field notes (06/19/2017) [*50th entry*]

Had the crow experience of a lifetime this morning. Will try to recount it in the fullest detail possible.

Last night I didn’t sleep well. For a week or two I’ve been without much coffee but during the day yesterday had a few cups – normally these many cells process that caffeine quickly but it seems likely that was why I tossed and turned. At 4:41 a.m. I gingerly crawled out of bed to meditate – felt pretty distracted, with lots of intrusive thoughts – and then at 5:00 kept hearing crows. Sounding close but not necessarily outside of the house – at least 2 or 3 of them.

After a while they broke my attempt at a meditative trance and I had to go see them. Grabbed my bag of snacks (corn) and went out onto Selby. Thought I was hearing them a block west and ventured out – expecting to see them in the tall roost-spot past Pierce on the north side of the street. No luck. Turned left down Pierce and quickly realized there were about 3 or 4 crows a block in past Augustine’s. Walked up the street- their cacophony was remarkable and chattery almost to the point of annoyance. The thick, lush green trees – and dark-ish sky, perhaps on a 2.9/10 brightness setting – made it hard to see the little avian monkeys. Their caws were in bursts of three or four and extremely consistent. As I approached I made a few ‘kawwwhhh, kawwhhh’ noises and shook my keys. Then I walked directly beneath the trees, over a manhole cover next to a basketball hoop (east side of the street). I grabbed handfuls of corn and poured them onto the manhole cover. They clicked and clacked and rained their clattery sound onto the ground and to my surprise the crows were rather responsive. It seemed clear as I did this handful after handful – at least 5 or 6 of them – that the birds were watching, and one rearranged itself (seemingly to get a better view).

I continued to alert them with noise and the 4-or-so crows quickly became 10. The most I could count (as they were moving) was 10, but I believe a few were in my periphery. Continued south to the middle-end of the block and laid down a few noticeable ‘lines’ of corn – perhaps 12-18 inches long, 3 or 4 inches thick, and just about 1 layer of corn tall or heightwise. Yellow enough to be bright and visible but not voluminous enough to deplete my entire supply. I laid out one or two of these on the ground and another on a blue recycling can – the crows were extremely loud at this point, and many more were flying in (primarily from the west end of Pierce, above the trees).

Wow – it was exciting. Always I am hoping that they are comfortable or at least unalarmed by my presence, which is to some obvious extent intrusive and loud, and if they are not unalarmed or comfortable my second hope is that they will comfortably leave. Or fly away. What sucks is the possibility that crows needing rest, or really just trying to roost in one spot, or that are otherwise unwilling to take off and fly away from me, are irritated by my presence. So this morning as they screamed and gathered I kept wondering if I was bothering them – scaring them – enraging them – etc. But as they were summoning one another (within a matter of 5 minutes there were 2 dozen large birds) and screaming together over my head, which has certainly never happened in the absence of food before, I must think there was some positive reward response associated with their screams. (Later tomorrow I’ll get back over there to see if they snacked on any of it – do crows even eat corn? Don’t ask me!)

Waving my keys on my carabiner (this is a sort of Pavlovian stimulus that I introduce when I feed the crows anywhere) I walked south into the intersection of Pierce and Hague. Wave wave wave keys, drop drop drop some food, caw caw caw, sing sing sing. A common and monotonous attempt at engagement – and, for my neighbors, probably a sickening morning regularity. There were so many crows (or corvids? Ravens? Hm.) above me that I didn’t know what to do or think. Just black mass after black mass, dipping and swooping like planes, but never getting close or suggesting outward aggression. Unless I am completely ignorant to their own aggressive strategies. Together they could have shredded my scalp (or worse) and instead they simply screamed like an avian chorus and made me super duper happy. I kept laying out seeds and lovingly cooing “hello, babies!!!”

Walked back northward after a while. Those few moments with a zillion birds around me felt like a zillion years. Really admired the big fat one that was atop the roof on the NE intersection of Pierce & Hague. It was short, squat, and had the same inward neck-thrust (head upwards, body fat) as a few ravens on youtube – at least, that was what my memory suggested. For some reason this one bird (on a roof instead of trees or in the air) caught my attention as I was walking through the crowstorm back towards Selby. I walked past Selby and onto Dayton a bit, seeing yet another fatty (maybe the same one from the roof) doing the inward-neck-thrust-guttural-call from atop a tree. NE end of Dayton & Pierce. Hm.

Went home. Scattered corn around the house as I arrived – also put a few round masses of the yellow stuff onto the roof. Then crawled back into bed with a cute girl as the crows kept hollering outside.

5 minutes is 300 seconds

http://consciousness.arizona.edu/

a pounding headache @ 330am

The brain can only function excellently…at its highest capacity and energy, when it is completely secure…when it is not believing, or holding onto some illusions, some concepts/beliefs/fate…some fantastic ideas. Or- the ideas of Marx, and Lenin, [krishnamurti,] and so on. Or- our own democratic ideas and holding onto them. 

