Crawling is inhuman, wet belly down, chafed and chapped skin on limb extensions knee and elbow, no claws or thick fur to protect an exposed white membrane. The hillside quietly drinks from the snow melt, sapling roots peeping up as soil filters away. They feel my weight, my new heat, the prickle of the fear which mutates between my ears and behind my eyes. They feel me as a different kind of mammal from those humans who crawl with the abandon and rigour of wolves and wild cats.
Once before I walked ‘vertical’ here in leather boots and dry garments, my head in the sky, my eyes seeking out only the best fruits. I did not know the drinkers beneath my soles and they were far away from my peculiar fear. My arms were free to clutch the ultimate product, my oiled rifle; my lips and tongue liberally dusted with gunpowder always ready to spit-charge it with; and my heart was greedy to snatch land without permission, to fell building trees and scrape away the fur and claws I lacked, without a thought. I stepped proudly through the rivulets, eyes cocked, index finger twitching, choices firmly made: the walking zenith of God’s creation to date.
By my side was my son who only knew pride as a father’s theory. He could clearly see the drinkers below and had never known a single choice in all his life. Although we prowled together with blind pistols, he was not torn out of the universe like me, not marooned without a puff of wind in the visible world, not perpetually surveyed by the bloodshot eyes of the master of my mind and a bearded creator.
I could see the edge of the watery copse ahead and the guttering flame of rolling hills beyond and I knew I could be seen; my son was his mother’s line, that different kind of mammal that is not concerned with being seen but with pure seeing, not marred by chronic fear just a necessary flickering of it; descended from that noble line of the loyal custodians of the Earth, not pilfering aliens like me.
My punctured ripped weight is dragged by a mere fragrance. I follow it with my nose but I have no notion of the intoxication of questions or whereabouts. Now I know my son’s mammal – there are no choices, no play with word games and the decaying baubles of outcome, just listening to the needs of the Lands without beginning or end. I have no desires as I crawl, only crude urges which my cellular being remembers – urges to only drink like the roots below me, to only become my pain like the facets of jewels, to only be packed back in to the guardian universe like him.
The she-bear tore me out for a second time, filling my face with her bristling pelt: her cub whined applause from cover. Hoisted by teeth injected into soft organs, lifted and rigoured by the modernized apparatus of the throat, dropped and thrown by a wet muzzle, even her eyes assaulted mine for extra punishment to make a laughing stock of me to the eyes of the hills. Turning and turning me again to reach right into me from both back and front, she then chucked me off the ridge.
My gang shot her just before she was about to go for the head and finish my miserable existence. With the shot, she plumped down directly on top of me, the final belly blow. Extracted as trophies, I earned her teeth and claws. I did not steal them. They embed my torn thigh as the scent drags me but I feel nothing until much later when they have to be surgically removed.
Just-crawling, that only, is my sole way to be pasted back into reality, to fully apply the theory, and the only way to be with my son and fill my arms with the essence of all life instead of a killing machine.
Survival of the body against all odds. To a body which is prey to arrogance and fear and the chronic decay of suffering, revenge, jealousy and greed are its yeast.
I see it clearly now from my crawl. The heavily-armed settlers of gleaming white skin are the true enemy of Nature, snatching it excessively to go way beyond ‘survival’ by marching towards wealth and power over others. They are uninvited visitors stumbling on a pristine land ample with resources and treasures. Convicted criminals and entrepreneurs, outcasts of their societies, they race to the far corners of the world to be the first to ravage. But they are unaware of their infliction, long since sold out on Nature, preferring instead cess-pool cities and pleasure palaces beneath roofs and glass.
Horizontal and servile, I am between worlds, haunted by visions of my union with the Land through my native wife, ranging through tall grasses waving with no knowledge of fear or obsession with competition. She smiles and sings me to Now and Here beneath the Madonna tree, our mixed flesh son running between us as yet unable to see above, still carefully wrapped in the oiled skins of intuition.
The soldiers slapped away the luxuriant herds of buffalo along with her body. And our son was wounded and feverish as I kept his spirit in him with the tribal lore in my pedestrian Pawnee. He came to me from her and did his best to be by my theoretical side until he too was scared off by an alien bullet to the head.
My hunger for revenge is far greater than that for food.
The stags float by on the bloated current behind me as I tear the moss surreptitiously from the rocks and stuff it into my mouth. They do not know I am there clinging like a boneless leach, my body jellified, my bitten fingers full of holes and relieved of their dexterity.
I cease my snorting and grunting for sustenance when the exposed nerves of my spine detect their antler parade moving effortlessly with single purpose. They notice out of sheer appreciation of a contrast so dramatic between us mammals. And once again, I stumble upon that other mammal like my son, their ancient elegance and assurance of their place in the land stunning me. Despite my defeated crumpled state, my white enemy status, I foolishly aim my stick rifle at them and even issue the mock sound of shooting a bullet from it. Who on Earth do I imagine is listening?
This pathetic silliness in this magnificent wilderness serves no purpose other than to distract me from the collapsing of the balloon of my stomach as its sides stick together. Natural balance denies me organic food to pay back with my concentrated pain for all the enemy assaults of all time. I am being made an example of I believe.
But I am not angry or humiliated as such things do not exist in true human nature. These other original mammals are kindly showing me the error of my ways, clawing and biting away the layers of manufactured life to reveal the most exquisite gem of all, my indestructible and divine nature which is just like theirs.