July 22, 2008

Emerald Parakeets

I finished Widening Circles, by Joanna Macy. There is grace and gratitude throughout, and passion; sensuous, lyrical paintings vibrant with color, sound and fragrance; so much richness springing from her fingers onto the page. Some examples:
... the tears I feel... come from the presence I feel all around me - its flaming emptiness, its freedom....I beheld the shapes of things, their colors and textures. I saw how they all fit together, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle once they find their place. Everywhere I looked I saw contours meeting, greeting, full of happy secrets, one about the other... Now plays of light, color, scent brought starts of recognition and pleasure - as if my beloved were continually adorning himself for my delight.... Sometimes I seemed to sense my body from the outside, how its form and skin must feel to air, light, cotton dress. I thought, maybe it doesn't matter where you draw the line between in and out, self and other, even weakness and strength. These differences are but touch points in the dance of complementarity; like epidermal surfaces, they allow encounter and caress...A light rain spattered as I bathed in the well... In and out, above, below - how odd and intricate this dance. I remembered what the poet M. C. Richards had said once about solitude: "Learn to move in the world as if it were your lover."
But by the very plans I had devised with John, I wasn't allowed to stay sitting there as a human, marooned in human culpability. As the others had I moved back from the center to the periphery, to see and speak from that wider context. From here we could see more clearly the isolation in which the humans imagine themselves to exist, and the fear that seizes them - a fear that generates greed and panic. For our own survival we - all beings - must help them. Could we help these twentieth century humans, the way we helped Arther pull the sword form the stone?
It is such a luxury to reflect at length on those who have graced our lives. Soon our concerns and intentions for them give way to thanksgiving for their existence; to see their qualities afresh is like opening a present on Christmas morning....Soon they seem to be walking beside us in the bright, green morning. I pretend they can see through my eyes the emerald parakeets swooping by the red hibiscus blossoms and feel through my soles how the marble cools in the shade.