Straw Flowers

Straw Flowers
"Straw Flowers" by L. Folk

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tending a Fire

I meditated this morning and the first thing that appeared in my head was the long blue (pale and steely, like the ocean) ranch across from our house in New Jersey. The Kelleys lived there and the seven years that we lived across from them, we never met any of them. We saw them from time to time, the son who drove a small car, perhaps a Toyota, blue like the house. He had long hair; my father probably thought he smoked dope. We were neighbors and yet, had no reason to know one another. Perhaps the Kelley's house is a metaphor for the impersonal, for disconnection, the disconnection common to winter.

After the Kelley's house came the boulders. My father hauled them to the edge of our front lawn to serve as a deterrent after some idiot did donuts and tore up the grass. Are they a metaphor for protection? I have been realizing as of late how blessed my husband and I are, by our children, by our belongings, house, and property. We don't realize our own vulnerability, being so close to the street. So far, I've only had to pick up the cigarettes people toss into my flowers.

After that, the wooden path to the Taylor's. I had walked it a thousand times, and dreamed of it; I flew over it, just a few feet off the ground, where I could still see every root and rock. Metaphor? Ahh, we may dream, but we are bound by gravity, by reality; we can only get so high.

A kitten with its paper bones, soft fir, warm vibrations. In Glaspell's Trifles, Mrs. Peters recalls how a boy "took a hatchet, and before <her> eyes"...And then I saw Denise's hawk, the curved beak and stoic eye after it had killed her rabbit. She told the bird she wanted to be there for the eating, and it did wait for her. She wanted to see it to understand, to know, and not have mystery to contend with; the mystery would make it worse. This is a very Buddhist thing, to not give the mind the ammunition of mystery, to make understanding a priority.

Why do these horrid images come up? It's the slaying of the innocent, and on some level, it happens to every one of us. There are reptilian forces out there. They have no empathy; they have no loving-kindness, and it's best to be aware of them. Gaining awareness is the mark of maturity.


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