Sunday, August 6, 2017

August 6, 2017 - On Being a Seed, Part VI

[This is Part VI of “On Being a Seed.”  Click Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V for the prior episodes.]

I did not die, not this time.  I continued to live and grow quickly, but the yellow and black and white striped creature also continued to live and grow quickly, completely at my expense.  It is both a humbling and infuriating position to be in because there is nothing that can be done about it.  I did my best to focus on myself, as always.

After my initial disgust with her, we began to talk at times.  It is sometimes lonely to be a green-ribboned being in a field full of other green-ribboned beings.  We were all alone together.  I had not ventured to speak with any of them, and they did not try to speak with me either.  Most of us silently swayed in the wind that caressed the field daily, our heads turned upward toward Him.  Most of us were in a state of rapture.

Monarch butterfly on milk weed.
But I was lonely and we talked.  I asked her what it was like to move wherever she wanted to go, to be in control of her whereabouts.  She would incline her head in a way I had become accustomed to and say, “I hadn’t considered that.”  Then she told me what it was like.  I asked her many, many questions, and if she could answer me, she would. 

Sometimes she would need a full meal to “consider” my question.  It was a painful price I had to pay because I was the meal.  She ate many of my beautiful leaves, and it was a good thing I was so very good at making more of them.  It was the magic of the King, of course, that I used to make them, and that was powerful magic, indeed. 

Once she asked me what it was like to be with the King, and I began to cry.  I tried to explain His magnificence, but my words fell desperately short.  For once, she was enthralled with what I had to say.  After I finished telling her of the communion with His gold, she said, “I hadn’t considered that.”

Shortly afterward, I saw her no more.  This made me very sad because I missed our talks, but one day I noticed a green pod attached under one of my broad leaves.  In the pod was my friend, I just knew it.  I was confused and also a little irritated because I know how she got that green hue.  It was me.  I had become a part of my friend, or perhaps she had become a part of me.  But in any case, I sadly feared she was dead now.  She did not move.

How strange.  She had caused me so much pain and difficulty, but when she was gone and nothing was devouring my leaves anymore, she left a great void in her wake.  Oh, how I longed for her torture again.  Surely it was worth it to give up some of the liquid gold to have such a friend.  All life requires sacrifice, I thought, and without sacrifice, there is no life.

So now I turned my thoughts to life itself.  How beautiful it was!  I turned my face up toward the King and decided that I wanted to give Him a gift back.  It was the first time I had thought of willingly giving anyone anything.  It would mean I would have less.  Sacrifice is blissfully painful, it seems.  So I created beautiful pink little things.  I didn’t know what they were.  They hung all about me like pink little fronds and wispy locks.  I delighted in them and fell in love with myself.

Imagine my surprise when I looked around myself and saw that all of my green-ribboned brethren had also created the pink little wisps.  Together we swayed back and forth in the field as the wind played a melody that haunted me.  I knew I had heard the song before, but I could not remember where or when.  But what did it matter?  We all danced together.  I didn’t know I loved them before, but now I knew I did.  I longed to embrace them, but I could not move.  They acknowledged the same to me.  What were we to do?

And then I heard a tiny voice beside me, and I saw a magnificent winged creature.  She was black and white and orange and so very, very beautiful.  But I was confused.  I knew that voice.  It was the voice of my dead friend.  It was unmistakable.  I was absolutely certain it was my friend’s voice.  But this creature was not my old friend.  My old friend was green and yellow and black, and she crawled on tiny legs.  She did not have beautiful orange wings like this amazing creature did.

“Yes, it is me!” she laughed.

“But, how….” I began, but I could not voice my thoughts.

She just laughed at me, though, and told me I was still so silly and young.  There she was, poking fun at me again, but it was all good because I had missed her so.  I offered her a leaf, but she wrinkled up her nose in distaste and refused.

“Where have you been??!” I asked.

“I had a meeting with the Great Alchemist,” she explained, which made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  She went on.  “Of all the creatures who abide by the Law, I am the only one who can have a direct audience and return to this world.  This is why you see me now as I am and not as I was.”

She flitted about playfully among all of our pink little wisps that we had made for the King, sipping nectar and laughing gaily.  We swayed back and forth in the field, longing to touch one another, reaching out.

Suddenly, she stopped flying.  She looked at us all in amazement as we swayed back and forth in rhythm.  Then she laughed at us all the more.

“Silly things!  Know ye not that ye are gods?”  And she flew away forever.

