There are two levels of perception. The first is like a dream. The second reflects only Love. We can always tell which of these we are using by how we feel. For even though there may be occasions when we like a dream, we will always sense the ground of anxiety from which it rises. In contrast, when we are perceiving accurately, we feel a deep and freeing peace and a certainty about the outcome of all things.
We come close to others for the reward of pleasure, but at that short distance the pain of any functional difference is greater also. We experience the greatest pain in relating to those we love the most.
Coggins walked through an afternoon fog as soft and gray-white as his own hair. He had walked a half mile or so nearly every day for twenty years — at first on the advice of a doctor who had repaired his heart, and then later because it became his deepest habit, and broke the day.
Do you have a dog? He asks me. I say no, and he says well that’s good because dogs shed so much. And do you have cats? I say no. And he says well, you might think about getting one, they’re always good to keep the mice down. I don’t think too much about that until I start cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and find a spring trap about a foot long, large enough to cripple a horse.
There are only two goats. The big one’s got horns and a beard under its chin and I’m sure he’s male until the little one reaches under and butts her udders, fat with milk, and starts sucking. My oldest kid and I stroke her greasy hide. She seems gentle enough.