If I could return to the womb I would.
The world started with a heart and a mountain and in that first beat time stopped. It was the closest we got to heaven.
Some mornings when I wake up and get out of bed I can feel the ghost of it on my back and it makes me feel like Atlas struggling under the weight of the sky. If we are all Titans, who did we fight? What did we lose? Is life our punishment? Is our self awareness?
I carry my mountain with me, imagining the peaks and caverns and little streams that run down my back. No one can see me carrying my mountain. It is my life. It is everything and nothing.
Jack Kerouac said that we are everything and nothing. That we are the golden eternity. One of my teachers told me I was the “golden eternity” a couple of weeks ago.
You said that Jack Kerouac was an asshole. I didn’t talk to you for three days. The weight lessened.
If anybody could tell me about the Golden Eternity it would have been my uncle. My Grandma carries his ashes around in a teddy bear. I’m not certain, but I think she knows too.
I never really knew my uncle, but I’d like to think he’d believe in spirit animals. He wouldn’t be the asshole my mom says he was. He’d say, “I don’t pretend to know anything about nothing,” and chuckle.
He’d tell me that in the beginning we were all animals but different than the animals of today. That we were dire wolves and short faced bears before there were knives and guns, before there was war. There were chorus frogs, whistling hares, and coydogs. We were coydogs.
“We were golden bears,” he’d say.
We would explore the world together.
I know a bear, a fox, and a wolf, and they are all my friends.
When I dream of animals, I dream that they are attacking me.
I dream of wolves and of cats. I dream of cats mostly. I dream of bobcats and of mountain lions. A mountain lion is supposed to represent danger, aggression and raw emotions.
When I go hiking with my parents in the Appalachians we always joke about mountain lions. My dad will chuckle and explain how they track people and strike, even though we already know. I will carry a walking stick just in case.
In my dreams I always break their jaws with my hands. In my dreams I always kill them. The bobcat I killed, I had to kill twice.
I have a tattoo of a deer skull with roses on my right arm. It is now my favorite part of my body.
When I was younger, my spirit animal was a mountain lion. It meant that I was stubborn and would stand behind my beliefs no matter what and that I was happy.
The Zunis charged the mountain lion with the duty of carrying messages from humans to the higher spirits because of his power. He was the link to Mother Earth and Father Sky. He was happiness. He was strength.
He knew about the mountains on our backs.
When I first started college, my spirit animal changed to a sparrow and then to a deer. The power of deer is supposed to be in love. It’s in gentleness, grace, and appreciation for nature and for balance.
This past December I saw four bald eagles. One flew right over me at a big intersection back home. I started to doubt the power of the deer.
I like to pretend that the four bald eagles I saw were a present from Saint Therese, a little acknowledgement of her eternal love.
Saint Therese, above us all, showers us with roses from her gardens in the sky. She pours them on all, from the beggar and the bum to me in my humble apartment to you, whoever you are. I don’t pretend to know anything about nothing.
She loved us all.
My favorite thing about Buddhism is all the pretty words: samsara, nirvana, satori, sandhyabasha.
I believe in karma and I believe in knocking on wood. I believe in finding lucky pennies.
In New York they have something called “sidewalk diamonds” because of all the cars that get broken into. When the sun rises and the light catches the broken glass it shines like diamonds on the pavement.
My old roommate got her car broken into twice, because she was careless. She lost 500 bucks once that way. They took her purse. She deserved it.
I had the toughest year of my life last year. I spent most of it wondering what I had done to earn me such bad karma. I narrowed it down to two possibilities.
It was either because of my habit of turning found pennies from tails to heads, that way somebody else would get the good luck and I would absorb the bad.
Or because I was such a heartbreaker in middle school.
When I grow up I want to be a mountain man.
And live in an A-frame house in the middle of the woods.
I will no longer be afraid or feel heavy. I will find a home for my mountain.
I will spend my time drinking tea and making friends with the animals.
I will find satori.