These days I cry all the time. Yesterday I was telling a friend that I like to just sit and watch my ferrets eat. Just remembering the contented sounds of munching and crunching, and imagining my girl’s face as she squints her eyes to chew, with little crumbs spilling out of her mouth, made me well up. Today I listened to a sermon by my friend Rev Bev and she likened the need that we have to play and to experience pleasure to the call of the wild geese. Lying on my living room floor, looking out the window at a clear morning sky, I could see the geese and hear their call and they were calling me to get up and to go outside into the wild where I can be free and find life. I’m streaming now even as I type.
Why do the tears come so readily these days? I feel as if they’re always there just under the surface waiting to gush out at any moment. When I cry my feeling is always the same. There is a world. There is life. It’s so close I can feel it in my skin. My stomach screams and my chest fortifies itself to keep the scream inside me for fear it rips the skin of my bones on its way out. When I cry, it’s always because the seal that keeps me in and the world out is growing thinner and tiny holes are melting their way through to the outside. I cry because I desperately want to leave this prison that I have grown up in but I can’t find the knob on the door. Of course the reason that I can’t find the knob is because I’m not ready to. I’m afraid to open the door to freedom because I’m afraid it might kill me.
My words are metaphoric, but in fact they are also written with deadly sincerity. The trap that binds me is the invisible and ubiquitous blind of civilization. It binds me with rules of success, rules of propriety, rules of separation, hard work and lovelessness. To break free of these binds would be to rid one’s self of the need to follow the rules. Some of these rules are enforced with violence. If I love the wrong person I may be incarcerated, the invisible bounds of civilization replaced with the very solid bounds of a cell. If I work towards the wrong cause, not being successful enough by the measure of money, then everything I own can be taken away from me by force. In a world where even the sky and the water that falls from it are owned by someone, to lose everything one owns is to be truly trapped. It could kill me to be separated from nature. I could suffocate from concrete.
I am trapped between two worlds. My heart fully inhabits a world of abundance, of the awesome power of thunderstorms and howling wolves, of the thrill of sex so deep our bodies melt into the universe, mix, and return to us with little concern for whether all the bits go back to their original owners, of the peaceful crunching of tiny jaws on tiny kibbles… My heart has left my mind behind to live in this beautiful world and my mind reels from the pain of separation. My mind resides in the plane of utility bills and income tax, resumes, employment and visa applications. My mind still believes that it has to do something, but without my heart it can only answer the how, not the what.
I cry because in these tiny moments my eyes suddenly see clearly and my mind understands that the world it lives in is not the world of my heart. It sees where it needs to go and the contrast between the piercing beauty of that bright and clear vision and the faded drudgery of the world it has grown accustomed to stings. In these moments I’m torn in a different direction. The longing is so sincere and only in these moments do I understand it well enough to rejoice in the vision and mourn its absence from my daily life. I cry from the pain, but it also purifies me. Each time the tears come I feel my eyes see a little more clearly, my heart speaks a little more loudly and my mind seems to find just a little more direction. Perhaps one day the call will be too strong to ignore. Perhaps the fear of every threat that civilization can throw at me will suddenly lose its power to move me. Perhaps on this day the geese will fly overhead and I’ll hear them and finally step outside into the sun to follow them over the horizon.