“The Patch” is where we go in the fall. It is a little mountain, serene and fantastical in it’s paths and trails among the stands of trees. We went up to visit F in her little shack that was like a box on stubby stilts, a static wooden gyroscope above the untouched rock and dirt powdered slope on which it was built. The big shoebox had windows facing down the hill, and we sat on cushions among the wall hangings and drapes and looked out the windows as if they were screens. No, they are what screens are made from, they are not screens – this is life. We were out in it most of the time. This is ‘Nature’. The depth of the forest on the way down varied, and I could see deep little patches far off where squirrels and other woodland animals went about their business when all was quiet during the day. Sometimes far off you could hear a saw buzzing handsomely away near the woodshop, arguing with the stillness, panning in great sweeping echoes among the trees.
F lived there most of the year, doing research. There was a whole community who half lived, half worked on the compact little network of lodges and shacks centered in the sprawling hillside. F was stunningly beautiful, custom beautiful, they must have spared no expense in her gene pool, but she was also unique – a mold breaker. She dressed herself for the part too, more like a character from Arabian Nights than a bonified human. Flowing Harem pants and silky wraps, tasteful stones adorning her neck, a silk scarf tying up her luscious black hair. Her body was like a disney heroine, hourglass and plump with firm hips and bust of flowering youth. But I knew she was probably more than 60 years old … I had to remind myself that while I was with her, she could have passed for a teenager.
We were all talking together while we watched the picturesque crimson foliage, green orange red and yellow.
“Have you been to Space Camp?” I asked F
She laughed. “ Is that what you call it?” She said, “ Hmmm, I have been to the future, yes, if that is what you mean.”
“What’s it like?” We all wanted to know.
“Its dreamy” She said. “Its very different from here – It is inexplicable, that is why you need to go yourself – There are things I could try to explain but they would make no sense to you because you have no frame of reference, no experience base with which to compare it to, is what I mean. When do you leave?”
“December” I answered.
“It will change your life,” she said.
But later that afternoon changed my life too: We were lodging in cabins in the main family house. Me and L and one or two others were walking along the beaten dirt at the top of a hill when a large egg fell near us at the base of a tree. I picked it up it was blue and brown and grey mottled tone and about the size of a coffee table. The surface was not an even spheroid but was slightly bumpy and unevenly formed in places. It was also cold and solid, more like a rock than an egg. I walked with it a bit.
L said: “You shouldn’t touch it, it still might hatch, then the mother bird wont reclaim the young.”
I asked: “Do you really think its still alive?”
I sat it down at the base of a second tree, then on impulse picked it back up and returned it to the base of the original tree where it had fallen. It was big as a trunk. And it was cracking.
“Its hatching.” I said. I heard crackling sounds from inside it.
“What kind of bird is it?” L asked.
“I believe its actually a cat,” I replied.
I bent over and looked at the small hole, that it had exited, and then a sort of gash appeared in the whole thing, and I could see clear inside.
“In fact, there’s not just one, there’s … “ I guessed, “ … about seven cats and a couple dogs. I could, in fact see right into the interior where a more than adorable swarm of kittens sitting politely at attention, and yes, two little puppies had been printed complete with ribboned bows, fat little pooches, waddling about rubbing noses.
“Oh! I exclaimed, as they marched out of the egg into the open air. The girls, needless to say, were delighted – I was overwhelmed, I had never seen anything printed like this, it was more art than science. Who had printed this? L was obsessed with one little brown puppy that was waddling in circles tripping over itself at her feet.
“This one has a name!” She mewled. It had a collar, pink with a flexiglass window, under which was a cardboard, that said “F”.
That night I dreamed I was surrounded by cats.
Later, up on the hill, K leads our bunk in a rowdy Chant of Principle
He does Sensei’s voice, but as if shouting in battle, “I have found my way”
We conclude: “3 times and the fierce way.”
I do not lie because
“Being totally honest is being totally psychic”
I keep my house clean because
“Television causes brain damage”
I do not believe that
“Cigarettes were the greatest natural catasprophe of the 20th century”
But I do believe that
“Breathing is the only most important thing”
I do not fear because
“I am fear itself”
I have many bodies and many minds
“And fear is different to different people.”
I do not fear death because
“God is to see death in all places”
He nods his head.
We all crack up.