Her words echoed in my ears and in the ears of my friends in the field for a long time.  We swayed back and forth in the wind.  And then I knew, and this knowledge is the Second Blasphemy of the seed.  Know ye not, she had said, that ye are gods?  Then my eyes were blinded by the Light, by the brilliance of understanding, the veil having been finally removed from them.

(To be continued . . .)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017 - Salt Marsh Cemetery


The old salt marsh in Brunswick lies off the beaten path, and not many people visit it anymore.  Salt marsh flies are not that popular, after all, but there is another reason.  It lies just adjacent to the old Marsh Cemetery, established in 1755.  I doubt it was named “Marsh” in those days, but I don’t doubt its cemetery-ness.  It is a classic, old, long-forgotten boneyard.  Many of its residents were subjects of King George III of England.

Thomas Berrey, died April 10, 1755, age 38, the first resident.

It’s a controversial thing to do, you know—to go visiting, or perhaps lurking, in old boneyards.  It’s something I’m famous for.  Some of my readers enjoy my writings about it.  Many let me know in no uncertain terms that they feel very squeamish about such things.  Consorting with the dead?  Very squeamish, indeed.
 
Today I was drawn there.  I had driven by with no intention of visiting, but 10 minutes later, a nagging voice in my mind told me to turn the car around and go back, and so I did.  I go to the old boneyards for many reasons.  First and foremost, it’s because I am a history buff.  I love reading the old tombstones and wondering about the individuals, how they lived, how they worked, how they loved.  I can’t help it.  The more I learn about them, the more I want to learn, and somehow in the process I learn a little bit about myself, too.

Col. Charles Thomas, died February 16, 1842, age 84, another hero. 
There’s the peacefulness.  That’s another reason.  No one bothers you in a boneyard, although if someone happens to see you wandering through it, you might get an odd stare.  There’s also conversation.  It’s completely one-sided, of course, carried out by yours truly (although sometimes I swear I get the “feeling” of an answer).  I walk through and talk to them.  Usually it’s just about boring things I’m doing.  Sometimes it’s about current events and what’s happening in the world now and how lucky they are to have lived in a real society and not a simulated one.

John Cornish, died October 10, 1842, age 88, another hero.
I don’t always cry when I go to the old boneyards.  In fact, I rarely do, but today was one of the days I did.  I’m not sure why.  But I think it might be because no one else will cry for them anymore.  Some might say that’s as it should be.  Why call upon the dead after all these years?  But, you see, I think they need to be remembered and missed, even if we never knew them.  We might have liked them if we had known them, and a life is still a life.

Capt. Samuel Gross, died January 27, 1821, age 76.

Still, it makes many people uncomfortable.  They don’t want to think about the dead because then they might think about their own eventual death.  If you think about your own eventual death, you are forced to think about how you are currently living your own life right now.  Would you be able to say, like so many of the old tombstones do, that you “lived a good life and are now in a better place”?  Or would you be filled with regret for the things you have done—or even worse, the things you have not done?

The sun was shining gaily upon the old crumbling graves, with dancing shadows from the leaves of the trees.  Earlier I had been wondering what I would make for dinner.  Now I had an overwhelming desire to make bread.  I could actually smell it.  So when I got home, even though it was later than the time I usually start making a loaf of bread, I mixed up some dough.  After it bakes, I will pull up some lettuce from the garden and have a salad with it, along with a glass of wine.  Maybe two.  It will be a good dinner.  

I don’t know what I will have for dinner tomorrow, but I will worry about that tomorrow.

Aaron Hinkley Gross, son of Capt. Samuel Gross and his wife Mary, died August 31, 1799, age 17 months and 17 days.

Capt. Samuel Snow, died June 21,1791, age 46, and his wife Abigail, died January 12,1836, age 87.

Samuel Harding died November 9, 1802, age 27.

A scattering of old forgotten headstones.  
Joseph Coombs, died April 24, 1835, age 78, Revolutionary War hero.
 
Beulah, his wife, died July 18, 1829, age 75.

Nathaniel Larrabee, died May 27, 1803, age 74.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Larrabee, he died in 1809, Sarah died in 1826.  He was a Revolutionary War hero.

Mr. and Mrs. John Curtis, he died in 1853, Thankfull died in 1826.
 
Mary Curtis, wife of Capt. James Curtis, died April 23, 1792, age 47.

Marked only with “G” and a faint date in the 1700s.  The tree is a newcomer.

Susannah, wife of William Thomas, died May 15, 1825, age 99 years, 11 months, 5 days.