To see a hint of the beginning of the effulgence of what is to come click here.
The moon had risen in all her glory when I left Willow Street Yoga in Silver Spring (from a talk with Dr. Manoj Chalam about archetypes yesterday evening and headed for the metro home. I thought about how the moon shines fully no matter what is below: a pristine mountain lake, a construction site, a palace garden, a land devastated by one of the Four Horsemen, or the street in front of my house. What I think is the goal of most “spiritual” practice is to find a place where, being able to see the light all the time, one can live with uncertainty and challenge and have a greater capacity to serve from one’s unique place.
I’ve been living with blooms from bulbs since just before Christmas. The amaryllis in the vase is the third bloom from a bulb I bought at the beginning of January; the third stem got too tall, so I put it in a vase, so it would not topple over. The orchid I have had since it was about half this size and have been tending it by bringing inside and out with the seasons for over a decade. It has bloomed every February without fail. The paperwhites were a gift. I enjoy a little of the scent, but find the usual presentation of several flowers simultaneously overwhelming. I have brought them to flower one at a time. As soon as the bulb flowers (and inevitably needs to be propped up somehow), I have cut the flowers to put in a vase and started the next bulb. By the time the flowers in the vase have faded, the next bulb is budding.
The cherry blossoms — this is why I dreamed of cherries blossoming; I had them in my bedroom. In a previous post, I showed the nearly bare branches from a tree that had fallen in the blizzard. Although gardeners would call bringing the branches inside “forcing,” I wonder whether I really “forced” these blooms. What I did was take branches that would have gone to a landfill, brought them into an auspicious environment and invited them to bloom. This seems to me, not unlike using props in yoga: I might not be able to experience the full opening of a pose myself, but if I properly use props, I can expand what I can experience. It is not the same as doing it on my own, but it still gives me a different sense of the beauty that can be experienced, just like bringing in branches that otherwise would have fallen or need to be pruned into the house to reveal their glory in advance of the spring blooming outside.
The last photo is of dogwood and cherry that were on the side of the street two days ago (cherry tree down at the Japanese War Memorial); dogwood in a pile on the north side of the street in the 300 or 400 block of D Street, NE. Start your own blooms, there is more winter in the forecast. I am fairly certain from my previous experiment that the cherries will start blooming in a couple of weeks, but it remains to be seen whether the dogwood will want to open.
When I ventured out into the streets yesterday morning to get some air, greet some neighbors, and get some fresh vegetables if possible, I saw that a very large branch had come off of a cherry tree a block from my house. I have lived in my house long enough to have watched the tree grow from a three-foot sapling to a tree that has swollen past the confines of its row house corner yard. The branch that broke off in the snow was four or five times the size of the sapling when it was first planted. I spent an hour walking and then made sure I went back to the tree. It was starting to bud. It was warm last month, and it’s getting lighter every day. I don’t have high confidence that the buds were far enough along to force blossoms. I thought I’d give it a try. Whether I see blossoms early or not, I can use the branches to stake young herbs in another 7-10 weeks.
It is almost inconceivable to my limited mind how many snowflakes it took to whiten our world yesterday morning. This weekend, there will be far more snow (alas, it will be too cold to stick to the trees and create such a beautiful canopy; instead we will have howling winds and heavy going). I might catch the first of the snowflakes tomorrow morning on my walk to work before the storm really comes in with all its wild fury. When there are only a few, it is easy to see the individual flakes. Once there is a storm, though, we tend only to see the storm.
Just as it is hard to remember that the snow is about both each individual flake and the whole snow fall together, we forget about the simultaneous place of ourselves as individuals as part of the whole, or we get caught up witnessing ourselves as individuals and forget that we are all a part of a much vaster energy. The reality is that we are all both all of the time — we are completely individual and part of a vast, interconnected web. When we can remember and witness both aspects of ourselves, then we can most deeply witness, participate in, and appreciate the extraordinariness of being.