Sunday, April 16, 2017

4/17/17—Feeding the Duck

The duck, filled with Kizzie hair.
My boy Kizzie is a Chow Chow/Australian Shepherd mix. Which means he's a big furball who is one part matted, one part shedding and one part devilishly handsome.

Most nights when we sit on the front porch watching the sunset, I'll reach into his mane and pull out the matt-like hair plugs that would render him unkempt if he didn't have a mommy with a hair plug pulling fetish. Sitting on the porch steps beside us, there is a cute watering can that looks like a duck. It's useless as a watering can, so at one point I started putting all Kizzie's hair plugs in there. One day I noticed all the accumulated locks were gone. So we've been feeding the duck ever since.

After years of doing this, my assumptions about what happens to the hair were finally confirmed. I looked out the window one day and saw a bird with a beakful of Kizzie fur. During nesting season, I can't keep the duck full. You wouldn't believe the wad of hair that accumulates over winter and it just disappears overnight when the birds are building their nests. After the winter fur is gone, we make daily deposits. And the birds make daily withdrawals.

Kizzie filled with Kizzie hair.
I'm pretty sure the birds spread the word around. No single nest in the world is big enough for all that fur, so it's clearly shared by many. There are probably some squirrels in on the action, too. And now that they know to look for it, they check the duck year after year, and day after day during nesting season. In fact, they know they can find it there year round if they need it and, periodically, the supply will be depleted.

I told Kizzie a story about how they like his fur because he's so masculine that it makes them feel safe and protected. And I told him that birds pass information down through generations, so 100 years from now, some baby bird will hear the legend of the dog that left fur deposits in the duck. As much as Kizzie hates me messing with his locks, he tolerates my picks and pokes. He does it for his legacy. And he does it for the birds.

Same duck, next day. Devoid of hair.
This week I learned that my Deck of 1000 Spreads is going out of print. It was a slow seller. (Get em before they're gone.) Thousands of people have one, though. One day it will be traded and sold among collectors. Some will covet their copy while others unload theirs to the first buyer. It did make me feel like I was leaving a legacy to the tarot world—a world I, at various times, considered a folly, an obsession, a religion, an albatross and a friend. Now that legacy, as slow selling as it was, will slowly fade.

I know that all sounds dramatic. I'll admit I shed a couple of tears, but I'm taking this as I always took it...with a certain amount of detachment. Upon writing it, my goal was to set it free without expectations, without ego. And I surprised even myself by accomplishing that. I would have thought it would have meant more to me in the ways that please the ego. I mean, I'm always talking about writing a more mainstream kind of thing and becoming a famous author and guru. You'd think I would have wrapped myself up in this more emotionally, but I didn't. And that has been an incredible gift to me, because while I think you should take pride in your work, you shouldn't be overly proud about your work. I suppose 30 years as a professional writer taught me something.

I think about my legacy from time to time. A professor I interviewed recently told me that they saw teaching as akin to passing tribal knowledge down to a new generation and that their lessons live on in that way. Kind of a cool thought. Which makes me ask myself, is it more important that people grow from my words, or that they know the words were mine? Is it more important the birds know the legend of some dog who donated his hair to their nests, or is it more important they know his name was Kizzie? Ideally, both would be nice. But the magic and greatness and gift is in the gesture—the sharing, the energy given and received.

I accept that nobody will go on Ancestry 100 years from now wondering if they got their moxie from me...haha. I have no lineage to pass a legacy down through in that way. Even if I do become a known author, my name and the details of my being will eventually get lost to time. It happens to the vast majority of us eventually. But the times I moved another person and got them to question themselves live on in the energy that vibrates and rises as a result of that learning. And I don't even have to write a book to claim that legacy, because so many of you have told me that my blogs have made you think and learn.

There are sparks that we ignite—and douse—over a lifetime. The more sparks we ignite, the more lessons we pass down and the more nests we feather, the more magic we create. I feel like, when you weigh my good vibes against my bad,  the net accounting of my contribution to humanity's greater good has been positive so far and it will continue to grow until I die.

Like Kizzie, I look for ways to get extra credit from time to time. Because a century from now, our names will be lost to history (or perhaps some internet archives), but what we do—what you do—that's positive (or at least better than yesterday) is an energy that brings up everyone around us. And the legacy of that reverberates forever.