Since it’s dawn, 2023 has been a year of funerals. Not that I haven’t had some wonderful times already, but the funerals services that dot the landscape are constant reminders that this particular vessel has an expiration date. On last evening, as I am visiting relatives in a nearby city, I was watching the news with them. I never watch the news at home. Reel after reel, there were reports on tragedy after tragedy, stacked up to a hope crushing plethora of what is wrong with our world.
My mind traveled back to last weekend as I walked barefoot in the grass around the 40 acre estate to clear my head and ground myself. I picked and sniffed tiny wild hyacinth blooms, enjoying the cool grass beneath my feet springing anew from the earth in patternless patches of green. Life again rising up from the drying effects of winters clutch. I looked down and saw the fanned out wings of a small bird. Neatly positioned in the center of the symmetrical design was its skull, perfectly whitened and cleaned like some tiny movie prop. I knelt down on both knees and retrieved the skull with a small stick. The tiny brown beak protruded from the whitened form of the skull. Even in this state, there was a beauty and mystery present. Some time ago this creature had been airborne, flying high in the sky from place to place, experiencing life. Now the remains, the vessel lay in the budding grass, spirit departed, shell left to return to the earth from whence it came. This is the cycle, I was reminded. The cycle of life.
A few steps over, a ladybug emerged with the most intense colors, I ve ever seen. It crested a blade of grass and crossed over to my outstretched hand and rested there. I observed in that moment the simple miraculous stages. The dead stick, the hyacinth reaching upward, the moving ladybug, and the skull of the bird. I took out my phone and suspended the moment in time. The lady bug was shy and opted out of the photo. My mind shifted gears and the prompting to count it all joy came over me. I thought of the Yowa, also known as Kongolese cosmogram – the wheel of life that encompasses the physical and spiritual worlds. The two hemispheres are equally divided with as much on one side as the other. In the center we find the crossroads. At times we all catch glimpses of the space called the crossroads.
I took a deep breath of gratitude and made a conscious decision to enjoy the parts of life that I will while I can. Realizing that each aspect of our experience is part of the cycle and not all will bring smiles. Tears are also ingredients in the recipe. Nevertheless it our recipe to mix and experience as we choose, to see what we see, and live as we will…as the world turns.
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