By H.J. Cruz
Although it has been years I remember it with crystal clarity.
I was out checking grades on a large parcel of land we were developing, making sure we were not illegally extending our boundaries; not wanting to upset the preservation people. It felt good being back in land development and soon after mass grading I would be getting started on the sales models and then all hell would break loose.
It was a beautiful piece of land, overlooking the bay with a large outcropping of mature forest flanking the windward side. As I stood at the edge of the newly tamed soil admiring the view, I noticed a vague outline of an old path that entered the dense forest. I had time to kill and often loved to explore outlying amenities and began to stroll down. After fighting the thick underbrush for half the length of a football field I decided I’d had enough. As I turned something caught my eye; barely visible was what appeared to be a roofline off in the distance. My curiosity peaked and I once again found a slightly down trodden path that descended to a holler a good twenty feet below grade, but there in the shadows lurked a most amazing edifice unlike anything witnessed in these parts. It resembled something out of Robinson Crusoe with its towering thatched roof overrun with vines cascading from every direction. It was entirely open on one side while the back wall was a rock outcropping with small lofts strewn about, the main support poles were what appeared to be bamboo, which made absolutely no sense at all, nor did the reed floors. I felt elated with my discovery as I walked the large deck. Then suddenly I was over come with an eerie bout of deja-vu. This wasn’t the fleeting kind, it actually got stronger with each passing moment; I had been here before I was sure of it. Where and when didn’t register.
I became startled by a rustling sound from above and took two steps back, my pulse quikened when I saw something; a figure bobbing around in the top loft. Someone or something inhabited this place and I was intruding. I waited silently as a large hairy figure began descending down a vine. I was overcome with the urge to run but my feet wouldn’t budge. I stood transfixed with fear the-the “orangutan”? Now stood staring at me, brooding with one hand on the vine and the other pounding the reed floor as if to make a statement. He had a head full of grey hair and scars littered his body.
Once again this eerie deja-vu reconvened, and at that moment my fears were replaced with emotions; I knew this beast! Tears ran down my cheeks and I found my arms opening as if to embrace a long lost brother. Now he recognized me and began to howl repeatedly and jump up and down, he ran towards me. We embraced with the passion of a mother and her lost child. But he just as suddenly jumped back and started screaming and quickly returned to his loft continuing to scream, occasionally looking down at me.
I was stunned and hurt by his actions, but soon realized that it must have been my scent; I reeked of everything he came to fear and loath in his life. I was no longer like him, but one of those who took and took without mercy and was now knocking at his door with large steel machines that were destroying his way of life. My God, I was his nemesis! NO! I wailed. All the while knowing it was too late, the damage was done, and my aching heart shattered.
I awoke in a cold sweat, it was 3:30 a.m. and my heart was pounding. I have had profound dreams before but never had I been so rattled, so emotionally upset; it took hours before I could gather myself enough to enter the event in my journal. As I sat with pen in hand, still reeling from the episode that had taken over my psyche. I felt drained as if I had an emotionally charged battle, and I knew this wasn’t some guilt complex playing out from years of field work, for it had been years since walking away from that life after it took its toll on my body and conscience. I thought it to be a message of great magnitude and sought to find the metaphor behind the madness.
I had heard of what some referred to as Earth dreams, a communication from the earth spirit herself and wondered if that’s what it was. I wondered if we had strayed so far from the loins of creation that she did not recognize us anymore. I felt rage, contempt and helplessness. We were the keepers of all that was once good; the wise ones that understood the necessity of balance of all the once proud and plentiful species. We took their trust, butchering them like cattle and starving them into oblivion.
I knowingly sit and do nothing, no letters to congress, no donations to save the whales, no campaigns into rebel strongholds to chastise starving gorilla eaters. I have been corrupted by a mindset, disenfranchised of my true essence. I pay bills to institutions of apocalyptic ruin while surrounding myself with material that barters the life blood of creation. I am a 21st century snake oil salesman, conning the rug from under my feet. I sit in prescription parks and eat migrating salmon out of a can as I watch steel birds spawn powdery webs across sorry skies. Am I a man, or am I a cancer, a plague, a virtual reality living in a manufactured environment.
But no, I will not capitulate!
Now I see me as he who’s gone before; A Henry David Thoreau living a life of civil disobedience, tucked away in the mountains, in a habitat ect out of the wood. Trying to raise consciousness before a hell raising; trying to recapture a lost scripture. A quest to find quality save quantity, what-what-what! What’s a corrupt man to do?