What is real? Is it the conversation I am having with someone as I deeply sleep, where I am explaining my plight in this existence to someone who might actually care, or am I simply talking to myself? That is no different from my sitting here writing to myself. I am having a hard time figuring out things, this life I live, the lives we all live, although I seem to have very little to do with anyone else.
I get up out of bed and put on my headlamp. At two A.M. I put new batteries in it, as it kept turning off as I made my way downstairs; this morning, at nine A.M., the light coming through the windows is darkened by the rain-filled clouds, a gentle patter of raindrops hitting the roof. Jigga, the big male cat, seems to want my attention, so I bend over him and shine the light on his fur. He has some fleas. I roll him onto his back and check his belly. Parting his fur with my fingers, I work my way towards his tail and suddenly he squirts a little bit of cat bile. Damn! He must have some sort of ailment, probably parasites. I wipe his butt with a plastic bag I see in the straw trash bin. I go downstairs.
The headlamp shines brightly on everything. It is as though I am seeing all the filth in this cabin for the first time: the film of grease left on the stove top around the sauté pan I used last night to stir-fry the vegetables I ate, the mold that has been developing on the back of the buffet I currently use as a counter-top, drawers facing out toward the “living room.” I see it is taking over so I get a sponge I just recently started using for dishes and mentally release it for cleaning duty, pouring a bit of Clorox bleach onto it. I wipe at the surface that is covered in mold, rinse the sponge and then wipe down the surface once more. I wipe up the greasy film on the stove top, musing at how the mice seem to no longer be around. Still, when I go back to the sink and run water to rinse the sponge, the sink looks like it needs a good scrub. I think about my friend’s home that is always so tidy, so efficient, and has all the amenities: running hot and cold water, an actual bathroom with a bath, shower, toilet and lavatory. I ask myself how much longer I can live this way, without the “normal” amenities. I feel myself getting emotional and counter it with the thought suggested by Jiddu Krishnamurti that when one cries or weeps about ones situation or circumstance, one is simply putting off seeing the truth, avoiding it. This morning I am seeing the truth. I live in a filthy environment that has never met the standards of my childhood up-bringing. I have lived this way far too long, yet I see no way out, short of leaving this place.
I look out of the windows at the damp forest that surrounds this cabin. I am aware that the soil is crawling with life, that the trees are supporting all sorts of life, including poison ivy vines that are everywhere. Perhaps this is why, for the last twenty years, I am able to live in my “live” environment of this cabin, which would turn the stomach of anyone who cleans their home regularly. I know that I am just one more organism existing here, part of something much larger, over which I have exercised little control. Instead, it is as though I have merged with it, become one with the bacteria, the microscopic life that is everywhere, including my kitchen sink. Who that I know lives this way, other than those scraping through life with barely any shelter, if any at all? Were I living in Guatemala, I might actually feel wealthy, for I would probably adapt to whatever method the people there use to have water.
I know it is all relative. I know I am here for a short while, a blip in time, and that I chose to be here. When my time is up, I will leave this body and it will either burn to ashes with cremation or it will go into the earth and be devoured by the teeming life that is everywhere. Yet, “I” will still be here, there, everywhere, most likely free of any concept of time and space. When I go to bed at night, I wonder if I could consciously leave this dimension and stay gone, releasing any attachment to this body, this life as I know it. Recently, one night, I sensed the presence of something, and I turned my back on it, telling myself I could not deal with it. It may have been nothing, but on the other hand, it was a reminder that this “going to bed” bit is just part of the great illusion of my life, that what is “real” is just waiting for me, until I am ready to face it.