This is the second A.K. Reader piece, archival material that might be interesting to at least one reader! Today I made an “A.K. Reader” page for this section, and introduce it with a cursory look at the checkered herstory of my life as a writer. Check it out!
A Conspiracy of Animals (1992)
In a single day, as if in a waking dream, my terrible (most likely menopausal) mood shifts little by little via extraordinary enounters with five wild species — first squirrel, then geese, then deer . . . and the last two?— well their presence, and their messages, were so over the top that I’ll save them for you to read.
Here’s how the essay starts:
The morning dawns fresh and clear. Above, hundreds of birds call forth the sun and the Tetons shimmer in rosy light. Below, the valley floats in beauty, a flawless green jewel, a paradise.
Inside my yurt, I wake up tense, tight, in no mood to appreciate paradise. Moving like a robot, I prepare my usual breakfast. Sit down to my usual hour of reading.
No use. Body squirms, Eyes glance off the page. Psyche diffuses into the void.
Outside, the birds keep singing. They mock my mood. I don’t want to hear them.
Push on to the next item on the agenda, my daily five-mile walk.
I am anxious to get to the river. Want to release this pent-up anger and frustration into its forgiving flow. I have no idea why I am so angry; I just know there is a huge internal energy, which threatens to explode.
I reach the river. There is a fisherman in waders casting his line. He is in the water only a few feet from the ledge where I always sit. I seethe; my anger focuses on him.
I turn back, to find another, less comfortable ledge out of sight of the fisherman, and sit down.
And that’s when it began, the conspiracy of the animals.
MORE: A Conspiracy of Animals