As a cycle tripper, people often ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of trucks or robbers or snakes or whatever?” Lions and tigers and bears, essentially — mythical fears.
The question often surprises me because I think my greatest fear is enslavement by fear.
This dawned on me this morning as i was commuting from the lake where i’ve set up camp, to Kerang where i come to work.
I remembered the question and thought, Sure i’m a little bit afraid of those things — i have a natural and healthy wariness of them. But i cycle because i value freedom, i camp because i cherish nature as a cathedral, and i trust people because i’m a philanthrope — i love humanity.
The alternative, which i experienced for a decade in publishing and i guess the twenty years before that, is no longer tenable to me.
The alternative to freedom is the enslavement of fear.
No thanks! I’ll try my luck with the lions and tigers and bears.
in which i discuss pooing and Buddhism with one breath
I just used my hands and a teaspoon to dig a hole in someone’s yard so i could take a dump, like some humanoid-cat-dog hybrid. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I am also sun-drying mushrooms on Massive’s back rack because they began to attract ants and sweat inside their stupid-plastic container. They were already reduced for quick sale. Should i eat them? I don’t know. Dodgy mushrooms have a bad reputation. I was going to make mushroom dhal.
deceptive lead image
This experience (the pooing one) is something that i’m proud of when, according to society’s standards of respectability, i should feel ashamed.
I feel proud because a vague reason i’m doing this Berri to Somewhere cycle tour is i knew it would force me to be more resourceful than i generally am. Also, one of my main men, Milan Kundera, convinced me long ago that we need to start talking about poo if we can ever hope to escape a life of kitsch.
I wonder what it says about me that i should feel proud for shitting in someone’s backyard because it makes me feel resourceful. It is a vague consolation for me that part of this experience is also about exploring the idea of “respectability”, which is (sort of, i think) one of the Eight Worldly Concerns described in the Dhammapada and expounded upon at length by Osho.