Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Don't feed the animals
Just got back from a backpacking trip in the Trinity Wilderness. Here's the lake we camped at deep in the Klamath mountains- spring fed, clear and cold. The mosquitos were rough at sunset so I kept the incense burning.
One night, a brazen young doe approached our camp and fed quietly on nearby mosses. Then she made eye contact and approached further until she stood within ten feet of me. As she craned her neck out and sniffed the air, we realized she was expecting to be fed. She must make these round every night to the campers, and judging from her behavior, she makes out all right on this welfare system.
I finally stood up and told her to go away. It would have been a sweet moment, but I don't want any part of domesticating the wildlife of the Trinity Wilderness. By feeding the deer, we make them dumb.
While this was happening, I suddenly remembered a dream I had about six weeks ago in which a deer approached me to eat. In the dream, I held out an apple and the deer munched it quickly. Then it transformed into a translucent red glowing scorpian and finally into a kokopeli insect figure that played its own probiscus like a flute while the sounds of classic jazz piano filled the night. I'm not making this up.
Despite this experience, I decided that feeding the deer in real life was not an appropriate way to honor this dream. There is no simple parallelism between waking and dreaming life, despite our hopes. What is good for the deer in my dream is ultimately harmful for the deer in consensual reality.
Besides, I didn't have an apple.
The zoo-like spell of this "wilderness" lake is our own creation. My fascist environmental self gnashed its teeth and beat the drums as I contemplated making a sign that read "Don't feed the animals!" That attitude doesn't help either - now I'm the zoo-keeper!
That's all from the western edge of the empire this week. Stay tuned for further adventures in wilderness trangressivity and smooth jazz.