Raven 121: Shaking the Tree

Mess with something, and you get poked and pricked. Did the thing do that, or did you do it to yourself? Where is responsibility -- and what?

Raven called a special meeting of the Tallspruce community to announce that Porcupine was to become a teacher.
"Porcupine has shaken the old crab-apple tree and brought down some tasty little fruits," she said solemnly. "He'll share them if you like."
Black Bear said, "I'm afraid I'll get poked with his quills."
Raven said, "That's the risk."
Mole said, "I'd like to hear from Porcupine."
Porcupine said, "Actually, I don't poke. You poke yourself."
Black Bear said, "How can I avoid poking myself?"
Porcupine said, "Don't mess with me."
Teachers and students, friends and lovers,
Robins, glaucous macaws,
The local stream, the distant hills, the vast ocean,
The trees: oak and birch, poplar and larch,
Pine, cedar, dogwood, and all the rest,
And all the rest, the great blue planet:
To love is not to seek to merge,
Nor to embrace, nor to be embraced by,
But to be infused with the vivid certainty
That separation never happened and couldn't.
The fact is already accomplished,
Teachers and students, friends and lovers.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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