Sunday, May 30, 2010
Peonies in Springtime, Bursting with Lifeforce and Inspiration. And an Acceptance of Impermanance, with a Recognition of Grace and the Divine Within.
Prose for Peonies, from Mary Oliver... (also sited in my March 2009 blog)
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
It's been a tough month or two, or three... Rhode Islanders are still recouperating from the flood, but I feel are ready to raise from the murky water to a blooming and abundant summer, full of more preparedness, aka acceptance, patience and Grace, less struggle.
And with spring in full force, inspiration is everywhere- in the life affirming blooms, green grass and fully open leaves. People are on the bike paths and driving less, hiking and surfing more- and not just the internet, but the waves of life and the waves of the Atlantic. Free from the dramatically detrimental Gulf oil spill, we must feel grateful for our still pristine wetlands and shore, and send out our hopes and prayers for the people and wildlife of Louisana. It's a scary time, but one when more than ever we must grasp the eternal, as we accept the impermanant, like a Peonies fleeting beauty.
My father, Allie, has not been well; since early April he has been in the hospital in FL, post op after lung cancer was removed along with two thirds of his right lung. Our Rhode Island and VA family members have been lovingly and sacrificially at his side. I am so grateful for them, and for the time that I was able to go and be with him, if only for a few days. I held his hand, and had mine squeezed all night, while he was in intense pain from an infection. I knew he wanted me there through the night, and I knew that was the only place I wanted to be... with him, and as closely as possible. I still wish I could be there.
I am grateful I was able to speak to him of love and Grace, and to feel his love back so deeply, and to see his smiles between the winces. I heard his whispers over the trache, read his lips, and his often terse or sweet and tender words perseveringly written on a clip board. Ah, he is a courageous one, stubborn as any Swamp Yankee has ever been, but a fighter with a true, and authentic heart, earnestly dedicated to his loved ones. He is also absolutely adorable, with his teddy bear like stuffing, fluctuating with his grizzly bear attitude, and muscular still strong physique. A superman. He's always been a doer for sure, and raised seven children, and a landmark business, while maintaining a loving relationship with my mother for the majority of their over 58 years together. He is still learning to let go of his anger, fear and might, so to reign in God's Grace and ever present compassion. I love my Dad, especially for his mostly positive example; his life is one full of inspiration, and even when I disagree with him, I learn from him.
On Saturday a local farmer brought Peonies to the Alternative Food Coop where I work, and their silky, lace-like beauty impressed me from the start. On Sunday I went back for them, then forgot them at the register. Slowly fading, their example of Shri, like my father's, is staying with me. In my heart, I am knowing how their scent and presence makes me feel even when they are not in sight, like the hero I see my father as, they inspire me. But surely my peonies' petals will wilt, their tips will brown, and the Shri will fade away with the wasting of a picked blossom does, as it is pulled from it's source.
I am memorializing my peonies before their time, but as the weekend of appreciating those whom inspire us, or fight for us, is upon us, my flowers are symbolic of the glory in the jewel like beauty of the presence, that Rumi speaks of. I will always be one with their Grace, because I have known it, and I will always be thankful for our mutual connection-the Shakti within us- that aligns us with the Divine. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti