Monday, November 01, 2010

shifting mosaics

The bones of the earth are stones and from those stones comes soil and from that soil comes life. And life grows and spreads seed and dies back, and feeds the dirt. Here we are in this vast theater of biological mosaics spreading and shifting across the planet. Water and wind move us around like galactic puppet strings, and we hustle and bustle here and there to make some sort of mark on the universe, our own special note. Why is it that we strive to leave something behind, is it because we fear the vast darkness of the night or are we simply biologically programmed to procreate and produce offspring of one sort or another? In this mystery we wander.

How do we go about our days as if they are endless? Maybe because they are, as each moment stretches onward forever beyond what we understand with our animal bodies. How does the small sapling or tiny yearling survive in this maelstrom of cold and dark, hunger and pain? The sunlight warms it up and it grows, and with the growth comes strength, and the strength renews commitment to life.  In this interglacial period we do not see the awe of endless ice, but we don't know what the earth has in store for us after so much tinkering with the climate by mankind. We think we are strong with our steel infrastructure, but a howling breeze can bring it all down in a second. Like the christian bible story says, don't build your house on sand, build it on rock, but the problem is that all rock will become sand at some point. In the long scheme of things we all become bits of stardust floating around the universe. How is this so?

I watched the dried out grass stems waving in the breeze yesterday as the earth slowly turned my little patch of land away from the sun. The enlightened trees became dark and the cold crept up from the earth into the bones of my hand, and I began to walk back to the house to warm up. As I walked I reflected on the impermanence of all things, and how we think of the dead as apart from us.  But what we are really is the sum of all that has gone before us, the dead live on within, a part of us, nourishing us in different ways. The grass can become fodder for the goats and their milk and meat can nourish our bodies, their hides can warm our flesh, their bones can provide us with tools. The old tree, after years of hard endless work, producing carbohydrates and converting oxygen to carbon, after years of work and endless infinitesimal organic actions in this world, shading, sheltering, blocking wind, directing rain, the trees gorgeous symphony of life ends but does not end. It continues onward in the life of the soil, the bacteria and fungal webs, it topples over and we can go out with our metal machines and cut it up into pieces to burn and keep us warm through our mini ice age. Here we have eternal life, all around us, every day. 

And when those we love pass on we mourn, our hearts heavy as boulders. But they live on within us as long as we live on with them in our hearts, and the nourishment they provided with their love, grace, compassion, friendliness continues on in our lives...even the negative things about them enlighten us so that we learn to not let those things live in our lives, as our lives are to precious to waste on garbage. We need to ferment ourselves to a perfect compost that enriches everything around us, but it is so easy to get out of balance. 

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