Even in heaven death reaches for us, but we continue to want identity. At which point are we prepared to go entirely without meaning? The cellular activity of our physical being resonates, is fragmented, is atomized, and energy does not die; it transforms, scientists say. They inform that water is a finite amount, forever shifting and transmuting, but quantifiable. So too for energy; it cannot be destroyed, only transmuted; a form evidently made changeable. So too then of the energy of a dead bird seen betwixt me and paradise? Will its 'being' now be given more lasting significance thanks to the possibility that these words may resurrect its having once existed?
My paradise was immediate. 'Point No Point' is an actual place on the West Coast of
Vancouver Island. The restaurant there with its clusters of cabins alongside the tree laden cliffs overlooks the grandeur of the pounding Pacific Ocean. And on the mist laden afternoon of December 21st, 2013, at the prime location of the corner table with nothing but glass window panes between me and the almost audible sea, way down below, there is a feeling of being on cloud nine. Until I looked through the glass, just below my window, at the floor-level ledge, and there was this dead bird. Blackened already, and rotting, it entirely suffused me with a sense of 'ugh!' But I said nothing. I did not draw my wife's attention to it. I tried not to let it distract. Why spoil my wife's birthday celebration? Why bring such an ugly image into such a pleasant day? But it has haunted me, that image. Death and rot and pain and disease attend our pleasantries. We are best to integrate them. Heaven, to be almost sure, will not be all it is cut out to be.
Overexcite-ability is a Dabrowskian term for the hyper-sensitive, especially when still a child, and not yet sophisticated enough to process, integrate, or respond with both intellect and emotion to the vagaries of life. A child may be highly superstitious, see omens and portents in the slightest of events, and refuse to get aboard the plane when the sighting of a dead bird en-route has provoked a deep and atavistic reaction of other-wiseness. So too for many an adult. The significance of events is almost directly related to the self; endemic symbolism is placed specifically 'there', by a universal power, in a solipsistic intuition of immediacy and accountability to the self; or larger, the self in the group. Life is all about me! And that dead bird had bashed up against the window at some point in time precisely to be seen by me in order to be immortalized on this page. Or not? At any point, there at Point No Point, I was distressed in that moment, and found myself processing the overcoming of the advent of death so near to my other sense of being in paradise. It easily could've spoilt my day. Certainly, I struggled to dismiss it from lunch.
Reflecting (ha!), I saw the bird as having nothing to do with me, specifically. It was as natural a process as dead butterflies found in the car's grill after a journey. At what point do we not assume responsibility? Birds all over the world bash up against window panes. Perhaps we should hang ribbons from every ease-trough? Creatively thinking (ha!), I could imagine the bird's partner or offspring pining for the non-returned. Many a bee brings home a story to tell about reeking from falls into summer afternoon beer. Many an ant has relayed being blown away by a giant's breath. And what of the mice I used to catch in the live trap? What a story told of transport in a cramped steel space-ship doing a great jiggle-distance on some giant pedalling contraption just to be joggled free into some far off field. Ha! As adults we teach children to be kind to snails, slugs, spiders, and creepy crawlies everywhere. Our Paradises are full of them.
Point No Point is an earthly paradise. Its restaurant, food, cabins, and setting is sublime. But it too, as of 1952, intrudes on nature. Our cities, our subways, our towns and our very beings are all part of that same energy, nature, transformed, transmuted, and given reference, point by point. But at the bashing up against the glass, for that bird, by these words, perhaps there is now no longer a natural 'nevermore'. Point made? Or is there really no point? Death takes all.