baby consciousness…we meet again

Photo on 5-12-17 at 9.09 PM #4.jpg

this kid is too darned adorable. I’m currently with him at his momma & poppa’s – they’re out on a date. and lucky them, because both of them are pretty swell folks. as is their little boy here – his facial expressions are so remarkably nuanced. sitting with him & constantly smiling at him, trying to make him smile back – i am instantly reminded that He Sees Through Me, and wont be irrationally tickled into a happy state. immense and subtle is his learning – amazing to watch him move, grasp, re-grasp, squeak, re-grasp, drop……like a drop of ink falling into the water. the ink (baby) & its environment (water) are not separate, but are distinct…..& adjust, mingle, altering one another reciprocally. even most contemporary language in the world of developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience is suggestive of this idea that babies are ‘learning the skills needed to be an adult,’ as if the passivity of embodiment suddenly vanishes at old age. in my experience both the adult (or the advanced adult/senior/cute old prune) and the child follow this same ink-water relationship. perhaps the adult-ink has settled more equally into the water, and is more familiar with the turnings of the water, and vice versa. but both follow the same rules, & neither is entitled to magic intentionality.

as a helpful reminder (or perhaps the very prompt) for these lines of thinking are some of the books that mom & dad have sitting around here. The Soul of an Octopus is the clear Ian-choice:

“Popular naturalist Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus, the remarkable connections it makes with people, and the vibrant community that arises around this complex, intelligent, and spirited creature. Practicing true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, Montgomery befriends individual octopuses with strikingly different personalities – gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma – who show their cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures, creative trickery to get food, and jetting water to bounce balls. Montgomery also chronicles scientists’ growing appreciation of the octopus’s problem-solving as she tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.”

but resting just nearby is another consciousness-themed text. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy. I would type the description of that one but it’s too long, and this baby over here is murmuring/moving in his sleep.

Be back soon

field notes pt. 2 (05/06/2017)

“haha Ian I love being in public with you it’s so funny and weird”

“what’s THAT supposed to mean”

“the way you just yell up at crows and talk to them”

“i talk AT them I do not talk TO them”

“uh huh”

“i’m serious. i talk AT them. i can’t talk to animals”

“uh huh. i’m suspicious”

field notes pt. 1 (5/6/2017)

An exciting morning.

Got up for my usual headache-coffee-nomoreheadache-sit in chair-birdwatch-meditate session this morning. My usual perch (the purple chair in the living room) had been twisted in the opposite direction when company came over yesterday, so I turned it around to face the window. Sat. Headache buzzing, coffee steaming (in the “Our Hearts are Very Old Friends” mug, extra sugar, a little milk. No meat for the crows today, even though I’d like to have some, so instead I was just watching them fly about. Pretty loud this morning too.

Suddenly, across the street- a little brown pup. Puppy? Dog? I was unsure. It was lingering on the sidewalk, conspicuously alone – I looked up & down the street while leaning forward in the purple chair. Didn’t see anything. The little thing crossed the street towards my house, now CLEARLY alone, with no collar to speak of. I immediately hopped up out of my chair, leaving the coffee & my keys in the living room, & went down the stairs. Got to the porch & saw the little critter out on the sidewalk in front of my house.

hello, bb!

It looked at me – cautiously and intently, while backing away towards Fry street.

hello, bb!

It took off. Walking neatly & adorably along the sidewalk – too civil (and too small) to be any type of wild creature. Nope. Definitely domesticated, definitely helpless, definitely hungry and thirsty, and I’m definitely not its poppa. Therefore no surprise that it bolted. The other morning (a few miles away on Jefferson) I saw a poster for a missing dog – even made an effort to memorize the number. On that day I remember walking away & being concerned that I couldn’t remember the number. Not because I was expecting to find a missing dog (I don’t even have a cell phone to call anyone should I run into a missing dog), but because numbers are really fun, & to be forgetful of them is really annoying to me. So as I saw this dog in front of my house, backing away, I remembered the poster – bright yellow, located on Jefferson ave – it had 2 numbers listed. What were they? 651-???-6041? Even though I couldn’t remember them I could remember 2 other details from the poster: that the dog might have its leash or harness on it (purple in color) and that the dog would run away if approached. With the available information, and the small possibility that this was indeed the dog, the best I could do was to not approach it. At least not too clearly/aggressively/etc. After this first moment of observation and cogitation had passed the dog took off from the house pretty quick & I just walked down to the end of the stoop. Watched it run up the street towards Fry, turning left into the lawn of that apartment building on the corner. At that moment it paused to glance back at me – I was still looking at it -& it left. A crow flew overhead as I walked eastward up the street, & as I tried to call out to the dog the crow landed over my head. Even though the dog situation was sorta stressful the crow certainly made me smile. In fact the entire encounter was smile-worthy. For all the intentional and planned and calculated effort I’ve put in buying meat for the crows, & all the exacting regularity with which I’ve fed them, it is of course while I’m out chasing a lost creature that a crow actually comes up to greet me. It sat overhead in the tree & adjusted itself once, so that its head was facing me. I continued calling for the dog up the street, but it was further up Fry. So up Fry I went. Turned right onto Dayton and, upon getting a few houses up the street someone yelled at me from out a window. They were trying to guide me towards the dog – & then the voice asked, “Is that Ian?”

A former classmate from a few philosophy classes was the onlooker! We chatted a bit thru the window about the pup – they had spotted it the night before over on Selby – but the lil’ fella had disappeared somewhere on Dayton and I decided to walk home. Walked home. Decided to go back out. Went back out.

Found the guy back on Dayton & Fry after poking around for a while. Brought him back up to classmate’s house & left him there. I’ll add a little more about the guy & his movements, etc – but I have 6 minutes until I need to leave for work. And to think- as soon as I sat down with my coffee in the living room I had already assumed it would be a boring morning. Guess not!