My country is burning up. Every day it feels like it might be the last day. The animal that is this blue ball has a fever. She is not a sphere, any more than my cat is a sphere when she curls like a comma…or a yin/yang symbol. We are mites under the skin of this animal, this beast that we call “the earth”. She is about to scratch us off.
I am fascinated by the image of Eden, and have written about it so many times, I can barely keep track. 1. Genesis is a secret, codified oral history of the mysteries of yeast and leavened bread 2. Genesis is a prophesy, not a history, and we are living it 3. “Paradise/Eden/Meru” are symbolic maps of the brain, spinal cord and nerve pathways, and the ubiquitous occurrence of the imagery is related to a nostalgia for pre-bipedal mankind and, hence, the womb.
Why should I be born into the generation that is facing extinction? That seems so unlikely, when you think of the probability. Does every generation face the threat of extinction? Or is this the conclusion to my own, private matrix? I sometimes drive down the road, and another car passes me, driving the opposite way, and I think: They could be me! (or I, them). I did think I actually saw myself passing about six months ago.
There is a ghost-cat living in my house. I do not tell you this just to sound woo. I have lived here for seven years. A few years ago, it started. I would lie down on my side to go to sleep, and something would press down on my side. I eventually moved my bed away from the door and made a barricade of pillows behind me. The pummelling stopped. About six months ago, I thought of getting a real cat. “I think there is a cat in your future,” wrote the lady from the cat rescue place. That night, a cat wandered straight into my lounge-room in the half-dark, walked straight into the corner of the room, and looked at me and walked out again. I went to the refuge and brought home my soul-sister. We live together under the skin of this fevered creature: this planet.
I had the eeriest feeling that it would be my grandmother on the other end of the phone, but, no! there was no one there. I told myself that some tele-marketer had probably dialled the wrong number. However, a kind of weirdness had penetrated my small home.
It was in the following weeks that I began to notice the birds.
Only days after the silent phone call, my sleep was broken by a call that could have been a human voice. It was a bird song that I had never heard before, and it was coming from the bush right outside my window. Ferguslie Park is one of those picturesque Scottish suburbs that hides a world of poverty and unhappiness. However, I’m lucky enough to have a small, triangular park next-door to my flat, and at the apex of my street. The dim light coming in at my window told me that it was one of those overcast, misty mornings that set in and stay until nightfall. I lay in bed, barely breathing, and mesmerised by the portentous call: “Wahu wahu wahu” it began, and then, “chuk chuk chuk chuk”, in a different octave. There was something horribly human about the call. Whatever bird it was repeated the song at precise intervals. And, then, adding to the strangeness, I detected a distant and faint reply. “Wahu wahu wahu”, sang the faraway spectre…“chuk chuk chuk chuk.”
I had been disturbed by birds that sounded like madmen conferring outside my window years before, back in Stockholm. I had stayed in the home of my friend’s mother, who was a psychiatrist, and had been woken by quite horrible bird conversations that almost sent me from my bed. Was it because I was staying in the home of a psychiatrist that I momentarily imagined lurching madmen outside that unfamiliar house?
You could say that I had merely been sensitised by the dismal landscape, the poverty and the gloominess of Ferguslie Park, but I could not deny that birds of all kinds were appearing throughout my days. And, of course,there was the blue heron that appeared one afternoon in that dismal courtyard.