Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Pharos, My Beacon

From seemingly time immemorial, we humans have relied on various artifices to help navigate our way in the world, whether literally or metaphorically.

For the physical journey, lighthouses dot the coasts, punctuating darkness with astonishing flare. On land, that ubiquitous green sign dominates our street-scapes and highways.

Talismans of varying sort--rabbit feet, mezuzot, prayer beads, omamori, nazars--keep us safe, ward off evil, bring us health. Scripts, scriptures, sutras, discourses, gospels, hymns, tantras, Vedas, Bibles, Torahs, Korans, Nikayas, and Angas  provide a different kind of navigation for a journey much more intimate, sacred, and personal than many dare admit. That journey is hardly accomplished once a week in a crowded (or, given contemporary proclivities, not so crowded) room with others. Rather, that journey begins each day when we look into the mirror and stare back at the shell and the history and the life and the being that look back at us. And that journey continues each moment in our interactions with others, and is paved or pitted with every gesture or act or engagement in the world. 

We need, in other words, guidance to face the Supreme Mystery. This mystery is not the Divine. No. It is Life.

Life itself is our Supreme Mystery. Each of us must in our unique ways reconcile the Being we inhabit with the world around us. How are we to live is the question that we think all of the talismans, amulets, and sacred texts ultimately answer. 

Sometimes, though, the answer to that question is much more pressing, much more momentary, and actually morphs into another related question: how am I to get through?

This summer has been one of obligations too numerable to think about, and, worse, the production of sub-standard work that has required additional time and labor to rectify my shortcomings. And so I find myself with little time to garden (or blog, hence the paucity of entries of late), and I feel all the worse for it.

Early yesterday morning--ahead of a very busy day--I ventured outside to feed Miss Grey Kitty, and there was my Pharos, my beacon: Rose Mallow. She offered me her first bloom of the season on a day I needed it most.

We do find our amulets in unexpected places. We simply need to be attuned to them, and to know and trust ourselves to intuit and accept the messages they communicate to us.

In this case, stopping to smell the proverbial rose (proverbial indeed: Rose Mallow is only in name a rose, and is rather in the Hibiscus family!) proved my amulet, my talisman, my moment to stop spinning wheels and engage in that which revives me: gardening.

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