Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Ascent of Man - a prose poem

Silent streaming photons bathe the plant on all sides.  It lifts its head towards warmth and it breathes.  Tiny thrills of energy wave out along tender branching stalks and a sense of peace opens its internal pipes, throbbing with moistured nutrient earth particles.  It drinks carbon from the surrounding air, and extracts minuscule ionic trace minerals which knit the carbon into long flows of new form.  

The flower moves upward into air, day by day, and this day will be a good one.  Its body grows from thin air and sunlight upward into free space and outward, shading tiny ecosystems beneath its leaves where molds and insects live and farm their own domains, destinies intertwined.  It’s funny, but we humans don’t usually remember that organic growth is almost entirely from air and sun, free and clear of eco-nomic expert knowledge of proteins and fat. 

Our eco-sense is mostly some nonsense about fertilizers, after the fact, once removed through the flesh of others.  Yet, everything is given.  We did not invent the sun and the air, the grass that makes our beef, nor the bacteria that allow cows to digest that grass.  We grow independent of our thought, in spite of infantile wishes to remain small, dependent, fed, clothed, pampered by others.  

We gain stature and strength we did not ask for, but, once found, we revel and want more.  Our lofty minds, so fluid, automatically assume shapes from ancestral dreams we do not even know.  (By the time our minds discover ourselves, we have already lost them.)  And yet, we grow.  Our bodies drink air and the air that plants drank, water and the water that fell from that air eons ago.

We emerge upward, and climb and build and scale and challenge ourselves, each other.  This is how it happens, I guess: the games that hone skills become life work, of course, and the life work become games, deception with each other, ourselves.  So wrapped up in skills we forgot.  

We forgot how it is all given, a given that we did not create.  We grew out of thin air, after all, before we even knew it, and then we were there, playing with the pieces, stealing bananas from each other, at first perhaps for fun, but then in earnest.

Clouds form above the flowers, carrying virtual rain high across the heavens - it’s over our heads, that’s for sure - and then they vanish, all on their own, outside of our knowledge.  We can telephone for help, for fun, to annoy or to comfort, but we cannot telephone for rain.  Over our heads, clouds follow messages like virtual wires crossing the heavens, find special fields on which to pour their blessings with an inner eco-sensitivity foreign to us any more.  

We scratch our heads, looking up and down, how to manage this wild far field of moisture-bearing ether?  No?  Well then, we’ll dam the ground flows in concrete, taking and giving according to our own eco-sense of fair-play.  Damn it all, we have visions of power generated from these hijacked waters and we’ll sell it to the ground.  We have to mean something, don’t we?

The flowers have formed blossoms, attracted insect partners, and become full with pollen.  The bees have drunk and flown sluggishly back to their villages, full of treasure.  New seeds formed and petals blew away with the wind, in full maturity.  Tiny ecosystems bloomed below in molds and insects harvested for later need.  Man crouches where he was, pounding ground that is shifting beneath him.  He struggles to stand upright, suddenly discovering that schoolyard struts  are no longer adequate.  He must support his own full weight now.

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