Winging On

Johnmarro Accepts the Practice of Joy

part of: The Hidden Land

by Lora of Many Generations

Maria had been back for six weeks when Johnmarro decided he was ready to go visit the Hidden Land. Shy, slow-moving, deep-thinking, Johnmarro had listened carefully to everything the other travelers had revealed, had plumbed their feelings with his eyes and galaxy-wide heart as they spoke. He had dwelt among their revelations until he felt at home there. He was a master of inner-orienteering.

On the night before his journey, he lay wide awake, thinking. Before him the field upon which humanity had conducted its business for ten-thousand years lay wide open. He had considered it slowly for the 35 years of his life. He had studied the thoughts of Eduardo and the other Wanderers of the first two generations. He had studied the output of various thinkers from the dominant Euro-US culture—both the masters and the slaves. He had studied the testimony of those from other cultures, many of whom were now exterminated. To these considerations he added what he had just learned from his companions.

Johnmarro’s passions were Understanding and the weaving of lives together. He had observed that any modus operandi that destroyed the simple bonds of affection, common sense and trust between its participants and replaced them with complicated chains of obligation based on the ravenous demands of ownership and hegemony, ultimately resulted in chaos. In Johnmarro’s time, humanity was collapsing in on itself as the common folk at the center of community life were used up to feed ancient conflicts over control of minds, land and resources. The interdependent lives of the biosphere were collapsing in on themselves as critical parts of WholeEarth Biome were being consumed at injudicious rates. In ten-thousand years humanity had learned little. Though their technologies grew more and more powerful, the ancient modus operandi and raison d’etre were still the same – subdue by any means necessary and profit by absolute rule. The top echelons of Euro-US culture had selectively inbred their minds for the traits of domination, strategic prowess, and emotional detachment for so long, Johnmarro wondered if, indeed, they retained the genetic capacity for the kind of wholistic thinking and feeling required to transcend themselves and rejoin the race and the biosphere as simply one part of a magnificent whole. Indeed, the whole race had been breeding around the consequences of the elevation of those disasterous traits for ten thousand years—slaves trained to passivity and endurance, masters trained for control and detachment. Surviving these times would require exactly the opposite—courage and adaptation, interdependence and compassion.

Johnmarro felt despair in that assessment and wondered if these aliens from a near-perfect world would have any wisdom to offer him on how this situation might be untangled so that more than survival would be possible…so that all human lives could be lived out in peace and prosperity.

It was with this weight in his heart that he took his place in the center of the circle at dawn. Raising his arms up to the crystal ceiling, he felt a flood of passion as he chanted, felt the whooosh, the energy of transit, the rematerialization, then the breath of a forest millions of years ancient and undisturbed.

Quietly he stood with his face to the giant Rowan tree, feeling, breathing deeply, exhaling completely. He could feel them behind him. He felt the sorrow well up in his heart, the sorrow he had borne all his life, inevitable inheritance of a long line of slaves. He had had a dream when he was ten about one of his fore-mothers from a time so long ago there remained no records of its passing. She stood in a line of people—her tribe. Before them strutted a cold, frightening man. As he passed each person, one of his servants cut their hair off. Then he said, “by this act, I make you mine.” When he got to Johnmarro’s foremother, she spit in his face. He beat her until she could not stand then let his soldiers rape her, after which he said, “by this act, I make you mine.” Johnmarro had woken, sweating, grieving. In later years, in his studies he discovered that something like this had happened to legions of humans for thousands of years. “In one way or another all of us have stood in that line and submitted or been subdued,” he thought. “But though most of us have been slaves, it is our masters who can never find rest. If they lay down the constant vigilance and calculation necessary to enforce the servitude of their comrades, that servitude would end. They, most of all, can never just live, breathe, or be in the joy of the day.”

“That is so,” came a soft musical voice from behind him.

“Let that thought inform you for a moment,” came a deeper voice, wide with power.

Johnmarro looked down at the fragrant moss under his feet, then bent down and removed his shoes and socks. Unshod, he let his bare toes sink into the deep, moist carpet. It was cool and refreshing. His arches tingled. The tingles spread up the back of his calves into his knees, laughing. “Simple joy,” he thought.

