This morning I took a shovel
and a roll of toilet paper and allowed the cabin door to slam behind me, a song
that is peculiar to this door, this cabin, this home. Home is what I
contemplate as I walk away with my shovel. If I lived here full time, would I
go each morning to the same place so as to minimize my impact, my contribution
to the soil, or would I try to spread it around so as to distribute the impact
over a big area? Not everyone contemplates the impact of their morning soil,
but they should.
We are creatures of habit and I
am walking to a place I've been before--soft sandy soil, handy big rocks for
leaning the shovel, handy small rocks for piling, shade. My contemplation is interrupted when I see a macabre sight at my feet.
A dead lizard lying on his
back, spread-eagled as if he'd been crucified there in the dirt, an eerie human
quality to his blue-bellied appearance.
Two arms, two legs with knees,
tilted head and jaw, vulnerable torso--only his elegant tail marks him as not
of my same family. Only, some days I could swear I have a tail. A phantom
appendage that swishes behind me as I walk.
Three ants have already
discovered the scene of death--his ended walk upon the desert is their morning
treasure, too big to drag back to a hill.
So now I am no longer
contemplating waste and impact but death and tails and art. I want to end this
morning routine and go back through the noisy door for my camera. If I
photograph the dead lizard--posed as he is in the sand, plus ants--is it art or
is it macabre? Is it a morbid documentation not fit for Instagram? I should
spare other eyes and sensibilities the Amy-mind.
Or is it art--a fascination
with what will be gone by midday into the cycle of heat and hunger and
janitorial sustainability? Or is it one organism's contemplation of what is
nasty, unacceptable, gross, unclean, sad, negative, to be avoided,
A friend mentioned, "Many
writers sit over in the corner of life, taking notes, rather than being active
participants." Since I sometimes write reviews, I replied, "Then I
don't want to read those books."
My fellow writers, I hope for you a day job that feeds your
passion, even if it keeps you a little hungry…One that allows you to hike
trails and see the sunrise if you crave the out-of-doors, one that allows for
hours of fascinating conversation if your pen bleeds human nature, one that
smells of old books and wood floors if you lean toward antiquity and
melancholy, one that takes you to exotic beaches juxtaposed with poverty if you
need adventure and orange starfish. I hope that it lends itself to
contemplation--those long stretches of time when a writer is living life and
aching for a pen, fermenting old experiences down beneath the new. A job that
allows for passionate reflection of art and excrement.