January 16th, 2019: Around noon, I decided I would go for an extended walk westward. Perhaps the appropriate word would be ‘trek’, in that it was mildly arduous; approximately twelve to fifteen miles overall. Eventually, I reached a Lake Overholser, and admired the variety of birds as an amateur ornithologist. While I would not wholesale attribute grey overcast skies and chilly weather to the underlying causes of a dismal day, at this point there was indeed something a bit dismal going on in the ambience. Earlier in the morning there was a fog that added a mystique, but by now it had been dispelled, and what was was left as a result was less attractive to my “sensibilities”, for want of a less sophisticated word.
Despite all this, I managed to abstract a mild joy at the spectacle of bird species, some of them rather large in size. I should point out I was only kidding earlier about being even remotely an ornithologist… I can enumerate here a little and there a little, or give general descriptions if all else fails; that is all. Some were large and white, with big, deep orange bills; there were certainly ducks, crows, and gulls. At any rate, I began heading north, following this thirty-yard-ish wide strip of land that divides the main body of the lake from a river to the east. As I did this, a specific idea I’ve been obsessing over crossed my mind:
You see, as some of my earlier entries illustrate, I am well-enough acquainted with the phenomena of trance to know that they are not a matter of speculation. They are a fact, and while I have my hypotheses concerning their significance, I do not presume to have the means of indisputably proving the same, or even speedily inducing them at will as I would like. Now as I mentioned previously, there is a specific idea I have been obsessing over. It has occurred so constantly that I must admit I do not know when I even began thinking about it on this day. It was certainly previous to this specific episode, only now I was connecting it to a sutra in an early Buddhist text entitled the Ākaṅkheyya Sutta of the Majjhima-Nikâya:
“If a priest, O priests, should frame a wish, as follows: ‘Let me exercise the various magical powers,–let me being one become multiform, let me being multiform become one, let me become visible, become invisible, go without hindrance through walls, ramparts, or mountains as if through air, let me rise and sink in the ground as if in the water, let me walk on the water as if on unyielding ground, let me travel cross-legged through the air like a winged bird, let me touch and feel with my hand the moon and the sun, mighty and powerful though they are, and let me go with my body even up to the Brahma-world,’ — then must he be perfect in the precepts, bring his thoughts to a state of quiescence, practise diligently the trances, attain to insight, and be a frequenter of lonely places.”
Concerning this excerpt, I was especially attentive to the traveling ‘while cross-legged through the air like a winged bird’ bit, as it was prompted by the occasion of my being near birds. This consideration fortified my resolve of inducing a trance so as to facilitate the shapeshifting into a CROW. I have long admired, yes I have long ardently loved these corvids, as well as their relative, the raven. What wonderfully intelligent and beautiful birds! What boring, stupid lives we all lead! Why wouldn’t I clamor with enthusiasm at the prospect – knowing as I do now the possibilities of the human mind when withdrawn from the senses – of becoming, howbeit so briefly, one of these illustrious corvids?
These and other affiliated thoughts occupied my mind as I continued going north along the strip of land. I hadn’t thought much of it, but further down there were two white SUV’s next to one another on the west end of the strip; I was coming from the south, and the one closest to me was like some 2006 Nissan, whereas the one after was like a 90’s Toyota model with one of those cover shades for the front windshield and the passenger door facing me open. As I began to approach, I looked in the direction of these vehicles when I heard a muffled voice from within the open passenger door of the 90’s looking SUV: “…Hey!”.
As this was happening, I noticed a small little lady – in her forties or fifties, in some kind of skinny pink tank-top, and apparently nothing else – in-between and within the two vehicles, half-way squatting and standing, with something like pee or perhaps worse coming out her other end. It all happened so fast, I’m not entirely sure, but it seemed like a dreadful and inordinate amount of some kind of bodily fluid was being evacuated. It wasn’t solid, it seemed like puke. This happened in a matter of seconds, and she hadn’t even noticed me. She replied to the muffled voice, facing the direction of its origin, “….is someone coming?” Of course, I was already there.
Now THAT! .….was unexpected. I just walked away.
Photo: Transformación del Shamán en Aguila by Pablo Amaringo.