Behind him the six breathed violet perfume into his whole being.

He turned around at last.

“You wonder what to build upon, do you not?” Arn asked as she looked pointedly at his feet. Johnmarro recognized her from the descriptions he had heard. He took her meaning immediately, then replied, “that is part of what I wonder.”

“What else do you wonder?” Uhl asked gently. Johnmarro felt his whole body tremble as he looked in her eyes. Such beauty of expression he had never imagined.

“We are a Tapestry. We are a Network. We are a Web. We are one Body—all of Us, our Planet, our Universe,” he replied after a time. “Part of our Body pretends the rest doesn’t matter. That part is a bunch of cannibals, eating the rest of our Body from the inside out! How can this be amended?”

“Stop feeding the part that is eating the whole alive,” Kierd said slowly.

“Believe in the power of your toes on moss, your tongue in cool water, your smile pressed into another’s heart freely, openly, genuinely,” Teeka whispered.

“This power allows you to attend fully, competently, cognizently to the Moment,” Kierd said.

“Let the Moment be enough,” Tsoka sighed.

Johnmarro looked each one in the face slowly. They looked back. He sat down, let what they had said sink into him, to take its place among his many considerations.

“You cannot reach them all,” Choja said at last.

“You cannot reach even a small part of them,” Uhl added.

“They must reach out themselves first, not as master or slave, but as simply one individual to the moment, no army at their back, no agenda in their mind, no survival at stake, no objective to be gained, just a simple reaching out toward the moss under their feet,” Johnmarro stated. He had gleaned this from all the things his companions had brought back with them from this place. “My attempts to reach them on their own terms have failed,” he continued, sorrow, confusion and shame making his voice quiver uncontrollably.

“Why do you suppose that is?” Uhl asked.

Johnmarro considered that question. Finally, he answered, “because their terms preclude conversation. Their words are moves on a chessboard, strategies, traps, loaded dice. They lead to one place and one place only, who will be master and who will be slave.”

“Indeed,” said Kierd.

“For this reason, to treat with them is to feed them,” Uhl continued.

“But isolation from the dominators never works,” Johnmarro protested. “Look at the fate of any group who has attempted that throughout history. They simply become an outsider to be exterminated or used as a convenient scapegoat!”

‘Yes,” said Kierd. “And this will continue to be so.”

“So, they cannot be reached,” Johnmarro sighed, despair welling out of his eyes in great waves.

“Yes they can, but not by you or any other Being living or dead,” Arn said.

“If you step off their chessboard and let the natural consequences of their choices unfold, stop mitigating the damage, placating, pretending that somehow everything will be alright, then there is a chance the outcome of their actions will teach them what no one else can,” Uhl said.

“In the meantime, become conversant with simple joy,” Choja said, laughter in her eyes.

“See where it leads you,” Kierd said, joining Choja in gentle laughter.

“Cultivate this among your kind,” Tsoka advised.

“In the midst of the wasteland that is your home, you may find that shortly, a wild and rampant garden will bloom,” Uhl declared.

Johnmarro sat quietly, watching them. They sat down and quietly watched him. They watched each other for three days, eating, sleeping, dancing, traveling through the Crystal Mind, bathing, all in silence. At the end of that time Johnmarro decided, “I will do as you say.” Then he returned to the Wayward Land and his friends. After a time spent in contemplation and communion with Robert and Moira, he and his four traveling companions returned to Canada and made of the Bush Community of Wanderers a sane, safe, quiet haven with a clear view of the stars. They opposed no one. They learned the value of silence and interdependence, not just with each other, but with the Moment, other people, and the Land as well. Consequently, they created the one of the first wild zones. These would later stretch from north to south, and east to west of the Americas – simple single gardens tended by those who lived there. Importantly, they made the experience of Joy one of their chief practices. In the years that followed, the garden around their choices did indeed bloom rampantly, even in the midst of the many conflicts within which most of the rest of humanity still made a home.

Story arc will be continued in Journey to Andromeda.

Related by Lora, Twilit Majz of the Fourth Generation