A Conversation with the “Old Ones”

The problem with being among humans so long is that sooner or later you start to act like one. The old ones knew that. Of course, they never really envisioned what this world was to become. Being able to maintain our different species into isolated communities is a luxury we just no longer have in a world population of this size. Blending by necessity had its own repercussions, our bloodlines are all mixed now, so many don’t even know what they carry in their DNA.

We are not hard to find, we are there in the stories of humans from time immemorial. Sometimes as angels, mostly as demons. You would think that they had enough angels and demons in their own histories not to romanticize our existence into legend. I guess our longevity made our own monsters seem more frightening than theirs. Lets face it, some of us are monsters and we have long enough personal histories to know how to manipulate things. Its easier to see history’s nature if you experience it long enough.

And we have no better success at controlling our rogue elements that they do. The proof is in our Politics, where it always has been. Yes, I use the collective “our” for that’s where the best and the worst of all Earth’s inhabitants always end up inextricably intwined.


You either “get it” or you don’t when it comes to that.

I suppose I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Mayhap if you know more about me, you will understand better.

I am a wild thing.

I always have been, long before I understood what blood I carried. I was a little girl losing her shoes to run barefoot, scenting the air and feeling more akin to animals than people so much my parents called me exactly that, “Wild animal.” I had no fear of being alone in the water or the woods, they never understood that I wasn’t alone. Don’t get me wrong, I and most like me are truly gregarious creatures, but we also need solitude and connection with nature to keep our balance. Chances are, most of the huggy types you know carry our blood. We tend to want to roll around in the scent and soul of people we meet, for we feel the unconditional love of “sameness” at a molecular level. In a different mood, you also may see us as the quiet one, just watching the show of interaction without comment. Empathic sense can be overwhelming in a crowd and watching people lie and mask what they feel becomes draining.

One of my girlfriends who was mostly Native American could feel it. Indigenous Americans are probably our closest human relatives. They too are of nature, rather than in it. I know, I carry that blood too, apparent in my skin and dark hair.

We were teens, out in a rowboat on a small lake in Northern Michigan.

I was very quiet, an unusual state for any teenage girl. She asked what I was doing, if something was wrong. I looked at her bronzed face dappled by the reflected sunlight, trying to sense if she wanted my real answer, or an excuse.

Her clear eyes shone with love, concern for me.

I chose to answer her truthfully, “Listening. What do you hear right now?”

“Birds, the wind in the trees.”

I asked her to isolate a bird cry, and try and figure out if it was singing alone, or if another was answering it. Soon, she isolated and found the mating pair of cardinals, smiling like a child discovering a new toy. “They are talking to each other!”

“Ok, tune out the birds and wind, whats underneath that?” It took a moment, but soon she heard not only the little waves lapping the aluminum boat, but heard them individually, heard a fish jump, heard the water. Then came the hard part.

“Go quiet” I said, “what do you hear beneath all that, underlying all the top noises?”

“Silence,” she said.

I answered, “Not exactly, what is the sound in that silence?”

“Crickets?” she asked, incredulous, “in the daytime?” There was a long pause.

“No. Wait.” she added, “Its kind of a cross between quiet crickets and the hum of those huge powerline things when you are underneath them. Its a quiet pulse, vibrating sound.”

She looked absolutely amazed. “Yeah,” I answered, “Thats what I was listening to. Its the sound of life, of everything, what your people call the heartbeat of the Earth. Thats what I was doing.”

Once you hear that, you can do no harm. Once you hear that, you always need to, to remind yourself what you are in this world. Every noise, every voice in this world only exists within that sound.

Only those who have never heard it, or heard it and refuse to listen again turn. It happens, has always happened. You see, everything within that is a circle, intertwined loops and nothing that happens happens outside of that sound. Everything anyone does effects the whole.

With that in mind, the sheer fallacy of species, tribes, divisions is absolutely ludicrous to us. You cannot make war on anyone, you are making war on yourselves, us all, the everything.

This is not to say there are not individuals who may or may not carry the power of our blood into heinous actions. This has happened since the first being that threw a rock at another in anger. The most evil has been wrought on our system in the name of justification used by those individuals to exploit others into believing violence has to happen for safety. In the end, those individuals really are just trying to gain power for themselves. Those with long enough memories know how to ride the cycles of human empires, and always hope to catch a crest; then disappear when the fall comes. They manipulate what you see.

Almost anyone can do that. With their words, their images, their writing of legends. Lets face it, everything is legend eventually anyhow.

Of course, there have always been individuals who fight these “monsters” too. They try to break those veils of perception. They try and show the false pretenses of preventative attacks, or military solutions. They try and wake up your humanity, or other blood.

Which brings me to another story.

There was a man I knew in my early 20’s, a time when my connectedness was ebbed low by the routine mundane existence of living in a human society. The wish to connect more was always in the edges of our eyes, but the timing was always wrong. I didn’t know then, why the draw, and we didn’t see eachother for over ten years.

In my mid 30’s, I was quite tuned back in, having reconnected with the lines of the world.

I walked up onto the upper deck, a nice tiki type bar overlooking the water. It would be a perfect day, except for the still oppressive heat. I leaned on the railing at the top of the ramp, half hidden behind a silk palm and saw him there standing a few steps away from the small reunion of friends from my past. The long slow pull in my navel was both utter human desire, and a deeper thing. I drank him in, hidden with my own thoughts, from the curl that would not be tamed to his sandals.

