Some nights, some, mornings, I lay awake or come awake with my mind full of unfinished checklists of things I need to get done in the mundane world. So oppressive. the sense of impossibility—impossible even to prioritize, let alone to do.
How do we ever get through this life? It’s as if we feel we must have each breath, each heartbeat on a To Do list, else we will die. Why do our minds betray us in this way? Why do they drag us so far away from simple animal life and death?
What we laughingly call consciousness and, worse, civilization is a horrible burden. An endless plodding, like the oxen before the plow, endlessly reaching the end of a row only to turn back the way they have come.
But to the oxen, of course, all they are doing is walking and pulling.
And so it is.
Image: “Oxen in the Mist” by Roshnii is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
2 comments On Oxen
Michael. I hear you. I’m probably not the only one who reads this and has a heart-mind full of agreement. A silent nod of…Yes…I know this experimentally. I sit silently with you, near-yet-far-away brotherfriend, affirming the supremely sublime gift of feeling the human species’ collective heartbeat & heart-thought of Godde. When one attends Quaker meeting for worship, this is the Presence we long to cultivate and be as Earthlings: to be One with Creation, with All That Is. It’s the sacred gift of knowing love – to love and be loved.
George Fox, a founder of Quakerism, expressed the agony of knowing so many things so he would understand all conditions of humans. And, you, my dear, have that most wondrous gift of writing most coherently. So your gentle readers…can touch the Divine…in our exstacies and agonies, in our ploddings and pleadings, in the rows we walk, ceaselessly, distraught that it’s of no use, barren of meaning. We discount the gift of fallowness in our lives, plodding like the oxen, bereft of guidance.
What may grow in times to come in the rows oxen plow? What will blossom in our footsteps, once fallow, when we take our leave? — Public Friend of blessed memory Elizabeth Watson, quoting someone, I think, said that a precious gift we can give one another when we experience difficulties, is to let one another know…”I, too, have suffered.” I touch my hand to yours. We’re lucky ducks to experience life so deeply, so vastly, so longingly, Michael – and to articulate the suchness of life in writing. In your writings, you let your gentle readers recognize…Oh…Ah…So, I’m not the only one who feels this way, eh? Hot-diggity-dog, I’m human after all!
Thank you, Friend.
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