Bananas in British Columbia
My recurrent obsession: humans and nature. Today the focus takes the form of a trip to town: Nelson, B.C., home of some 10,000 relatively sane individuals, in a community growing fast into a: "city"? It's already officially a city. Anyhow, it's my first trip to town in a couple of months and I'm not used to seeing all the types of humanity that live there.
Seeing the old and the crippled, I realize in an instant
how they are all doomed in the scenario of the
True, the ice cream was nice. After that, I tried the Jacuzzi, the pool and sauna. The whirlpool effect reminded me of what it must have been like in the warm surf of early coastal India, watching the surf dance like ephemeral life around my upraised toes. A mini-revelation. But to what effect? I swam some laps--glorying in the small miracle of water, immersion and flotation and propulsion graceful and smooth. The clear, blue, depths...but a human-made illusion, as outside the gray rain continued in the real world. This manufactured utopia, chlorinated and concrete-bordered, was like but was not the real thing.
Which would I choose if given the choice: the cold clear mountain lake or this body-temperature zoo-pool? The question is moot: I do choose, every moment. For now, no matter how far I milk the town/zoo analogy, I choose somehow to stay within it. But not long.
I quickly move to the sauna, stretch out and bake in the artificial heat. I reflect on my earlier conversation with Sarah, fresh from the chiropractor, praising the benefits of waiting for him there on the sculptured, padded couch, enjoying the refuge from the bustling street. "He should make it available to people, charge them for ten minutes just as a way to relax." Now the sauna seemed to fit the bill.
Again, ten minutes of it is enough--indeed is all that is allowed, for cautionary reasons. So again I move on--red-eyed and only temporarily refreshed--out into the gray afternoon of the city street again, to the bookstore/coffee nook and my present pen. Is this, then, my cave of refuge, my preferred vision of "nature"? Why else am I not out there running down deer?
A postscript: My pen ran out of ink on the last sentence in the coffee nook. Where did that leave me? Reading Wired. An hour later, I reveled in the taste of a banana from the grocery store where the tabloids blared unheard. I loved it. Hey, I was hungry, by then, and our food from home had become old, dry, stale. What an effort it is even to look at these questions. Where does our food come from? Where does money come from? What would I do if...
Anyhow, a few hours after that, all the paradoxes had resolved. I'd been playing drums, in a practice to get ready for the upcoming trance dance. I felt unified, part of nature, in touch with my inner spirit and connected with those I had been playing with--and by extension, all of humanity. We're in this together now, and we need to dig deep to find a way to maintain connection with that buried earth, somewhere down under our feet. The rhythm somehow does it, brings it all home.
© Nowick Gray