I actually feel the wave just beyond my nose. Out on the firescape, this morning, I enter into the silent architecture of the Empress tree, which shades the courtyard, and sways back and forth, lulling me into the reveries, of a broken man, with thin boundaries. Just beyond my nose, through the rail of the firescape, covered in cracked, lead paint, I sniff the air. I act ‘as if’ the tip of my nose can touch the big, leaf, touch the deep crease, that runs down the center of the leaf, feel the trembling greenness. We have practiced on occassion, this kind of touch, what I would call a non-kinsthetic touch. Goethe called this way of knowing an alternate to the linguistic, and a new kind of organ of perception developes as we search for the archetypal plant.
And I wonder, fool that I am, if I could tune more deeply, as a musician does, right before the conductor, does the first down beat. And lo and behold, as my nose overlaps with the big leaf’s size and shape…something lovelier happens…a monarch butterfly swoops between the branches and the leaves and dances in a wide mobius strip shape about the length of my body and then flies off.
A bit of history. This Empress tree, with her purple flowers in Spring and her large nuts, is about seven years old. Forty years ago an old Ailanthus ( aka Skunk tree) grew up and died in the same spot. I mourned the loss of that old Skunk tree for a dozen years and then forgot about it. So, presence of the Empress helps me remember that loss, even as I rejoice in her maturity, for she reaches up to my fifth floor apartment. Each day and night the chi flows between us. If this be but a vain believe that is okay with me.
On a philosophical note. Misreading Kant. I imagine that my mind, which is modulated through the Empress tree, the monarch butterfly, the fly that tickles my hand, the happy-sad guy that I am, this ensemble is real, the real thing in itself. We are the real thing. And if this is just an idle dream, please don’t wake me up.
I would gladly draw a picture of this but I haven’t got a scanner. That is why, when on a live call, I should just find a logical argument, I show a sketch instead, to the consternation, perhaps, of my comrades. I mean no disrespect, I just hear something else, beneath and beyond, our roof brained chatter.
I still recall the smell of that old Skunk tree. It was not a pleasant smell, but earthy and funky. Have a fondness for that funky smell.