The cool April breeze through the open window by his pillow chilled the light perspiration on his body as he kicked off the sleeping bag and swung his feet over the side of the bed in search of his sandals.
Orienting himself upon standing, he foresaw his trip to the toilet to pee and then to the chicken feed bin to scoop out the morning’s ration for his brood as surely as the existence of those locations … no plan from the past or prediction of the future, but acquiescence to the inevitability of the constantly ever-changing present.
As he sat in the mist dampened lawn chair awaiting their arrival, he could hear the stir of the hens’ awakening and fussing over their order of exit from the coop. As they had since they were chicks, Dax came out first followed by Shiva. By the time he got the scratch and crumble spread all five of the Aurucana hens were enjoying the initial pecks of their daylong predation of bug life within the fence lines, interrupted only by returning to the coop to lay large pastel green eggs.
As they followed their interests elsewhere they were replaced by the indigenous birdlife dropping from the sheltering canopy of freshly leaved limbs. There were grackles and tits and waxwings and a variety of doves from the pigeon-sized white wings to the tiny turtledoves all dining so respectfully that the density of their population couldn’t be distributed more evenly over the area of the food grains by mathematical calculation. Nor could a stopwatch split the instant a silent signal sends them flying uproariously back into the limbs.
The distant tree line lowered itself to reveal the blazing source of his planet’s energy with a power that forced his arm up to shield his eyes against its glare. The garden at his feet was in stark dark green silhouette enhanced by the glistening whiskers outlining backlit stems and leaves, gleaming refractions through dewdrops and sparkling reflections off the shiny surface of the ripening fruits. The foliage and homes around the clearing brightened with occasional sweeps of the spotlight reflection of the low sun off the three spinning cds he’d hung from twine to frighten birds from ripe fruit. He could tell how many hours from noon it was by how far the sweep of the spots of were on the ground from the center above which they spun in the breeze — as if someone needed to know the time out here.
He reflected that this was the most promising spring garden in the seven year history of his conscious responsibility for completing his own food chain by organically growing and harvesting both his own sustenance and its sustenance, compost. He’d begun that journey over half his life ago when, at the age of thirty-four, he’d realized he’d never fed himself beyond learning to use a fork to scoop in food prepared by a related woman or mess hall and campus grill cooks. It had been a revelation that might never have occurred to him had his wife kept on cooking for him. Sadder, but wiser, he thanked her for leaving.
In his self-styled brand of perversity, he considered his seat in the garden shed his gym, where he got in condition to keep pace with nature, an exercise sorely neglected before he began realizing everything he’d been taught was wrong. He was prone to sitting and gazing at the daily doings of critters, plants and clouds with a pleasure enough to balance the frustrated boredom behind a world full of eyes gazing longingly out of classroom and office cubicle windows.
When the muse beckoned, he played his bamboo flute with the symbol for Om etched in Sanskrit just below the mouthpiece, reminding him to seek the resonance he felt throughout his entire body when intoning the syllable with his voice. On occasion, his untrained fingers danced across their holes with serendipitous, spontaneous syncopation to tunes neither the flute or he had ever heard with such delight as to take away the wind for the next note leaving him with an ethereal buzz and Cheshire grin for hours after.
The email bell on his iMac notified him of the client work that maintains his slowly accumulating bank account toward the day when he can erect his own portable home off the entire grid, save the intertubes. This peephole back to the greatest show on earth also kept him apprised of what he saw to be the weight of western civilization’s commodification of the entire planet straining the limb of human existence as it walks away from the trunk of natural planetary evolution. Becoming an example of the alternative, symbiotic with the nature of the planet way to live is his raison d’etre.
He spent several hours refining details of his design for a twelve sided, sixteen-foot diameter, plywood tipi to ensure low cost (common materials) and ready portability (twenty minutes from pickup bed to erect either way). He’d outfitted his porch with woodworking tools to insure the precision cuts required of efficient multipurpose structure parts. He could see erecting it on the other side of his garden in the summer and moving in by fall.
He purchased a movie from iTunes called Leaves of Grass, starring Edward Norton because he wondered how this talented young actor would channel Walt Whitman, his favorite poet. Much to his delighted disappointment, the grass of the title was Cannabis Indicus and Ed Norton was twin brothers channeling both halves of his own life at the same time.
With a grin on his face and adventure in his heart he returned to his dream out in the full moon-lit hammock, knowing he’s have to get in the sleeping bag along about three in the morning when the temperature dropped and chased him inside.