Ware tada taru koto shiru
Oh, those damned squirrels. The red oak that towers over our house has had some kind of fit of madness, and it has produced obscene numbers of acorns. I mean, like, pounds and pounds of acorns. I like to tell myself that all my writing in my upstairs garret has excited the tree and it's making hundreds of poems and essays and future oak trees of its own. Like we're in some demented creative duet. Don't critics call that The Pathetic Fallacy? Where you ascribe human attributes to things like trees and buffalo and turkeys and mountains? Well, I say: EMBRACE THE PATHETIC FALLACY. It might make us respect these things a little more.

But the squirrels! The squirrels can't believe the oak tree did what it did. Squirrels are coming from all over. However, the acorns, in bunches, in bundles, in whole bowl's-worths, are way out at the tender end of the thousand new branches the oak tree sketched into the sky in its frenzy. The raiders can't get out that far on the soft little twigs. So the freakin' squirrels have been biting off the ends of the branches and dropping them on us. It's raining leaf-bundles and acorns! It's a constant barrage! And there are so many acorns all over the lawn that you can't walk barefoot. Ouch! Crap! Hey! It's a minefield out there.

Then they squat on the lawn and eat nuts at ease.

I suddenly saw how one great oak could make a whole forest out of itself. What a revelation. One hearty (happy?) creator can launch a whole new landscape and ecosystem if allowed to create as it (she, he) is supposed to. That tree is trying to write new woods right here on my street. You can easily see the future, should something erase us all from our houses--little oaks rising. Our freaky turkeys settling in. The coyotes coming to eat the turkeys. The deer wandering up from 75th St. and eating the leggy wild forsythia. That oak is writing the first draft of an epic.

Last night, a raccoon got up there to chow down. Chayo, our intrepid Jungle Jane, treed him and cranked insanely on her LED hand-crank flashlight. He wasn't as thrilled to see her, I don't think, as she was to see him.

I'm between gigs. Back from Wisconsin, on my way to El Paso.

I was thinking about this Zen phrase. I'm not a Buddhist. But I love the Buddhist approach to life. How could you be a writer and not love Zen? Zen Buddhists? Zen Baptists!

Here's this phrase:

Ware tada taru koto shiru.

It means:


Act as if.


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