Tuesday, April 26, 2016

with ears to hear, eyes to see

locust blossoms
 It is time for locust blossom fritters.  Life is punctuated by food and seasons and what is blooming and here it is, punctuated by locust blossoms and time for fritters. 

And one's eye is trained by what is important to it.  If you heat with wood, you will start being aware of firewood.  If you heal with herbs, you will start being aware of the coltsfoot beside the road; aware that this is the first time the birthroots have appeared just right there.  I still remember the year we sold stuff at the farmer's market that I'd taken a few messes of polk weed to sell and a woman bought one, asking how to cook it.  It was explained and I don't really know whether or not she had it or liked it but she came back the next week to tell me that now that she knew what it was, she saw it all over the place.  She rather meant it, I think, as though I'd ripped her off selling her something that grows wild on its own all over the place, but I think she got quite the bargain to become aware of one of the foods surrounding her for a few dollars worth of greens with the instructions on how to cook it!

So I've been watching things blossom as always.  The small things, the wild things:  I am ever more aware of how unimpressed I am with the ostentatious showy plantings than with the wee small subtle wild things.  The year has been particularly brilliant it seems.  The dogwoods have lasted a very long time, being only more beautiful with each day.  I believe I spotted bitty tennessee irises blooming the other day.  Green is moving up the mountain.  I was aware that many of "my" locust trees, the ones that I harvest from, had been cut last year.  They are on public right of way and I don't really know why they were cut but they were.  There are plenty plenty of locust trees but most of them you couldn't harvest a blossom from unless you were a bumblebee or a butterfly -- too tall.  But rights of way are often good places to find them because they are places the locust trees are reclaiming, and they are small enough to give their blossoms willingly to the human who asks.

I am that human, and "my" place of easily harvestable locust blossoms had gone from a plethora of trees down to a handful.  I'd been watching.  I stopped today, parked, unfurled my Walmart bag to collect them in, swang out my pocketknife, and walked across the highway.  Nope, those are waaaaay out of my reach after all.  Ok.  Ah, but there on the other side is a great looking tree, just one within reach but two trees there.  I harvest a whole bunch there.  It was quiet, not much buzzing, not much traffic.  I found one more tree at the lake access to get some from and then moved on to the next pull-over place, quite near.  My first bag was quite full so I got another one ready, crossed the road, major highway, again.  Beautiful beautiful trees, six or ten, low blossoms, and with so many high blossoms I'm free to take all the low ones I want.

I reach to harvest my first blossom and there, six inches to the side is a butterfly, the same kind (I don't know what that is) that I'd taken a photograph of some years ago and labeled "self-portrait" because, although beautiful, it was rather, shall we say, worse for the wear.  Except this one was perfect, new, sipping from a hanging pod of locust blossoms.

"self portrait"
I bowed to the butterfly with an internal "namaste".  And with that I realized why the common usage of that word so irritates me -- it is really only appropriate when we truly DO see the other, with compassion, without all the baggage we ourselves carry.

I continued to harvest blossom pods and add them to my bag but before the butterfly flew away I could have sworn that I heard her say, "Now, here, take this one I have supped from and you supp from it too, and we are one."  As I harvested those blossoms and she settled on the next set and spread her perfect wings . . . to reveal to me that they were not so perfect after all, that she too was worn and torn, and it didn't matter.  It didn't matter at all, to her, or to me, or to the locust blossoms, or anyone or anything.  And I was brought to the verge of tears.  And I harvested those blossoms and continued with others and then the blackberry blossoms, still tight in their spheres, started tittering that soon it would be blackberry winter and wouldn't that be fun.  And there was a grapevine, and redbud beans beginning in their pods, and all within 15 feet of a major US highway, talking to me.

So yes I am not a human being having a spiritual experience but a spiritual being having a human experience and for the time of harvesting those blossoms, that precious sanctuary of sun heavily scented with the blossoms, being human fell lightly off.

1 comment:

Katie said...

oh wow. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing this.