Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wholly New...

I settle in to write the story. Hang its bones with flesh, fat, "miraculous organs." I wrap winter around me like a blanket--white snow a buffer against all sound, all activity. I am this story. I learn to love the winter. Love the cold that leaves me leaning into these interiors, these warm pockets of living. I lean, too, into my language, each syllable a gift, a "new arrival" that means the story grows. The story goes. It becomes me.

I look around me and there is this difference: I have finally learned patience. After yearning so long, just like that. I arrive at stillness. My longing is a soft undercurrent, no longer a raging river tearing at roots and tumbling stones as it spills itself headlong toward the sea. Oh. What sweet respite from wanting.

I learn to sustain this light, let it burn down slowly, the thin and enfolding flame of a candle. "I can see for miles, miles, miles," he croons. Indeed, the distance is great.

I determine to craft, draw in the lines of the lungs, the veins and arteries. The heart itself I will endow with muscular pulsing. Life. I will line the flesh with marbled fat, just enough, and enclose it with the largest organ of all. When I stand it up, it will breathe, and I will recognize it as my twin. Beauty I never believed in.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bonsai Soul

I have begun to understand the soul as much like a bonsai's higher self, God within as it were, as a sort of bonsai artist. I have learned that bonsai artistry is a lifelong clipping and shaping, watering and monitoring--light and soil and air. Bonsai tree growing, then, involves all of the elements, even fire in that it is from the belly of the artist that the flame of passion arises and from that fire that each intention lifts itself and takes the shape of action: pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting.

The tree of the soul grows from source material--a cutting or perhaps a seedling--not from a genetically dwarfed or altered tree but rather from the real deal. The regular stock and seed of the full-sized Tree in all its glory. Source material indeed.

The purpose of bonsai is twofold: contemplation (for the viewer) and the mindful exercise of effort and energy (for the grower). I realize then, that each action I take in the effort toward understanding, nurturing and directing the growth of my soul is another way I attend to that tree, a perfectly miniature version of its Source.

I therefore know each individual as such an artist and each soul as the thing that grows as a result of  perfect intent. Left to its own devices it would become unruly, grow beyond its bounds, or else diminish to the point of disease or even perishing.

I consider the implications of this and decide that I can only be a contemplative viewer of the bonsais that surround me. As for my own bonsai tree, I must attend to it minutely, each limb, each tiny leaf a reflection of my care and the way I hope to grow it. I must love it up, the way I am loving up my children. And I must trust in the power of my love to make it worthy, finally, of its Source, of being a sliver of that light in this world. An island of serenity in this life.