Things have to be maintained. This winter afternoon, it is almost sunset; the quiet blue skies of today gradually flushing palest rose. Our laundry is still hanging on the line. In a matter of minutes the dew will begin to fill the air. To get it the driest possible, I need to go now to fold it and fetch it in.
The fire in the woodstove is sinking low, just embers now. I must top it up – and that will empty the woodbag that I filled yesterday. I must take it out to the woodpile and refill it.
Everything flows on and nothing stays the same. Everything has to be watched over, maintained. Dust falls even in the emptiest room. The hearth I swept this morning is covered with ashes. The newly-stocked woodpile is already diminishing. The day is fading; time to light the lamps.
Night falling fast. When I go to fetch the laundry, the crows are waiting in the ash tree for their supper. I fetch them a bowl of fish and set it out on the ground where they like to feed, but by the time I’m back to the laundry line the fox is there already – he must have been watching and waiting for his supper, hungry this cold night.
He eats the fish as I take down the laundry, folding and piling it into the basket. When I’m done I go in for his kibble – which I hadn’t put on the crows’ food, obviously. I take out a bowl of kibble for Foxy, and take a second bowl of fish to put high up on the roof of Komorebi, so the crows actually get some supper. Foxy, waiting timid behind the birch trees, loses his nerve as I come so close, and rushes away, bumping his nose on the corner of Komorebi’s wooden wall.
The crows watch in the ash tree. They aren’t used to their food being put out on the roof, so they come down to their usual patch on the ground and pick hopefully at the kibble. They can’t make much of it. So I take out a third bowl of fish. Frightened, they fly away. They watch for a while in the ash tree. Then the sun goes down.
Even so, I know Foxy will be back for the kibble and extra fish, and I have no doubt the fish on the roof will be gone by tomorrow morning.
Life is full of gift and opportunity, some we take and some passes us by; everything moves on and nothing stays the same.
I notice that as I cease to feed the contacts of human society, people lose interest, the wake closes behind the ship. For a while I am remembered, then forgotten. My face is forgotten quickly, and then my name. Like a disintegrating autumn leaf I crumble into the past, no longer a part of how things are.
It can be hard to keep my nerve and let it go, make no bid for continued inclusion. But I value solitude and peace. Crowds send me into shock. I am becoming a crow, a fox, a sunset.