Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cereus Milagros

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

Denise Levertov

Here is another old post worth sharing as I hopefully recover the use of my hand, which makes it hard to write anything new.   I couldn't help "updating" it a bit, but I still like it. 

One of the loveliest secrets of the desert is the mystical Night Blooming Cereus. This cactus only blooms for one night. To encounter a Cereus on a velvet hot desert  night is a magical event...........they were made to bloom in moonlight, to be seen with "night vision", which is very different from day vision.  

Rare, wonderful, how can there be such  "Milagros"?  I remember a man named Brian Bean saying to me, at a summer barbeque, "This is it.  It's July 17th, 1996.  This will never come again."  He pointed to the ground, the sky, and himself.   And he was profoundly right.  Each day will never, ever come again. I'll never see Brian Bean again, or that place, or that time.  His comment causes that particular day to re-surface, both its gift and its loss.  Even as I remember that day,  I see all the lost  domestic magnificence of a summer day in upstate New York, humid light filtering through red maple leaves, the smell of barbecue, my ex-husband's voice as he pressed my shoulder and handed me a plate of corn on the cob.  All of that is gone, long gone now, irretrievably gone except within the reservoir of  memory......even "my" husband, who is someone else's husband now.  What, and where,  is the "I" indeed?

Living in this extraordinary time when so much is endangered, and so much is also possible.............I find I have less and less use for abstractions.   The world is too full, and too precious, to waste in abstractions that remove us from the shimmering web of life in the here and now.  I know full well that my own life continues to become shorter, that my sight or smell or hearing will no doubt diminish, that those Goddess given pleasures are, as Denise Levertov wrote, to be "tasted and seen".  Because it will never be July 22nd, 2020 again.

 "Grief, mercy, language, tangerine, weather, to breathe them, bite, savor, chew, swallow, transform into our flesh....." All a privilege, all an exchange, all about reciprocity.  All a pilgrimage, if you chose to look at it that way.  What are the touchstones along the way..

I've had a dream of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain as a  Peregrino for many years.  My pilgrimage would (maybe) end at the great Cathedral in Compostella, or maybe at Finisterre, "the end of the world", and I think I would not be making it to visit the bones of Saint James, but rather, to follow the ancient path of the Black Madonna.   I would go to Compostella to be "composted".   I don't actually think a goal, or a purpose, is all that necessary to the Way anyway, which is why I loved the film "The Way" with Martin Sheen.    The Journey is the Reward. 

It seems to me that extraordinary events are going on all around us, miraculous occasions of great beauty, or astounding mystery, of supernatural and wonderfully natural solace, all the time.  My injury, and age, and of course the Corona virus quarentine has forced me to slow down, listen and look, be contemplative, re-member.  One is often so busy being somewhere else, preoccupied with "abstractions" about life, that we miss the everyday Milagros, given, and given, and given. These are the days of "miracles and wonder, the long distance call" as Paul Simon put it..  I think there is great solace in seeing that, even now, even here, in a time that is in such chaos, we are still daily blessed  "on the Camino".

1 comment:

Trish MacGregor said...

If you're updating, then you're using that hand, right? Yay! Keep doing it.