Went for a hike with a friend who has a shit storm following him. He vows to read no sad books, see no sad movies. There's plenty enough death, disease and distress in his life as it is. Why add? Yet, he listens to my tale of woe. Sympathizes.
I tell him I like hawks. We look for them and he finds it interesting since his father was a bird expert and he misses his father. He thinks it a coincidence. Or not.
And so we look for hawks and talk about their perspective. We talk about boundaries. He has set boundaries firmly in place and I admire that. They make sense. All very logical. Where are my boundaries? Meditation provides connections but I'm afraid it's no help at all for setting up roadblocks or caution signs or borderlines. Everything becomes connected and lines of demarcation blur then disappear altogether.
He points out a hawk flying overhead. I look and look and look, but I don't see it.
I tell him I'll send him the Jack Gilbert poem I love best, "A Brief for the Defense." He says he won't read it if it's sad. I say it is sad, but it 's important. It's about how we must risk delight in spite of it all.
We finish our hike and I walk him to his car. He shows me a plastic hawk he's bought to thwart off the robin that's left layers of bird droppings all over the hood and bumper of his station wagon. It's a sad replica of an imperial bird. There's none of the majesty you feel when you see the enormity of the real thing, the way it makes you gasp and feel as if somehow something that is this terrible and this powerful makes something worthwhile even if you don't know what that something is.
I send him the poem even though I know he won't read it and even though his car is covered in bird shit and the plastic hawk has dead vacuous eyes forever void of delight.