Last night I found myself in the midst of the human circus known as Arts Fest in State College, PA. I was downstairs in Zeno's Pub dancing to a friend's band when I began to get a familiar, creeping feeling that something was not right. I looked around at a scene that began to seem more and more foreign, as if I were a traveler from a distant land or time that was suddenly placed in a situation far removed from his own.
I took to the street and pondered the passersby with their eyes locked on little electronic screens wearing clothes most likely made of petroleum. What a strange concept--plastic that you can wear! Cars whizzed by, and people bustled. Was I born in the wrong century? The question is silly, really, because I obviously exist right now and must be destined for this moment of existence; but still I feel drawn to a place either long gone or far away. I think these moments are a realization of what Hindus call "Maya," the sudden understanding that this construct we live in is an illusion and "reality" is what you experience with your eyes closed sitting out in the forest or the desert.
But I guess this world we live in is as real as anything, as much as I'd like to believe otherwise. It's like we're living a perverse self-fulfilled prophecy brought about by doomsayers and apocalyptic movie narratives. People are being shot by those who are supposed to protect us without any just cause. Mass killings are happening all over the world. Genocide, climate change, racism, and gender inequality is pervasive in every facet of our social world. And, ugh, this presidential race: a battle between a misogynistic, racist twiddle twat who hasn't progressed emotionally past third grade and a member of political royalty who is being puppeteered by the agendas of corporate entities that have funded her campaign, both of whom are fighting it out to see who is most egotistical and self-serving. Gross. The human world is taking over the planet, and it is becoming increasingly foul. This American bubble we live in is likely to pop soon, everyone--you best get ready for the next century of water struggles, hostile growing conditions, and general warfare.
Heaviness is what I feel having written that last paragraph, and yet here I sit typing in a hammock strung up between two towering oaks overlooking small sandstone cliffs that delineate the southern border of the family forest. My dog seems to think all is well, and I could also be easily tricked into feeling so. But the wind that blows through the summer canopy brings with it the ill tidings of distant and not-so-distant lands. If you take the time to open the eye in your heart, it's easy to feel it. If only I had been born in a century much earlier or perhaps much later, I could have lived my hermit's dream of self-sufficiency away from the human condition. But my heart's eye will not close, and so I must accept the fact that I am here now. I'll walk back to sow more seeds and grow vegetables and post these words on the internet for all to see. To what end? I don't know. But it's what I feel I must do.