Monday, August 20, 2007
The Whispering Pitter Patter of Rain Upon the Forest's Living Leaves...
Er, not so much.
We live in a semi-forest. It's a bit of a greenbelt that has a singular purpose: to conceal a veritable warren of townhouse complexes, constructed when sustainability and community-centered eco-dense living were, like, totally in man (as well as hashish, Fighting the Man, and mushrooms of the magical variety).
It's pleasant to gaze at the forest, the paradise of nature at your doorstep. A deer and her fawn frolicking among the salmonberry, dew still clinging to their chestnut coats. Tall, majestic trees, giving the first hints of autumns approach. Perhaps a robin, bringing breakfast to her hungry chicks, wrinkled necks craning to the cooing of their mother.
Nature is nothing if not a delicate interplay of life and death, biomass being recycled, created, life in all its forms struggling to fruition, for survival, against all odds. It's also a great place to find out how many things find you simply delectable. If it doesn't bite you, sting you, or give you an embarassing rash, it doesn't belong in nature.
Living in a forest reminds you of just how miserable our ancestors had it.
But we forget this. We have posters of great big (cougar concealing) trees and (mosquito infested) lakes posted up in our cubicles. We forget the life our ancestors lived on the raggedy edge, meting out a subsistence living in which one could either die from a warring tribe, a carnivorous mammal who nobody had bothered to name yet (everyone was a naturalist back then, I'd imagine, and things were either "oh good, eat!", or "oh shit, run!"), or from say, an appendicitis.
Yet there are days when I realize how good I have it in my slowly rotting wood and drywalled box. This morning, at approximately Bloody Early O'Clock, I was reminded that I do in fact, live in a rain forest -- even if we don't call it such -- and sometimes it gets monsoons. The rain fell in, not buckets, no, that would imply there was some space between the falling droplets, it was more like a fire-hose God had turned on us riotous mortals, while giving serious thought to Releasing the Hounds.
In the city, it was almost pleasant. There were enough large acoustically deadening buildings to reduce the rain to a soothing pitter patter. In the forest, every single leaf is a Blaupunkt stereo, and I am the crotchety Eastern European neighbour who is just trying to make some pirogies in peace, damnit, why do you have to blare your music that sounds oddly like Niagara has been diverted to my backyard with the volume turned to eleven?!
It was knee weakening loud.
It brought images of old tribal gods being raised from the pagan dead to crash through the trees, and swallow me whole, their unspeakable hunger not unquenched, only reawakened to darker pursuits (yes, I've been reading some Neil Gaiman, why?)
One can absolutely understand why tribes believed in all sorts of deities linked to the weather. In that brief moment, as I stood in my carport, wielding my frightened umbrella , I kinda sorta didn't want to step out into the rain. And not just because I wouldn't be able to hear a semi-truck if it was two feet away.
It was the forest.
That them forest isn't all gummy bears and dewdrops. For a brief moment, I gave nature the deference, and yes, the fear, it so rightly deserves.