Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nearly Spring

Alongside the path between the frozen garden and the frozen studio door, a maple leaf-shaped tunnel bores into about eight inches of snow. At the bottom, seen best by aligning your eye with the direction of the leaf-shaped hole, you see a small maple leaf, plunging toward the ground like a paraglider in free fall. It's a distant brown, a far cry from the bright red it was a few weeks ago, maybe more than a few weeks ago. This skeleton of life has but one job yet to do before disintegrating into compost and giving up all the parts, all the elements, all the love. So she sails down through a slowly melting patch of snow and ice, frozen water, little interrupted raindrops yet on their way to the ground, kinda like those slow-motion scenes on TV and the computer as the camera pans 360 and the drops are frozen in mid air. Now, if you saw everything in infra red how odd wouldn't everything be? Same frozen bundles of water, same slow motion paraglider, same soil beneath awaiting, but now it's all in red and black and shades between. In the summer there will be yellows and whites, but for now the world is in darker tones. The sun in the sky is a white dot surrounded by a orange haze and trees still cast shadows. The face of the man in the black jacket is yellow with a white gob in the lower middle, and plumes of slowly fading yellow coming out of the mass. The man would appear to be a specter, glowing in the shadows of winter. And you know some poor slob of a life form gets that as it's main visual input. Maybe rattlesnakes get their attitude from that viewpoint.
The maple leaf has no reason to know that the water alongside it is at 32 degrees or that water at this temperature expands slightly and with great concentration since it has no water to speak of to worry about. So it just catches what light streams down the hole behind it and aims for the earth, an easy target. The drops of water may be distracted by their frozen condition, but the important thing is that they are on their way to the earth, to sink into her skin, explore the dark unknown and return to the air as the breath of a maple tree.
For Her part, what does the Earth think of all this? She must be itching to get going with all that growing stuff She does so well. Still, if each season was an eye blink to the Great Mother, then a year might be a few seconds. Maybe She pays more attention than that. Maybe each day is like a heartbeat, a second of Her time. So sixty seconds, a minute is about two months. A season would be a minute and a half, a year is six minutes more or less. She sees us for eighty years or so which translates into 480 minutes or eight hours. One day of sunlight and then we pass into the dark night. Well, you can certainly see how the Great Mother might have Her favorites from time to time, but by and large we must look pretty much the same to Her by now. For our part we should pay attention to the brilliant metaphor offered by an Earth-centered paradigm.
Our day upon the Earth is starting when we are barely more than a drop of squirming chemicals and tissues. We can't feed or protect ourselves, we can't communicate our needs and we wipe ourselves out fussing so much that we sleep most of the time. Our potential does not appear for quite some time, about noon I guess. But in the Dawn of our day when all is dim and quiet, we are helpless. Only Love preserves our life, and Love is one of Her great epiphanies. When we are capable of doing something noteworthy to our Mother most of the time we do something in the way of changing something into something else and or moving something from one place to another. We dig holes and stack rocks, sometimes lining them up. We kill far more than we can eat and we do it when we aren't even hungry. We do this under a hot noon day sun, working up a sweat, moving air and water around. We plant things, we let them grow, then we kill them and
eat them. We are just like all the other living things that move across their Mother under the Sun. She shines down upon us, She supports us with Her form, She feeds us from Her flesh and Her blood. There's more than enough of Her to go around if we just respect Her and not screw things up.

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