I recently walked with a couple of men in the Glen where I grew up when one of them said “I forget how lush it is here, so verdant.” Yeah, I know, besides NPR ads, nobody uses “verdant”, except the Glen brings it out of people. It is verdant and lush. It’s an isolated jungle in every way except for the lack of tigers.
|Brian's idea for a diarama on the mantle.|
Apparently it's mandatory to have an actual smoking volcano
The Glen is bordered by the river and hidden from the world by high shale cliffs. Rain falls and gets trapped in a microclimate of humidity. The river jumps its banks and leaves rich deposits on the soil, and things grow excessively. Lush. Verdant. More green than green usually is, with more flowers packed per square inch and more oxygen than anywhere else.
It’s no wonder that I grew up as a feral child. I spent my days discovering secret things hidden in the unlimited, uninhabited woods. I was happy surrounded by flowers and leaves and trees with the water constantly gurgling and rippling and the plethora of birds and bugs and whatever else hiding in my jungle.
In my adult life, I knew someone who insisted thought isn’t possible without words. He couldn’t understand my childhood where there wasn’t anyone to talk to, and no reason to put my observations into words. I absorbed, I looked, I felt -- I just was. When the crows called a warning, I understood their intent as clearly as if someone said “watch out!”, and I conveyed my thanks with the feeling in my heart.
Sometimes people tell me I belong in Los Angeles or New York, as if all artists belong shoved into a cityscape. They dismiss from mind the long line of artists who sought solitude in their own jungles and don’t understand that I can’t hear my own mind when surrounded by the masses in the concrete jungles.
Spending my days as a child with animals for companions taught me different ways of feeling and communicating than regular kids growing up with people around. I’m empathic; I feel what other people feel without really taking their words at face value. People lie to themselves and others all the time, but their feelings can be felt if you listen. Sometimes getting bombarded with all those feelings is too much for me. No, I don’t belong in those big cities.
I thanked a woman for working that event I hosted. She smiled and said “You’re welcome.” It didn’t matter what her words were, I knew she was sending invisible poisoned darts my direction. I smiled and moved on. I can’t change her feelings, and the situation is too complicated to explain here, but I think there’s a big gap between her feelings and her mind, and if you ask me, feelings always win even if the mind doesn’t acknowledge that reality.