them.
We dumb ourselves down by using the wrong words.
Like the word “word” which is the translation that we use for the word “logos”.
Just as an example, the word “logos” is a huge meaningful word.
That does not mean “word”.
And that mistranslation has produced all kinds of garbage
that people say to each other that is not true.
Words have always been a moving target.
Words never stay the same.
Our language is dynamic.
We grow with what we can say.
You can pick a point in time and try to perfect your grammar.
And by the time you complete that it will be meaningless or nearly so.
It’s critical that we love and even worship truths.
If we attach ourselves to words truths will escape us.
I talk with trees
because I have to.
I certainly love people
but I have to talk with trees.
People tend to know too little
and believe too much.
What trees know and can share with me
is better than what most people believe and will share.
From their invisible parts below the ground
to their visible parts extending way above the ground
trees never deny that they are fractals in any way.
It is a treasure to know what you are.
I am a fractal also.
And the trees have helped me to understand this.
It’s good to know where you came from and how you grew.
It’s good to know that when you stop, when it occurs to you that you are dying.
You can increase the value of what you leave behind.
When a tree dies other fractals live in it.
This wouldn’t happen so much if we always buried them.
Year after year, green after green, trees know what to do.
They teach me how to live, how to produce, how to maintain,
where to find joy, and how to be alive.
They teach me how to share.
They teach me flexibility in the wind.
They teach me how to grow right up against other trees, other people that are different from me.
They teach me how to appreciate people that are different from me.
And they teach me how to be me.
I use words to speak to you.
But words are a mere shadow of thoughts compared to the language of trees.
Trees never lie to me.
Trees never hide from me.
Trees never try to deceive me.
Trees do not believe things that are not true.
This makes them rather superior on numerous levels.
We knock them around and knock them down and they come back.
I’ve been knocked around and knocked down.
The trees teach me how to stand up again and do better.
It’s not that grass and flowers have less to share.
Nor that they know less or are less.
But trees are less ephemeral
and easier for me to relate to visually.
I encourage everyone to spend some time in the trees.
Watch them closely.
Listen to them closely.
It is amazing what they can contribute to your life.