Jul 7 2022
The bad news first…. this title is of course an oxymoron as I can’t tell you how to do this.
I can’t tell you exactly how to find that place of childlike bliss where you play for plays' sake alone and suspend disbelief and forget the grown up ways. I can’t tell you exactly when the grown-up me forgot that I don’t like myself and found the friend I’ve always wanted. The one who gets my jokes and wants to play whatever game I’m making up, and it’s OK to change the rules as I go along to make it more fun.
I can’t tell you why you need to play with yourself more and better. I can’t tell you why starting a fire with only plant materials is so soul satisfying and why I’ll spin the spindle between my palms, coated with pine resin, until I have blisters. Just to see and smell that thin spiral of smoke arise from the tender ember hidden inside the drill's dust. I can’t tell you what the smoke of this hearthboard, made of trumpet creeper vine, smells like. Why it feels like my soul depends on starting this fire, in this way, even though there’s a perfectly functional cheap white plastic lighter just a couple of steps away in my tent. I can’t tell you how my heart soars when the ember is transferred to a small pile of pine needles and leaves that I sun-dried this morning, and after long tense minutes of tentative smoking, and my gentle puffing breaths from between gathered lips, the bundle of tinder declares itself aflame and also that my life is not a waste.
I can’t tell you what you’ll experience during a night and a day naked and alone in the forest.
I can’t tell you about all the circumstances that lined up to make this experience possible. Another retreat participant, with a nearby tent site, decided to go home early and gifted me his brand new tarp moments before the rain started.
I can’t tell you exactly how this shiny silver tarp draped on the leaf and humus hummocks of the forest floor of my campsite in a thunderstorm can become a sex toy. I suppose it helped that I had been naked all day, and hot in the July rainforest. So the warm sky tears pelting my cheeks, breasts, belly as well as the tulip, sassafras and oak leaves around me were sweet medicine everywhere they landed. I crouched and teased the shy water droplets at the top of the tarp, as I decide their fate; am I going to lift the edge and make a slide for them to descend and reach their friends in the larger pool that has already collected? I stopped to find some twine to hold up one end of the tarp to ensure that my watery playmate wouldn’t escape, and would continue to be contained.
I can’t tell you how it felt to sit in the puddle of these warm sky tears and splash the sweat off my back and arms and face, and taste the salt running into my lips and then squat above it and splash my pussy and ass. I can’t tell you how it felt, squatting on this silver tarp, then sliding on my knees and belly against its smoothness, cupping the tiny pools of water with my hands, collecting the power and possibility as the droplets obeyed gravity and slid down the folds and wrinkles and made my play pool deeper. I can’t tell you about how it feels to be my kind of bird, preening my feathers, water droplets flying, this beauty routine completed in found or borrowed or gifted shallow water.
I can’t tell you where the conversation with the mosquito came from, the one who came along and penetrated my crouching thigh meat, pushing her face into me and then pulling away by a millimeter, her dark, straight syringe tongue still inside me, sucking and pulling me into her, taking my life force into her body, for her babies. I can’t tell you how long she sat there, perched on my creamy flesh, and how it felt when she then went in for more, pushing her rod as deep inside as it would go.
“Oh, you want more of me, do you? Do I taste good? Can that tongue of yours taste the flavor of me? Can you feel my pulse and my heart rhythm? Can you sense the nutrients in my blood?”
And a couple of breaths later… “You’ve been here so long, you’re swelling up, my dear. Is it possible for you to overeat to the point where you are so blood drunk that you can’t even fly anymore?”
“Well, my sweet, please take as much as you need and feed your family. As you make your eggs, in a misty shallow still pool somewhere near here, take my prayers and my blessings with you. Send the signal of my heart out into the world, that I’m welcoming conspiring souls to come play with themselves in the forest and to make up divinely silly games like talking with a mosquito. Take these white and red blood cells, the hemoglobin and the plasma of mine - but are they really mine, just because they are arbitrarily in my body? Feed them to your kin and these molecules transmute into food for the frogs and the salamanders, who feed the raccoons, who feed the bobcats. Then their bodies eventually feed the bacteria and the birds and then full circle back to feeding the insects.”
I can’t tell you if the mosquito carried my prayer. Or if she heard me when I told her that I felt her tickle juice as she released it inside me, the tiniest feeling of burning when she was finished sucking. “Why do you need to do that?” I asked her. “Can’t you just keep that to yourself and just do your business without leaving that behind and making me itch?” She didn’t answer, but maybe she did because there was no impulse to scratch after she flew away; our encounter left no mark or irritation on my skin.
I can’t tell you what you’ll experience in 24 hours naked and alone in the forest. But I do know that your childlike heart has been there in your chest, patiently waiting for you to remember, to decide, to come play, for as many decades as you have been alive.