The sky is silver, hazy, and warm. A bare aspen withers below. The sleeping limbs sing a song with the wind that I can hear all the way up here. I hear a machine, the birds, a clock, and my ears begins to ring.

What kind of commuters? This I have no need to decide. They are out of my world, way up there, sitting busy in their isolated, arbitrary lounge that doesn’t even seem to be on the move—the lounge that somehow picked them up off the earth in scorched California to suspend them for awhile with instant coffee and timeless cocktails just to bring them back down to earth in sunny Nevada. It’s mere and marvelous, the jet-stream suspension of contemporary life in contemplation that delivers you somewhere.

The clouds bloom astronomical and cosmic. Through them the inevitable airliner passes. It’s undoubtedly full of commuters from San Diego to Reno.

There are other worlds high above me. Other planes pass over, demanding more contemplation and complex modalities of concentration.

I see the armed plane, the warship of the sky with the “ka-boom” in it. It flies lower than the rest. I look up from the wild, in the direction of the closed bay. It’s but a pewter-steeled crow pregnant with eggs of destruction hidden below its breast. A womb easily and instinctively opened by lack of patience! I do not consider this fear-mongering beast to be related to anything I believe in. Much like everyone else, I live in the shadows of these apocalyptic cherubs.

It is more or less likely that I am being surveyed by it on an impersonal level. Its number distinguishes my number, and most likely yours too. Are our numbers preparing at some point to correspond in the benign mind of a top-secret supercomputer? Should this concern me? Probably not, even though I live in the solitude of my soul out here in this wild, is this enough of a reminder that I am free to not be given an undisclosed number?

Yes. This is, and has always been, in fact, a choice. So I choose to…

BE YOU

In an age where there is so much conversation about “being yourself” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is a very vague chance of my being anyone else. Rather, it begins to seem to me that when I am too intent on “being myself” I run the risk of impersonating my own shadow.

I exist under the canopy of this forest wild. I walk through these lonesome woods of myself out of necessity. I am both prisoner and escapee of my own prison. I cannot necessarily tell you why, born in Mississippi, my journey has led me to the high desert just east of Lake Tahoe in western Nevada, the perfected fusion of both desert and wilderness. I have considered going further, but it is certainly not practical. It makes no difference where I am.

Still I cannot pride myself on the freedom of being me, simply because I am living out here in the shadows of my own wild. Should I come to be accused of living in the woods like John Muir, instead of living in the desert like John The Baptist, all I would be able to answer is that I choose not to live “like anyone.” Or “unlike anyone.” We all live our life somehow or the other and that is that. It has become a compelled creative necessity for me to be free enough to embrace the soul of my wild, as it should be yours, or in other words, be true to your genuine nature.

Do I have a “day?” Do I spend said “day” in a “place?” I should say, yes, but also no. I know these trees here. I know the birds here. I know the birds in fact, very well; there are precise pairs of a dozen different species—minus the crows—chirping in the immediate surroundings of my own expanse. I share this expanse with them freely, forming a natural balance. Then comes the owl, hooting & hollering away, always with something left to say. The harmony alone from the this balance gives inspiration to the idea of “home” as something I’ve yet to imagine.

As to the crows, they form part of a different pattern. They are strident and self-justifying, like man. They are not two, they are many, and they are brash with vulgarity. They fight amongst each other and the other birds in a constant state of war.

BE FREE

There is a ecological mental expanse too, a living balance of something oh so spiritual in this corner of my wild. There is room here for so much more besides that of the birds and the trees. Of compassion for instance, of hope, of positive energy, or, maybe even a sort of newfound essence, though, it is, more than likely, just the dry climate of myself, a half-assed poet with an arid promise.

And yet, there is also room for boundless love, whose climate is perhaps most suited for the climate in this corner of my woods, hot and humid, damn near smothering at times. It is a climate though that I feel doesn’t warrant the need for an explanation. At least not yet.

It is a good thing to find these feelings here, hidden in the depths of these woods, to hear these echoes ringing in my ears throughout this wild. But these echoes also choose themselves to be here in the presence of such silence. In any case, there is no lack of good feelings.

Yes indeed, solitude is cool. It is a self-sufficient feeling of low definition in which there is little to decide, in which transactions are few and far between, if not non-existent. There are no materials to be delivered, nor do I bundle up materials and deliver them to myself. There is no such anxious intensity. There is no give and take of questions and answers, problems or solution. Only contemplation. Problems begin down the hill. Under there over the rainbow at the fork in the road you will find the solution.

BE REAL

Here there are woods and wolves. Here there is no longer any need for rose-colored glasses. I gave those those to the woman who somehow healed this hand of mine awhile back. She needed them more than I. God bless her soul in more ways than one.

But “here” does not look to warm itself up with references to “there.” It is just a “here” for which there is no “there.” Yes, such solitude is cool, calm, collected, and now—to add to the cliche—much more clear.

Community though, that’s another story. Community as a whole is a fiery core. Hazy with words like “must,” “ought,” and “should.” Community is devoted to high definition projects—“making it all so clear!” The clearer it gets the more clarity must be had. It branches out. You have to keep clearing out the branches. The more branches you clear out the more branches grow. For each one you cut, back grow four or five more. On the end of each seared branch is a big burning, bright-eyed, and bushytailed question mark.

People are running all around with branches of questionable meaning everywhere in their own little smoky haze. Each to their own is very concerned and anxious to know whether or not the others have received the latest message. Has someone else received a message that they have not received? Will they be able to pass it on to them? Will they understand it when passed on? Will it be necessary to argue about it? Will I be expected to clear my throat when I stand up and say, “Well the way I look at things is…my way?”

See, the best thing to do with solitude is to play it cool, but today something is heating mine up. They keep thinking that you have a unique message. When they find out you haven’t…well, that’s up to their interpretation and worry. Not mine. I’m just out here warming up the engine in a world on fire.

-Ryan Love

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