First I put rat #4 out of my misery under the glare of the back porch light.
Then I went out into a world of twittering birds and chirping crickets, where a crescent moon floated on apricot clouds above sparkly Venus, and the rising sun burned a crimson path through lavender clouds brooding over a placid ocean.
And always, in the background or foreground, was the sound of crowing roosters.
“Your rooster is late,” said a very amused 9 a.m. caller from Oahu yesterday as a wild rooster crowed, repeatedly and loudly, right outside my window.
“No, I said, “they go all day and half the night. They have no sense of time.”
In fact, the five or six hours from sunset ‘til round about midnight are probably the only times you’re unlikely to hear a rooster crowing on Kauai. It’s more pronounced if you live near a fighting chicken farm, as I do, times two.
The other day I stopped by a friend’s house in Kapahi and was stunned by how many fighting roosters had moved in right next door — maybe a hundred, each tethered to its own little A-frame.
It takes a lot of time to keep up that many birds. You’ve got to feed, water, exercise and train them. Of course, it’s a felony now to fight them, but hey, if you want to raise game birds in the ag district, that’s your right.
I didn’t ask if he got any sleep.
Besides, it’s all about awakening, anyway — isn’t it?
Which is why I tuned in to Oprah.com yesterday evening to see and hear spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle lead the world’s largest class on the topic of personal awakening. (You can watch it on that site.)
Being a lone wolf, I usually avoid crowds, but there I was among some 500,000 people from 139 countries around the world who had tuned in at the same time to a live Web event to hear Tolle — author of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” — talk about expanding human consciousness.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Oprah bubbled. “I don’t think there’s anything more important than awakening and also knowing what your purpose is.”
I tend to agree. Much as I am immersed in environmentalism and politics, I don’t see either changing the world as much as it needs to be changed, or healing all the many ills that ail us. It’s gotta start with a shift in human consciousness.
I’ve read both of Tolle’s books and they, along with Anthony DeMello’s “Awareness,” profoundly affected me. In short, they reminded me that we humans can transcend our ego-based state of unconsciousness and move beyond the dysfunctional patterns that trap us.
The challenge is not recognizing that value — although some still aren’t ready or willing to “get it” — but remaining awake amid the barrage of busyness, pop culture, old patterns, negative thoughts and socio-economic forces that continually conspire to put us back to sleep.
Maybe the wild roosters have a better sense of time than I give them credit for. Maybe they know we humans need to be exhorted at every moment of every day to “wake up, wake up, wake up.”
Or as the marvelous poet Rumi wrote:
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you;
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want;
Don't go back to sleep.”