The last stanza of the second poem (both written by a man called Gary Snyder), read:
I pledge allegience to the soil
of Turtle Island
and to the beings who thereon dwell
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.
The first two lines of the piece, entitled For All, are "Ah to be alive/ on a mid-September morn". The sentiment is so relevant-- one I felt as my lungs filled with crisp almost-autumn air and then again with ev'ry exhalation... and one I felt yesterday while I visited Towan & he came over to the glass to show me his chalk drawing. My heart beats a little quicker when I share a moment like this with him. Mostly because he makes me feel like I'm not the only ape that is excited to share little bits of beauty w/ people nearby. That feeling of sameness is one of the more reassuring I've ever felt. I suppose I owe Mr. T and Gary Snyder a v.v. big Thank You! for providing reminders of why this mid-September is an especially lovely time to be living here in the now.
The last day that I felt compelled to write, it was because of a person I met who invites adventure into his life, who sees magic in the tiniest places. When we are together strangers approach us for conversation & he is always ready to engage a new face in the Latest&Greatest. He is willing to allow a ten minute walk to take an hour, because he understands that sometimes one must stop and absorb ev'ry detail of this bustling world (& that takes time, takes patience). He doesn't mind that when I see a dead bumblebee on the sidewalk I have to pick it up and place it in a garden to rest in peace; he doesn't mind that when I see a piece of neat graffiti that I am compelled to photograph it and ponder the source; and most of all, he doesn't mind that inevitably at some point during our daily excursions I mention that I wish Towan could see ALL the things I see because I know with all my heart he'd feel so inspired and just as in awe of how strangely golden the world is (and his reactions would no doubt fuel his art).
Interpenetration is a word I had not known before reading it in Snyder's poem, but it is now one of my favorites. To wish for those around you to experience the visceral joy of being one with their environment and to take the time to be a part of whatever surrounds them is laudable. I have nothing but respect for the people & creatures who facilitate and encourage that experience. Towan lives at the zoo, which means he is limited to what shows up at his door-step, but! he never seems to miss a chance to investigate a novel garment or an interesting visage.
Perhaps, it is his ability to appreciate the little things that allows him to deal with annoyances so stoically. After showing me his art, he settled down to work on it some more. Bela followed him and made a grab for one of his two pieces of chalk. While her second attempt was successful, Towan did not seem to acknowledge her trespass. His tolerance is admirable, but then again he has so many traits that I admire and try to cultivate in my own self-- he is a Bodhisattva if there ever was one.
--Emma (coffee with Towan)