“I accept chaos, I’m not sure whether it accepts me.”
“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.”
There is a bird feeder in the backyard. The seeds and suet attract robbins, nuthatches, sparrows, woodpeckers, doves, squirrels, chipmunks, and from time to time, there are rabbits and skunks and possums.
From time to time but rarely, there are falcons.
The smaller birds – nuthatches, and sparrows – fight for proximity to the seeds. Sometimes the sparrows fight other sparrows and the nuthatches fight other nuthatches. It is in a sense, democratic. The squirrels and chipmunks only ever squabble when they arrive at the same juncture but otherwise ignore each other though on occasion a concerned chipmunk will chase a squirrel three times its size across the yard.
The doves are left alone.
The rabbits of course freeze when they think they have been discovered and don their cloak of invisibility.
If I’m not moving, they believe, you can’t see me.
When the falcons arrive (always alone) everything stops.
Once, at the beginning of the summer, a fawn and its mother appeared. The fawn was willing to approach anyone but the fawn’s mother kept its distance and as soon as they were alone they vanished into the deeper hedges and were gone.
There is of course a kind of order in all of this.
There is the order of hierarchies based on size and aggression.
There is the order of light and dusk and evening.
There is the order of urban and not urban or houses, streets, cars and not those things.
There is the order of the seasons.
On the West Coast there are seasons but the changes between one and another is less distinct than elsewhere.
In the Midwest there is really no way to not know if it is summer or fall or winter or spring.
Now it is fall and winter has sent its first suggestions.
The leaves have begun to turn and many of the trees are risen as flames skyward in bursts of red and orange and red-orange and you can see leaves beginning to drift down to the ground sometimes in yellow and sometimes drifting in the stronger wind rushing in from the lakes.
The chipmunks have begun to retreat.
They know the order of what they need to know to be successful chipmunks.
The rain and the wind possess a heavy aspect that is full of a growing cold.
The summer rain comes with ferocity but the air is thick with heat and the humidity is enough to float a battleship.
The Halloween decorations are out in abundance and despite a wrote and dull conformity of habit and tradition as social sclerosis, one can, if so minded, be aware of ancient ideas about the passing of time and the change of the seasons and the idea that winter is a kind of death.
The earth is a mechanism.
Obviously humans are parasitical.
We type this on our slave manufactured, government sanctioned tracking device.
It is a kind of hierarchy and combines a kind of chaos and a kind of order.
To sit still in the backyard is to invite a transition.
At first the birds and the chipmunks and the squirrels stop moving and observe.
Then, assuming you are just another fixed feature of the landscape they resume being themselves.
Most people are not very bright.
This upsets many people because the truth is often unpleasant and even idiots don’t like to be told they are idiots.
People who pride themselves on being smart are also usually not very bright but they live inside a pecking order and have jobs where they get paid to bark into a camera or type.
Within that there is another hierarchy of sparrows and falcons.
They believe they know the order of things.
As we type this Miles Davis and Coltrane are offering up a kind of order.
Then there is a commercial and a man with an angry drill sergeant meets infomercial voice tells me that if I want the best looking lawn on the block –
I hit the mute button.
Another click and Stan Getz is smoothly dancing across time.
Nearly a hundred years ago, contemplating Henri Bergson’s ideas about multi-dimensional consciousness, the effects of gin, and a few thousand other things, Scott Fitzgerald came to the conclusion that we had lost our capacity for wonder as the world of illusion replaced the order inherent in the great vast green everything else.
The verdant replaced with the sinister green of neon and paper currency.
It is hard to grab hold of the time to stop and do nothing – nothing as action and nothing as observation; nothing as watching the mechanism of the earth operate.
To do so is to be subversive.
It is to subvert the long train of purchase and consume that threatens you by suggesting your lawn is not the best it could be let alone the best on the block.
To subvert the dictatorship of participation in the tyranny of the collective.
Best, better the best.
Versus, as is.
Or as uncle Walter said: I invite my soul to loaf.
The birds, the squirrels and perhaps unseen, the chipmunks, as agents of the earth, are themselves.
What is order?
What is chaos?
What are the patterns of existence.
At what point does one end and the other begin?
What does it mean to order and create a hierarchy within one set versus another?