Sunday, June 19, 2005

Garden as Metaphor

Like a kite
a buzzard soars
across my April sky
sun filtered through immense wings as
the winds of spring guide his flight
on skies painted
with scudding clouds

As long as there have been Gardens, they have been a metaphor for Life. From the first harvested grains of wheat, barley
and hops, humans have seen the earth and what grows from it as an understanding of birth, fertility, death and renewal.
Our springs are joyous celebrations of the awakening, our summers bear the fruit of the crops, autumn brings an end to
the cycle while winter gives the deep sleep of death. Yet each spring our hearts rise with the flowing sap, the smells of awakening soils, with the appearance of shoots and buds, the songs of mating birds. We feel the chains of our cold
inhibited lives fall from our limbs and like the burgeoning plant life, the sun's energy can be felt within our own legs and arms and minds.
We each remember, at differing times of the year the sweet and juicy taste of a sun warmed tomato and anxiously await to experience that taste again.
Life is like our garden. We grow to a maturity of the body which sings siren songs of longing and desire. We abandon dreams for the warmth of another spirit joined to our own, even with full awareness that we are promised no more than
this day.

In the garden we set the rows for beans and spinach, for tomatoes and squash, for tarragon and basil; our backs ache,
the plants thrive, their beauty admired dressed in evening dew. We nurture the garden, give freely water and food as it is required knowing our dedication will be compensated when we again have the taste of sweet, juicy tomato dripping from
our chins.
All is transitory, yet treasured in the garden. Why then do we not treasure life in the same manner? We hold ourselves separate from that which we love, with the hope that when it is gone, our wounds will not be so deep. Why do we not nurture all that is life; our loves, our neighbors, those who we may never know, yet who may be the light of the world?
We can no more expect from a squash plant an ear of corn. Why then do we expect the impossible from life? We hold
our loves to standards that are often unattainable, our disappointments mount, we can not be in love with such confined, unchangeable organisms.

Yes. autumn holds sadness as it is a sign of the oncoming winter sleep of death. But we expect it, we know we can not
hold it back any more than we can hold back the night and it's veil of stars or the ocean and it's vast volumes of water. When death is upon us, upon our loves, we raise fist to sky and ask of our gods "Why?".
If our gods had mouths to answer, surely they would say "How not?"
Should there not be joy in dying just as there is joy in being born? Should we not stand in awe of the fruition of children leaving home and finding a place in the world that is their own?
A great gear wheel turns the earth and spins our planet on it's axis: ever changing are the seasons and the gifts they bring
to us. Our fortune is not to be found in taking only what is expeditious today, but in feasting on it's variety and ever changing menu.
Like the soaring buzzard of spring, I find equal joy in the angel wing print of a night hunting owl in the snow outside my door. When I think I have lost sight of the buzzard, or the owl, when I close my eyes and see with my inner vision I find
they both live at the core of my metaphor for life.

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