Today I cut myself, for the first time. Slicing cucumbers, or red onions, or beets, and the knife slipped and cut my thumb instead, right above the nail. I put a band-aid on and tried to not get it wet, gave up while plunging the spinach in the cold water. Spinach has so much dirt, did you know? It comes from the earth covered in mud, like it was born there. Everything comes covered in dirt. I had to change the water three times, there was so much sand. And a ladybug, too. The roots of trees. Mycelium. Warblers. The whole living world. The spinach was interconnected with the whole living world, and I washed it away in the stainless steel sink, added olives from greece and too much lemon juice. Parsley from I don’t know where. I almost kept crying into the dammed spinach, grateful I was facing away, at the screen window that overlooks the gravel drive and the forest. My own little corner. A damp wooden countertop that collects water in the places where it’s warped. Made from trees that are part of the whole living world.
Somehow I fucked everything up today. I put too much lemon juice on everything. I bled through my bandaid. My stomach hurt. I saw the deer that sleep in the meadow next to my tent. They are waiting there for the tiny strawberries. They are only a little bit afraid of me. They make no noises when they walk, their big rectangular bodies taper down into tiny points, four of them, and the points make no sound. They twist their necks around and look at me. They don’t try and understand me. They don’t understand the universe. They’re just bewildered, looking for grass. Everything startles them. I wonder if it feels nice to be a deer. Maybe it is the same.
I realized that I can’t be angry about working so much and not being able to write. I can’t be angry at capitalism, or even civilization. I can’t be angry because last night in bed, reading Guns, Germs & Steel by headlamp in my tent, I learned that in order to support non food-producing specialists such as candle-stick makers, boat-builders and writers, a people must have excess food and the ability to store it. And to have these things, a people must have agriculture. And historically, the people who had agriculture were also the people who developed hierarchical social structures, colonialist appetites, and war. The more-or-less egalitarian peoples were always the hunter-gatherers, and they rarely had specialists. That is, everyone was more or less full-time employed with hunting and food gathering. So I can’t romanticize hunter-gatherers and wish I could just write full time at the same time. It’s because of hierarchical, colonialist douche-bags and agriculture that we have a written language at all.
It was sunny for a week, and now it is rainy again. Oh, this damp cloud-bubble that is the very edge of oregon. Why do I live here? Why not somewhere else? Why do the people I love live here? Why does anything happen the way it does? I am trying! I am trying hard to love this three-legged life. Sometimes I can’t believe that I exist, or how lucky I am. Other times all I can see is the enormous improbability of my own existence and the irreparably broken nature of this life and all life, even though we are all here, living. I am a wicked mortal, a human, impossibly flawed. I am ungrateful, I cannot appreciate anything. I want to transcend my own skin. I think I am better than everything.
Thoreau, bring me your woodshed. I want to be ready.