Field trip

I remember poking a hole in the end of an oatmeal can to make a camera. I remember laying leaves and pieces of grass on photosensitive paper, then setting it in the sun to make silhouettes. In the yard was a septic tank with a square cement lid you could stand on. That night I slept on a couch in a room full of other children. There were sleeping bags and the heat of summer, the discomfort of a strange place. A few mosquitos, but it was the moths I remember, fluttering around the naked lightbulb, until I slept.

Perhaps this memory static and done is a retreat. Right now my mind is like that pinhole with everything focused in a cone through its tiny space. A desperate ring clenching down, a collar on confusion, these foolish notions of control.

I once saw life yawning before me, from my high ascetic perch. I committed to wander in Samsaara, to dive in headfirst and through transformation escape it. But escape is not a guarantee. It all too easy to get lost in the tangle and the noise. Until one pops out of History, one’s in it up to the neck. Horrible dreams, like waking up with empty syringes hanging out of your face. There are monsters here.

A mind under pressure steams off in unexpected directions. Lately the hallucinations have gotten stronger. They are more like waking daydreams, and they’re not at all unpleasant. The other day in traffic a passing truck became the giant vocoded voice of some ancient animal or machine. As it heaved itself fantastic from the soil, it let out a raging, yawning, croaking roar, so deep and powerful that every vibration was a separate thundering explosion. A wind rose up around it, summoned by its voice, or by the bulk of its rising. I saw it like some primeval nature spirit in a Japanese anime, roused by Man’s foolish intervention, by the call of the ages. And it took my breath away.

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