Then he looked up and caught my pleasured gaze, and I glanced away to quickly mask it without blushing, and rather blankly held my hand up in the universal sign of “wait.”

I stepped unnoticed by my friends through the bistro tables along the railing, and stood looking out to the water, like a tourist. I lifted my hands up and pulled, just a little, avoiding pulling too hard and getting that initial gust that would attract attention to me. I looked to all the world like I was lightly fanning myself. As the breeze twisted through the patrons, one could almost hear an audible sigh of blessed relief.

I turned then, and returned his look of bewilderment with an utterly casual smile, walking up to my table and greeting them. “When did you get here?” I answered pointedly, “Just this second!”  After doing the greet-greet routine of passing out hugs and kisses, I stepped toward him and the bar to get myself a beverage.

He followed, predictably. “How did you do that? The wind thing?”

“Heh.” I gave an amused side glance, “Wrong question. Somewhere you already know that one.”

“So, the right question is?”

“The wind was the easy part,” I ran my fingers through my short black hair, “The hard part was making it invisible to everyone but you.”

He looked around for a minute, pondering, you could see him realize I had done exactly that. His face suddenly brightened with that male ego preen, and his retort was pointed, yet given with humor. “Better question, just for me? Why would that be?”

“Don’t flatter yourself, boy.” I replied too quickly, embarrassed, trying to pretend that first moment of our second meeting ever hadn’t happened. “You need to remember who you are, that’s all. You have things to do yet.”

The rest of the evening was the nice chatter of a friendly reunion. I went home alone.

Now think of people who are powerful, using that masking ability to do things solely in their own interest. Think of them manipulating information to make you believe that what they are doing is righteous at best, harmless at the very least.

I have lived a long, long time, and watched as all our species keep facilitating a repetitive history. I can only hope that the mixing of our bloods can make us all hear the song of the World. It is our only hope you know.

I hope people quit blaming each other, or buying the excuses that mute the sound, make it cry instead of sing. I see society’s renewed interest in the angels and demons. The shapeshifter stories, the fascination with vampires. These legends always resurge when the evil few are creating another collapse. Its a cycle, it is history repeating as so many fiddle with the entertainment and forget that legends are merely written for the morals of their stories. Or written as distorted histories of what hasn’t worked so far.

I sit here in my elderly body, amused by the fact that by the mere living of the human existence, I have let this machine turn to mush, when inside, I am still a sleek, strong animal. Why did I let that happen? The food, the cigarettes, the television, the social requirements. I can still feel what its like to ruffle my feathers against the rain, remember how to breathe underwater, and stretch out and pound my hooves in the sheer joy of speed. I remember too, how to dance, hold a baby, make exquisite love. Not that I do any of that anymore. I am still, however a wild thing at 80. I hear us all in the one. I belong to this Earth.

 photo old-woman-toad.jpg

I lied about the different species, you know. There really are only humans. This is just another legend of my own making.

But some of us humans are wild things, and the sounds of the Earth are real. As is the damage done it, and the fight to save us all.

If you listened, you would get it.


Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on May 28, 2009 at 14:16

    (will be gone from 10-3 edt on a field trip with my son… back later to essay sit 🙂

    Love to you all, hope you enjoyed my strange fiction by strange me!!!!

    • RiaD on May 28, 2009 at 14:43

    have you seen august rush?  

    • Edger on May 28, 2009 at 17:12

    “The heartbeat of the Earth”. One of the best “descriptions” of “reality” I’ve ever heard.

    A Conversation with Myself

    • scribe on May 28, 2009 at 18:00

    I spent a week alone by a small isolated lake. There was a dead tree that had fallen into the water a long time before, it’s trunk now bleached and dried to driftwood and a perfect perch to sit on to watch the water. Wild thing that I also am, I sat there forever, until I couldn’t be absolutely sure if I was the water, the tree, or me.

    That was the first time I actually felt it: the pulse of the earth beating slowly, deeply, radiating upward through the dead tree trunk that wasn’t dead at all. My own pulse slowed, until the two beats were one, and finally, I understood at least the beginning of the meaning of what “oneness”. There’s been no turning back since that day.

    This very beautiful piece of writing you’ve done says it all: there is so much more to this life than what lies on it’s surface. There are more layers to who we are than can be imagined, beneath all of the static and noise.

    Thank you for this essay…

  1. this is stunning, beautiful. I want more. Forget “brevity”. More. (Please?) 😉

  2. From the dance between first and third person narrative to the culmination of the point of the topic (the oneness of life) and the oneness of narrators being, of course, one and the same thing – a discourse on the One.

    Utterly delightful.

    Be well.

    • on May 28, 2009 at 23:17

    mostly because I loved this story. I usually only read blogs.

    I want to ask something, why didn’t she stay with the guy in the 2nd story? There was obviously something there.

    I loved the canoe story too. I’d like to read the little stories as much as the bigger one.

    I think I’m a wild thing too.

    • kj on May 29, 2009 at 04:19

    deep, thoughtful, extraordinary.?  satisfying, soulful, pinpointed, nailed with perfection?  joyous, fun?  finding the words to describe this will take more than one read, Diane.   thank you very, very much.   will read again in the early morning, with the wind and the birdsong and the first cup of joe.

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