"Be open to the real forces that are around, instead of the images and the hype. It's such a lessening of the human being to go through winter hating winter and to go through summer hating summer." - Ken Dunn, Hyde Park Resident.
Ken was sited as Chicago's "resident with the smallest carbon emissions foot print" in the Trib last week. This quote is in response to being asked about riding his bike throughout the winter. This guy is pretty old (though obviously, not at heart), and he sees interactions with natural forces as an exciting meeting, not an opportunity to play victim. I've been carrying around a little yellow sticky note with this quote ever since. It's so fierce - the power of human perception. I get the sense that I'm scrubbing all of the film off of my thoughts when I start looking through this frame (it can pretty much apply to anything, right?). I've started thinking about this like current in the water, which is largely what comprises the content of our song "The River." It's not a new thought by any means... If you go against current and fight it, your muscles become tired, knotted, and worn. What happens if you hop? It takes you. You can loosen your tensions as it carries you down. It's giving in to the complete unknowns which we generally feel uncomfortable about because they take more constant attentiveness and mindfulness. Well, anyway, I won't go into a Buddhist diatribe (is that even possible?) but I wanted to post it here because I found it meaningful and encouraging.
Funny how the adjective and noun forms of current speak to one another.
Here are the lyrics for "The River." Erica and I wrote them after hearing about an experience that her mom had while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She was crossing a river and the current swept her away. Due to the weight of her pack, she couldn't get to a bank and was certain that she was going to die. Upon that realization, she leaned back, calmed her senses and enjoyed what she thought would be her last living moments... she observed everything with a concentrated mindfulness as she passed underneath the glow of light pouring through the canopy of leaves. This is a half fictional retelling. (She was saved - just so you know)
High water carried her down stream.
She watched the water’s living things.
She thought, it’s not a mound with six planks of wood,
The cardinal points to hold you up,
Or a mountain where a shed self could
Feed the roots and honor the tongues of the animals.
Drift into the moss and bloat where the pete bog pulls.
Rolled like a felled tree
With arms as useless as such.
Death’s panic came, a calmness stayed.
You couldn’t do much.
Just watch the water chip away
At the bank eroding.
Cut and crumbling through the spate.
It took a father.
It covered a daughter,
Took her down, down, down.
With the glass bottles, books, a tire,
Collected hair tufts
In the weeds
Snagged and wrapped,
In the petes
Dammed and trapped.
You said, is this the ceremony?
I don’t know, well I don’t mind.
The way we all fall in and roll down
Pushed through the veins and trafficked bi-s.
And when your ears sit under,
Head is half submerged down below,
Pooling all accounts of peace while passed beneath
The canopy glow.