The dentist says I have to have my wisdom teeth extracted. She says there’s all sorts of bone loss and infection and if I don’t have them out I will lose my other teeth and probably die. But I have started an alternative therapy. I have been cultivating fly larvae. I grow them in buckets of stagnant water on my porch. When they hatch into maggots, I scoop out handfuls and fill my mouth with them. The maggots are small enough to crawl into the tiniest crevices surrounding my teeth, even down under my gums through any cavities. They eat all of the bacteria and infected flesh. I am very careful not to swallow them, or too many of them; it’s impossible not to swallow a few.
Every night, I put a handful of my maggots in my mouth and lie motionless on my back in bed for half an hour to 45 minutes. I try not to fall asleep during this procedure because the maggots would make their way down my throat and suffocate. I love my maggots.
I have initiated symbiotic relationships with other species as well. When I’m feeling stuffed up at night, I open a tiny door that I built in the corner by my bed. It releases the ants. When I’m asleep, they stream into my bedroom, up my bedposts, over my blanket and pillow and into my nose. They remove any mucus , especially the dried bits deep in my nasal passageways that make it difficult to breath. They march back to their home in the wall with these little bits of my humors and I sleep very soundly, breathing easily.
This time of year, the deer can really use some extra salt. And so, early in the morning, I sit very still on a chair by the edge of the woods and I cry. The deer have learned that it is safe to come to me to lick my tears. I pour all of my emotion into crying for the deer. When they are done, I don’t have any sadness left in me.
People are more used to relationships with animals in which the animal is farmed. We feed the cows and take their milk; we house and feed the chickens and eat their eggs. My relationships to animals is similar, only I let them farm me. I also feed the plants near my house by composting my bodily waste. And why not? To flush it away would be the real waste.
I am old now. Soon, my body will give out. I regret that I will no longer be of use to my animal and plant friends. But, I do plan to give my last measure of energy to the predators and scavengers who live deeper in the woods. I will feed my body to them, and when they have their fill, the tiny decomposers will do the rest.
There is something else that I give to the life around me, besides my physical body, and that is love. Each day, I try my best to project feelings of love, compassion, healing and safety to the life around me, because that is what I think those feelings are in me for.
When I was young, I lived in the city. I tried to give of myself to people. I wrote stories and songs, but nobody cared. I invented ways to make homes safer for children, but no one was interested. I fell in love with a woman who didn’t trust me, and so she would not accept all of my love.
I was disconnected. Now, I am connected.