Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blame it on the Tetons

When we think of autumn we instantly recall a few of our favorite scents: cinnamon, clove, allspice, bonfires, dying leaves, roasted gourds like pumpkin and butternut squash. Autumn is the royal carpet for sister Winter. He spreads his leaves among the earth, flashes the richest of colors -- blazing flags of burnt orange, golden yellow, and deep red. It is my favorite time of year.

It's also a time of dying. It's inherent in the season. Things begin to fade like watercolors running down a page. Though the colors are bursting with flame, they will slowly darken into hues of caramel, as their spines grow brittle and eventually, break.

Is it a breaking free? Is it a blowing out, like a candle into the night? I thinka lot about these deeper, more subtle questions as the season turns. There is the death of a young kitten behind me now, and the death of my grandmother not far ahead. One can't help but contemplate this remarkable, tragic, and eternal mystery. Death. What is it? There is so much fear, so many hushed breaths, hovering around the word. And yet, I recall the moment I witnessed my other grandmother die. I remember how I smiled as her last breath moved through me. It was terribly beautiful, just at the same moment as it rips your heart out. The Great Mother devours her children, one by one.

The many Buddhas of the world call this the Impermanence. It's an innate, natural truth of existence. Everything is impermanent. I long to know, what IS permanent? Is there anything lasting? Isn't there anything that leaves a stain, that remains stable, that exists in the infinite? The Buddhas would say this is emptiness, and space. These are the only permanent, infinite things. Yet emptiness and space contain all things, including them all in their infinity. The rational side of me wants to deny this as contradictory, but a more subtle knowing knows the truth in it's multiplicity.

I return to the human nature in me. I sit, legs crossed, in the corner by a candle. I tuck one foot beneath me, one foot on top, resting the body in half lotus. I sit in the stillness, with the body, with the heart, with the breath. And I notice that everything sits here with me. My sorrow, my loss, my happiness, my elation, my peace, my greif, my anxiety, my gratefulness.

1 comment:

  1. you're back! welcome. and thank you so much for your insight and your way with words. I think often about death, too, as it is such a mystery.