I woke up a bit before 4:00 A.M., startled out of my sleep by a picture in my brain that I could not quite make out. I realized I was seeing tiny worms, and they were tangled together, not so many, but enough to see they were alive. I gasped in my sleep, feeling for my flashlight so I might shine more light on them in order to see. Then I realized it was a dream. I woke up, quite aware that I had been thinking on the powder post beetles I wish to annihilate in Pope’s old cabin, which is overrun with them.
I spent all day yesterday pricing materials. I purchased, on credit, 145.00 worth of stuff with which to tackle the refurbishment of Pope’s cabin. One minor expense was the lethal-sounding poison, Spectricide, which I determined might kill off the powder post beetles. I also purchased a mask that should help me survive the job of spraying the walls and floor of that cabin. When I got back home, I stashed all the goods in the locked tool room, decided I had done enough for the day and went home. I journaled about what I had done all day and then went to bed at 11:30 P.M., the earliest I have gone to bed in days. I have been dealing with a bit of insomnia, staying up until 5:00 A.M., crashing and getting up five hours later. It was not too difficult to get to sleep with the white noise of the fan. I knew I would need some good rest because the next morning I would be seeing a lot of folks at my young friend’s mother’s funeral, at the Boxley Baptist Church.
Well, the morning is here, and I am up after only four hours of sleep, trying to understand what life is about. I had a coffee with a piece of raisin bread smeared with the luxury item, Kerry Irish Creamery butter, which I bought yesterday (the first butter I have eaten in a month). I sat down and read a chapter from the book I call my “Bible,” A New Way of Living, which I opened randomly. The chapter was “Apocalypse,” written March 18, 1990, of Book 27.
My dream about the powder post beetle infestation made me recognize that I am concerned about using an insecticide on this land, even if it is a cabin. In 1994, when I signed on to be a participant with Windemere Farming & Experimentation, I agreed to never use any poisons out here. Granted, I have put tick and flea prevention on the dogs and cats, and have used a little bleach over the years, but I have never saturated any area with something as extreme as Sprectricide. Will I be killing anything more than beetles and termites? Will the cats and dogs be affected? Will this poison seep into the earth underneath the cabin and get into the water table? Will I be setting myself up for banishment from Windemere by using it? Will I die a horrible death in the future due to possibly breathing any of this poison? All these questions around death were working on me as I slept, and then that vision of worms startled me out of my sleep.
Obviously, I am having doubts about my decision to try to rescue Pope’s cabin. He left almost a year and half ago, and he appointed me, before he left, to clean up his mess, and whether he did that to punish me or because he believed I would do a good job, I will never know. What I do know is that it has been an all-consuming job for many moons, and now that the place is pretty much empty, I am making a concerted effort to restore it so that someone might have the option to stay there. Given all that has happened in the last month, with flooding, tornados, and hurricanes, my guess is that there might be someone who would really appreciate a roof over his or her head, despite how rustic it might seem. The chapter I read in ANWOL eased my angst about possibly killing anything more than insects.
“Life was and life will be. There is no apocalypse in which life departs without returning in some way, at some time, or in some place. And the catastrophe that has no meaning will not be found. Death, being the absence of life, is found only when the nature of the life that preceded it was of no further use. But the life that precedes every apocalypse only returns in another and more effective form, for I have created no life that shall forever die. In one way or another, each life will be justified by returning after the seeming defeat of every apocalypse.”
Nukayis, Ventris, A New Way of Living, March 18, 1990, Chapter 27, P. 395.
Granted, the word “life” applies primarily to that of humankind, in particular, the individual. However, the way I see it, everything is connected, thus my concern re the use of poisons and its possible effect on the surrounding environment. Yet, if Life is and always will be, why do I worry? When I was at the lumber company yesterday, trying to decide what to do about the powder post beetles in the cabin, a fellow who works there, sitting around waiting for the next job to do, was listening to me speak of my concern. He said, “Someone will be pushing the button soon, so none of it matters, right?” He went on to say that all the friends who had just graduated high school and had joined the army in the last year were all sent over to South Korea, and that this reinforced his belief that the “button will be pushed” soon.
So here I am, grappling with concern over whether or not I am spinning my wheels trying to fix up an old cabin, hoping it might be put to use by someone who appreciates it. It simply comes down to participating in Life, in each moment, making decisions, keeping an open mind and heart, and recognizing all the blessings, despite all those people sitting around trying to think of ways to oppress and control others. Letting go my fears of making a mess of things is the only way I can continue living. The other way down this road, where fear dictates my every move, sends me into depression and the desolation blues. Tired of being in that space, I choose to take a chance, to trust myself, to have some faith that all will be okay, that there is no beginning and there is no end. Life is and always will be. It all seems to be temporary, no matter how I look at it: short and temporary, with or without annihilation, life goes on.