And the plants. We now know of and measure the electromagnetic energy, the humidity, the heat, the hormones, the volatile gasses and sensuous resins that a plant emits from all of its parts, and we know that nearby plants react to these signals constantly. And we know that we ourselves undergo change to our brain chemistry when drifting through these signals. And the plants respond to us, too. Their chemistry is affected by our electromagnetic energy, the heat of our bodies, our hormones. A whole flicker of conversation shifts when we enter a clearing, and our body knows it is happening – it is part of the conversation. But sometimes it takes our minds a long time to catch up.
One day I discovered a rat in a live trap that I had set in my crawl space. We both jumped when I opened the crawl space door. And then I spoke in surprise, and the rat relaxed its body and came to the wires and looked curiously at me. I went upstairs to get it some food and returned, and hand fed it slices of banana through the wire bars. It ate its banana pieces calmly and I ate some too, and I thought, “This rat knows my voice and my scent, probably grew up knowing me. Hears me on the phone, smells what I am cooking for dinner, knows where I have been by the tang of my boots and hand tools. I am part of its world and it is at ease with me. How can I not know a creature who knows so much about me?” And the squirrel knows me and my habits and has learned to co-exist. And of course the birds in my yard know me, and the raven who flies over the garden and yells at me knows me. One day, it dropped a whole muffin beside me in the gravel as it flew the length of our very quiet road.
Why do I think I am alone?
It took a while for me to see that, in my early desperation to be with humans, I would sometimes be bored and disgusted with the drunkenness of the bar, the banal chatter of the coffee house, and that the place I was becoming more content was with my bees, my angry squirrels, my thousands and thousands of plants emitting their daily gasses for my brain and heart to absorb. Now I try to be more considerate of how I affect them, as well.
It wasn’t a pretty time, living through that early loneliness. And I still get bursts of angst at what the local flora and fauna are not providing me.
But I often wonder if the cure for the human condition – our constant disconnectedness – is only as far away as the nearest stump.