I went to a commencement ceremony today. My claustrophobia kicked in instantly when I walked in the door of the crowded auditorium. As always, I immediately mapped out all the windows and exits and made note of them in my mind as if I were chiseling stone. It’s always the first thing I do upon entering any building. It took a while to get used to so many people in one place, but eventually I did, and it was a very pleasant experience.
We have special ceremonies in our lives to mark important passages--births, deaths, marriages, graduations, etc. We make an announcement to the world: “This thing has happened! Please take note!” Yesterday we were one thing; now we are another. You must treat us accordingly.
|The elusive lady slipper marks the passage from spring to summer.|
We see it everywhere, though. Mama birds pushing little birds out of the nest. Time to fly! Cubs being taught to hunt. Male animals displaying fabulous colors and raucous calls to the females. "I’m here! Look at me! It’s time for my next phase." Autumn signals the height of its intensity with brilliant colors as it transitions into death. Winter engulfs it all with its icy snow. Spring announces its arrival with greenery and that certain scent. Summer displays its abundance. Each makes a glorified announcement and then bows to the next.
What is the difference between yesterday and today when we mark our passages? Can 24 hours really make a difference? Apparently, it can. Yesterday the young people were all students; today they are graduates. The shift is a mental one, but we mark it with a physical passage to make sure that the change has been impressed upon everyone.
Like the fall leaves, the gleaming ice, the swelling buds, and the lush green growth, humans also mark their passages. Without the flamboyant signs, we might easily forget or not even notice. But if we are going to make an announcement, it ought to be grand, indeed. Go all the way or don’t go at all.
We are travelers along a time line, careening through outer space on our little blue marble. We have much to celebrate, many sparks to shower into the endless night. “We are big and we are great!” we say in tiny voices. And like the millions of colorful leaves that gently glide to the ground in the fall, to be trampled underfoot and then destroyed in the winter, we make a brilliant show of it anyway. We are fabulous, after all, as brilliant as the maples at the height of their change. We display our minuscule nature with incredible pomp and circumstance, and rightly so.
Onward to the next milestone! The seasons lead us to the next transmutation, bowing gracefully as they do while we gallop through like a herd of wild buffalo.