This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What a Wonderful World


When before the beauty of a sunset or a mountain, you pause and exclaim, 'Ah,'
you are participating in divinity." -Joseph Campbell

When I came in last night I deposited that part of me that is backside upon the top step of the back stairs. My hope was that I would see some bats, the Cirque de Soleil (as it were) of the Night Sky. I saw them two weeks ago, wheeling and darting across that part of the night hanging directly over my mulberry tree and the barn out back.

There were no bats last night, or perhaps I had missed them, but I did notice that Pansy (yes, I name my plants!) was a little dry. Pansy has an interesting story. I was walking Fionn one night about a month ago, and as we reached the front of the Stoneham Public Library (closed more often than not these days-- can someone tell me why we have the money to wage war, but not to keep our libraries open?) Fionn lunged at something on the sidewalk. I pulled him back, then stooped to retrieve whatever it was. It was a pansy plant, without a pot, shriveled and mostly dead on the sidewalk. How in the world it got there, who can say? Someone must have tossed it out of somewhere. At any rate I picked it up, put it in my pocket, and brought it home. Once there I soaked it in water, chanted to it (thanks for the tip, Dan Shea!) then planted it in a fresh new pot. The next morning it had revived completely, and now it is beside itself with bloom. Everytime I water it, or hold it up in its pot to admire it, I can feel this little rush of love and gratitude coming at me-- no kidding. Its flowers are white, with a bright yellow eye. Happy little thing. Anyway, last night, like many other living things on a Saturday night on Planet Earth, Pansy was dry, so I went in to get the watering can. I figured most of my other plants were a bit dry as well, so I watered everything. I suppose I have thirty of forty potted plants scattered here and there, either on the front steps, the back steps, or the front porch, with more being added every day. I suppose I'm like one of those eccentric old folks, with 40 cats in the house, when it comes to plants. Then I figured, well, as long as I'm gardening now, I'll plant a few petunias and lantana that I've been meaning to plant. This is like at 10:30 on a Saturday night, and me in bliss.

At one point when I was walking out front, I happened to look up at the clearing sky and WHOOSH! there was a beautiful shooting star, streaking its magnificence across the zenith. Make a wish? You betcha, as that wolf-killing creature from Alaska is wont to say. Can't tell, you know-- it won't come true if you do. On my return trip back toward the house, something else caught my eye, in the woods behind the house. One here, then another-- could it be? yes! Fireflies! A little early, but cead mile failte (KAYD MIL-uh FAW-cha, a hundred thousand welcomes, as we say in the Mother tongue). And then you stand there, one hand on a beauty-addled head, and you wonder: What have I done to deserve such munifence? Such beauty? I hopped into the bed of my pick-up, stretched out, and watched the firefly dance around me and above me. Fifty feet away, Main Street roared away on its Saturday night river of racket-- motorcycles, the bass-thud of gangsta rap in the young'uns cars-- and here I lay, at the edge of the woods, staring up at fireflies. Fifty feet away. The dichotomy of that always amazes me.

The only possible response to this is a giddy joy, a deep gratitude, a senseless admiration-- sober nearly eight years now, I nevertheless found myself once again drunk on a Saturday night, but this time on firefly dance, and the stars answering back, in twirling sympathy.

3 Comments:

OpenID berlinorama said...

Oh lucky you! What a wonderful tale, and the rescue of the pansy was delightful. Have a gorgeous Whitsuntide!

6:36 AM  
Blogger Shimmer said...

This was exceptionally lovely.

I'm an old (OLD) friend of Berlinorama's... I live in Medford. Would love to attend one of your drumming circles some day.

Warmest wishes,

Shimmer

11:28 PM  
Blogger CK said...

Beautiful!

10:37 AM  

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