Loving the ‘Alien’
Early March, 2017
There’s a bluff back of my place I should visit more often. A twenty minute preamble through dirt over fallen trees brings me to one of the loveliest spots I’ve yet touched with my eyes and feet on this island.
Today under the snow there is moss, lichen. Old arbutus and elder pines. The bluff descends to a ledge one can rest on, possibly pitch a tent, meditate facing the sun. Billowing cumulus rakes the waning light, pulpmill burnoff from Crofton flames luminescent pink against the day’s late blue. Gold spills through leafed limbs to paint the wind on my face. I can’t step apart from myself (or can I?) to regard my own features, but I sense light ripples of warmth dance across my features in gratitude. I’ve picked eagle feathers here.
This song slipped into my head while I teetered at the brink, entranced by something infinite and transient all at once. The first lines speak of the Revenant — to ‘take vow’ or ‘make pledge’ — as in the singular undertaking to complete some task, committing oneself to God (or to perfecting the Heart of Compassion) or pressing oneself in service to one’s brothers and sisters, our fellow humans, this earth we come out of and ultimately return to.
Here the Revenant speaks of a more distant returning.
There is not a wisp of reality that is not us — no aspect of any molecule which weaves the tapestry of what you call ‘I’ which does not correspond to the tapestry I call ‘you’. And if the expression ‘us’ often seems delimited to the purely and humanly personal, it is good to remember that the whole expression of nature is not eerily trans-personal when it deems to reach beyond us (as proffered in the vision of a clockwork universe) but deeply personal on every level imaginable, as the origin of ourselves, the ground of our and all be-ing.
To be ‘estranged’ (to be made a stranger) is to insist on fashioning ourselves and others into foreigners by the partition of our own minds, exiled instead of joined to the familial and boundless field of all life, even that which winks at us beyond the outer limits of the stars.
Concerning the UFO sighting near wherever you live, I long ago started to drop any frame of reference to ‘aliens’, after I began to sense that all Beings and all Life are Our Relations. And all Universe our home.
But of course, incarnating into this particular Space and Time we enter into a prescribed, culturally applauded contract, a compulsion to define ourselves by our borders. Or more succinctly, to border and define ourselves by what we are not. We inhabit an identity, singularly or otherwise, by which our ‘insides’ can only be distinguished by what is ‘outside’ us. Even airports insist on herding members of our human brethren into partitioned lanes of ‘alien’ visitor versus ‘resident’ citizen.
To maintain that any one place is our ‘home’ might be okay…you can build walls and a roof, light a fire and invite a ‘stranger’ inside. Or you can stretch all the borders like bubble film to wrap the whole Earth til they collapse and dissolve into each other, for who can draw a line where there is no enclosure? Imagine now all of this our collective Hearth, all of it our dwelling to look and be looked after in, to be served interchangeably as host and guest, or ours to render so hostile as to leave each and every one homeless (as well as friendless, and is this not an presently increasing delusion of our own devising?).
You can keep all the ‘strangers’ and ‘aliens’ outside if you wish, but if all Planet, and all Universe, is Home to us and all creatures, where indeed is ‘inside’, and where the ‘outside’, and outside of what? To insist on cleaving within our minds to sightlines of attrition such as these — a form of deepset intraspecies myopia if you will — points to a distortion not of optics but of our spirit: the divisions and distances we choose to make within our own hearts.
It is never too late to come home to a place we never left, to embrace and learn to love the ‘alien’ who is only us in disguise, to apprehend that we can never actually be strangers sentenced to wander alone in a Universe that chose us to grow into its eyes and heart. It is possible to recognise our true inheritance, and the sybling familiarity between all the beings living in our home, to stake and reclaim our birthrights in the family of things. And in this way we each become a net without end, a tapestry to connect all the jewelled links glittering so knowingly in the dark, which signal and reveal to us the irreducible presences of All Our Relations.