Don't make me come looking for you
A strange day Saturday, one in which I thought about God and nature before, later in the evening, they both came a-knockin’.
The morning featured a visit to a café for breakfast with other volunteer members of an animal charity I work for, two mornings a week. Huevos rancheros and beer for me, por favor. There were lots of hounds there too, which is always a pleasure, never a chore. After breakfast, I elected to walk back into town. This is a mildly risky exercise, as there are no pavements -sidewalks – in any meaningful sense of the word, and Costa Rica ranks fourth in the world for fatal motor accidents. But I made it okay, stopping only for a quick beer in a bar I play in, and at the grounds of a hotel which is rather special.
The hotel is a type of sanctuary for Scarlet Macaws, pictured below – not by me, I hasten to add.
When I strolled past, there were around 15 of these magnificent creatures, eating a type of seed-pod favoured in the Macaw community. I admired them for a while, then minced back into town with my thoughts, once again, on Darwin, God, and nature.
I am more or less of a Spinozistic pantheist. No, wait. Come back. Don’t go to another website. Let me explain. Baruch Spinoza was a Portugese Jew who relocated to Holland and earned his living as a lens-grinder in the 18th century. His most famous work is the Ethics. He also believed that there was no deity, but that, effectively, the world was God. That is pretty much where I’m at, particularly since I moved to the rain-forest.
Then, of course, you get to think about us, about homo sapiens. What are we? The recording angel of the Bible? Would there be beauty if we were not around to see it? Do sloths find Scarlet Macaws beautiful? Does it matter if they do or not?
It seems to me that nature is a god really worth worshipping. It exists to a certainty, for a kick-off. I’m not going to get all eco-conscious and Green on yo’ asses, but nature seems to me to have a purpose, where man does not. Individual men and women have a point to their existence, but mankind as a whole is just a great, blundering behemoth who seems to be better at fucking things up than getting any serious work done. We are not likely to see another Renaissance or Enlightenment any time soon. Just more of the same crap that has been piling up since the end of WW2. As Nietzsche wrote – in Dawn, I think – the brain is our most recent and least-developed organ.
Anyway, I turned my brain off and switched on my basic motor functions and had a Rolling Stones evening. I am learning to play Angie, one of my favourite Stones songs. I have had to transpose it down, as Jagger has a very good falsetto, and mine is a bit lacklustre. Then, I popped on the headphones, got on the computer, and started watching a documentary about Keith Richards, the man who will bury us all. Five strings and nine lives. All that.
It was about 8.30pm. You know that famous opening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony? Ba-ba-ba-BAAAAAAA, Ba-ba-ba-BAAAAAAA. It’s fate knocking on the door, am I right? Well, that’s pretty much what happened. I’m watching Keith riffing away, and it felt as though someone upstairs had slammed the largest barn door in existence. In fact, that was my first thought. But the Air BnB couple upstairs are such nice people, and so quiet that, in that nanosecond before it all went Radio Rental, I thought they might have slammed a door. Then the house started to shake, and it didn’t stop for ten seconds. Doesn’t sound like a long time, does it? It is.
What frightened me most is that the glass of fine Imperial lager perched on my amplifier, which doubles as a computer-side table, was wobbling and could have gone at any time. This is nature’s genuine threat,
They are calling it somewhere between a 6.5 Richter and a straight 7. The numbers don’t interest me. It was the earth talking. It scared the living Bejasus out of me. I almost had to change into my very brownest trousers. The whole idea that the ground is moving underneath you, and there is nowhere to go. There was a scary bit where everyone on the local Facebook group was talking about tsunamis. Some of this town is below sea-level. I’m not, I’m on a hill, but there was a tremendous sense of bated breath. There was no tsunami.
But I had a bit of a wave of realisation. Now, I liked the old hippies, the ones who got off the grid. Today’s hippies are just wankers. But I do believe this. The world is bigger than we are, and more important. When the planet speaks – and I now have cause to know this – we had better fucking listen. Perhaps she is genuinely angry.