Thursday, 1 December 2011

Two Monkeys With Wrenches

Sasquatch Provincial Park, 9 juin 2008, 3My guest swallowed and exhaled.

"I'd have to agree," he said.

He cradled my rice bowl in one gigantic palm, as if it were a flower, and gazed into his tea. A gentle July breeze fluttered the crown of the Bodhi Tree, but hardly whispered the Tyvek shelter.

"Guys like us just bust up the symmetry, you know? Drives 'em ape."

He peeled off another section with surprising delicacy, given his eight-inch fingers, and placed it in his mouth.

"What do call these things?" he asked.

"Oranges," I said.

He raised a heavy brow, as who should say, "Ask a stupid question", and continued.

"They've got it all figured out. Except you can't. So they have to whittle 'all' down to just what they know. Then they pass a law saying that their 'all' is the only all. If you set foot outside it, that's criminal trespass. So what happens to those who live there?"

"Every track we make is vandalism."

"Worse. It's a hoax."

I nodded.

"Back in the old days," I said, "people drew maps of the planet, but they didn't know most of it, so they just wrote 'Here be dragons' on those parts."

"They were right."

He took another sip of genmai and savoured another orange slice.

"Well, we exist all the same, cousin. You gotta not let them get inside your head. Whether they can prove it or not, we're here. And that's their problem."

I nodded again, vigorously.

"Their problem," I agreed. "They keep insisting I furnish proof that I exist, like they don't have to permit it until I do."

My visitor stretched a long, whorled leg, and relaxed into royal ease.

"Maybe all you need is a good photographer," he said.

"You know one?"

"No."

He contemplated the leaves on the Bodhi Tree.

"Doesn't matter anyway; they'd still deny it. But you gotta not care. That's the key to cargo. You gotta not waste time on them, or it."

He popped the rest of the orange into his mouth and crushed it against his palate with evident pleasure.

"I got bananas too," I said, pulling out of lotus.

"Never touch the stuff," he said. "Anyway, I gotta split. Thanks for the tea."

We staggered to our feet, wincing at the kinked joints, and I accompanied him to the edge of the clearing. At the trailhead he pressed his hairless hands into a giant lotus bud. Even bowing, he was a head taller than me.

I smiled and returned his gasshō. "How do you know about this?" I asked.

"We have a branch office in the Himalayas," he said.

"Ah, yeah."

He shook his head.

"Abominable snow, man."

He was already ten yards away, long arms swinging, loping smoothly toward the Eight Brothers on snowshoe feet that somehow made no sound whatsoever.

His head swivelled right, and without breaking speed or rhythm, he called:

"Stay curious, George."

Two strides more, and his glossy black form vanished into the spruces.

"And remember," came a last ethereal, disembodied note: "Get off your horse first."


(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson. Photo courtesy of WikiMedia and Philippe Giabbanelli [photographer].)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...