Alien Birthing Techniques

In the midst of chilly winter months, the rare moment of warmth and sunlight cannot go ignored. It was in that line of thought that I wandered out to Ridley Creek one day a few months ago. Few people were on the trails since it was early afternoon on a weekday, so I had plenty of time to dawdle and delay at every beautiful thing that came my way. Somewhere along the line, I was reminded of an idea of Chesterton's, that of the wild and wonderful orthodoxy. All around me were trees slumbering as if dead. We take for granted this annual little passing away, when they shed their greenery and stand naked in unlovely, weather-beaten browns against a bleak gray sky, because we know from experience that springtime will come and this is not the end. But what if we did not remember all of our previous springs? What if all we knew was the present and all we saw were the hordes of spiky creatures seemingly slain by some virulent epidemic? Would we not think that the world had ended?

And yet this denuding must happen. Though the resurrection seems like the product of demented delirium, a fevered response to the most radical of disappointments, any botanist could tell you that a precedent was set in nature long before any woman ever declared to disconsolate disciples that Rabboni had arisen.

This is the way of things, that death clears the way for new life.

More recently, I was walking down those same paths, and I saw a lot of these:

Some leaves had survived the cold winter, clinging to their branches for dear life. But as their color suggests, whatever life they might have is a pale forgery of the real thing. As long as they remain, they prevent the new growth from bursting forth, and they hold back the tree from attaining to a fuller existence.

Sometimes the old things don't like to die. They crawl up, zombie-like, from the graves that we bury them in. And like zombies, they gnaw at our brains, taking up valuable head space with thoughts that no longer deserve to consume our time. Much of human growth is teaching yesterday's loves, though good in their time, how to stay dead.

Like most things, there is a point where we can take that too far though. What we focus on affects our actions and the directions we are going. When I went to the new student orientation at DCCC last August, I met a girl who had spent her summer working as a secretary at a funeral parlor. She said that it was a good-paying job and that it hadn't been too hard to find, but for understandable reasons: she was surrounded by a perpetual atmosphere of death. Recently, I have spent so much time digging graves in my stubborn fight against my own ghosts that I have forgotten how to live. Even as I suffocate my yesterdays, I have to teach myself how to breathe again. And how sweet the air is, when we open up our lungs to the cold, clear air of the morning:

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provencal-song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker of the warm South!
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth...

*Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale"

1 comment:

  1. Christy...it was so nice to hear your parents as well as you and Katrina could do such a fun thing together Easter morning! Please stop by when you're in the area. Will we see you at Kaylah's wedding? Thanks for the FB note. Love hearing about you girls and Nate. G'ma