Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Rat Racing
M Alan Roberts

When there are questions that seemingly have no answers, turn to nature and pay attention. The solutions to all life's quarries reside there. Where there are no humans to distort and taint, peacefulness and honesty abound. As January comes to a close, the resolutions set are quickly being forgotten, winter lingers on while slowly fading and the animals struggle and snuggle to remain warm, I watch.

The road on which I live is empty save for 2 neighbors. There are no children on this dirt road because the school buses do not travel it. My neighbors are elderly, quiet and unseen - just to my liking. I am left in solitude to reflect and ponder - and to write. My questions are never-ending and constantly evolving. This keeps life fresh and wisdom increasing - and that is really all that I can see that's worthwhile.

Buckethead, my canine companion, is always too happy to join me for an excursion in the Georgian countryside. We head right, out of the dirt drive, down the earthen road, about a half mile, to the dead end. We cross the field on the other side of the steel gate that marks the terminal point of this rough path. Waiting for us on the other side of that field is a crisp creek that always trickles with clean water and Horny-Heads - little creek-dwelling trout.

Buckethead immediately disrupts the natural splendor by crashing into the stream like Chris Farley would have a smorgasbord. For a minute or two, everything is chaotic. He's establishing dogly control over every animal, bug and microscope create in sight or scent, and then he ventures away leaving me to enjoy the resulting silence. I breathe deep and slow and take in my surroundings. I become a part of them. I am enveloped.

Settling down onto a grassy spot beside the creek, I am granted privileged entrance into a realm where few humans take the time anymore to appreciate. It's so tranquil and forgiving here. I ask myself why people are so absorbed with other people and competition - especially when it is so obvious that true beauty in life stems from something far simpler. I consider the creatures around me and ask myself why they need no consolation. I wonder why humans are ruining all of the pristine environment that's left.

Focusing on the fish that knows not of my presence, I learn what it knows naturally. It seeks food and remains aware of its surroundings at all moments. It thrives in nature and never speaks a word. It needs no money or possessions. It requires no permanent lodging. It wears no clothing or jewelry. It seeks no knowledge except for the instinctual thought patterns that enable it to survive. It knows no romantic notions of love. It does not suffer - merely existing is everything.

I breathe still deeper and allow my mind to become free - to swim alongside the fish that guides my meditation today. Relaxation sets in as I forget all of the problems that I face daily. There is nobody here, in this water, to place blame on me for my past inadequacies. There is nobody here, in this safety, that wishes me ill fortune. Nothing here expects an apology from me for doing my best to survive. There are no police here to imprison me and take my money away.

Here, in my crisp stream of nothingness, I am free to enjoy the boundless truth that forms the core of living. I am untouchable. And if while swimming here in the Georgian countryside with these stream trout, I am to be plucked out and hauled away by a hawk and made his dinner, then that will be alright as well. I would hold no anger towards the hawk as it is the way that nature intended for me to die.

In time, Buckethead again crashes onto the scene - looking like he is about to go completely insane upon seeing me just sitting still. It is as if he demands that I blast through the trees and weeds at top speeds beside him instead. He challenges me to rise and run. I decline.

Slowly, I do rise, and walk, to the path that leads us back "home". I, having been trained from birth to live indoors, guide his empty bucket back to the dwelling - 4 walls and a roof that really mean nothing. As we take each step away from the creek, I feel a longing to return - to strip down, get in the water and stay forever with the fish. I can't though; Buckethead would never allow me to be at peace. He would always be crashing around making the other fish hate me. So, back home we go - a little wiser and a little better able to endure the rat race for another day.

M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.

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