The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.
Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made
is star-stuff too?
– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –
dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.
Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.
Friday, 16 September 2011
from Babeny Tor
I've lived on the south, east, north, west and now again south prospects of Dartmoor – that wild hinterland of 365 square miles, microcosm of the Celtic granite uplands of Britain – for a total of 30 years. It's not quite but is nearly a substitute for the long, empty (in the winter, anyway) beaches of the Atlantic of my youth.
Crossing the moor is like a tryst with a lover. Something of my ego dissolves, and out here in everything elemental and of the earth, still I can slip the ties that bind me to earth for a little while. So driving across the beautiful snaking road past megalithic sites with the moor's heather and gorse, rowan trees, shaggy black Galloway cattle, hardy sheep, wild pony herds and space I am in paradise, and every time it's different.
And now, a weekday evening, with a huge wind coming up from the west and an autumnal chill, I need to get out with the dog and storm up Babeny Tor, be stripped by the wind and this wild light of the shadows I carry, of the white noise in my head, of going to visit the shadows that are now my parents. My heart in a very un-Buddhist way is raging at the seemingly-insoluble nature of our relationship to the four entrapping truths that the Buddha identified. (His journey started when, as a privileged prince, he met for the first time, out in the world, suffering, sickness, old age and death, the four primary conditions which we all try to resist and which cannot be resisted.)
In ten minutes nothing of 'the human condition' has changed, but my relationship to everything, briefly, has: the winds of the world can now blow through me rather than dragging me off with them...
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