The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.
Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made
is star-stuff too?
– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –
dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.
Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
peaches & ashes (with tideline)
~~~ I've been thinking recently about a phrase that Robert Bly uses in Iron John: 'the road of ashes'. It's a kind of turning away from ecstasy, pleasure, sensuality; a sort of turning inwards and downwards to face that within us which needs to be mourned, then let go. Strange, that it can rear its head in spring, when everything around us is burgeoning to its ripe pitch. The road of ashes brings a stillness with it that seems at odds with the rush and frenzy of spring. Perhaps winter's shadow hangs around a little longer than we think; a long shadow that needs to be faced and dissolved before we too can ripen towards summer.
Each of us will experience at times the way the path of delight, the way our heart's desires have led us, simply turn to ashes as we watch: the ashes of loss or change; projects we had thought to be the best turning out to be thistledown in our fingers; the way gold turns back to lead through no fault of our own. Underneath all this of course is our natural craving for things to be different from the only way they can be; our demand for permanence and certainty in a world that offers us transience and uncertainty.
We pick the peach, the perfect rose – and, naively expecting it to last, then lament its passing. There's a gap between our dreams and 'reality', however we experience that, that is filled with yearning, with hireath, with our desolation that nothing can last. Sometimes we have to retrace our steps: unpluck the peach, re-approach the tree, notice our motivations, bring more skill or compassion, check our egoic drive to make everything meet our wants. There is an argument that everything is unfolding as it should, whether or not we can see that, whether or not we like it. As Bob Dylan didn't say: 'You might know what you want but you don't always know what you really need.' Outer and inner worlds simply do cycle between order and chaos; through times of fullness and times of emptying out; times of swelling and expanding; times of falling away into ashes and decay. This is how it is.
What is there to do? 'You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.' Pluck the peach that the present moment offers. Enjoy it. Let the experience, with the peach stone, go.
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