A blossom fell.
It crashed through the foliage and plunged three feet to the ground. In the lush silence the blossom’s dive was a momentous event. The blossom left one lusty petal stranded on a leaf—lusty because its color was a blend of red and purple, almost black at the core and positively lascivious.
Magenta comes to mind. Magenta for magnificent.
It was a poppy, but didn’t have the usual color of poppies I’d seen. I’d been meditating in the stillness of Clancy and Jennifer’s garden, everything motionless until this disturber of the peace fell. Part of the poppy fell at eye level to stare at me. I stared back, the leaf still quivering from the impact.
“Well,” said the petal, “did you think you were the only game in town? We’re all here together, you know. The snow peas and carrots, the spinach and basil, osmosing to beat all get out and curling our toes into this good dirt. Compost happens, fella.”
Not only was the little petal gorgeous—it was smart.
Meditating, leaning into what I supposed was oneness, I was not ready for a falling blossom to remind me that I was not alone. I was not ready for a reminder that each foxglove and kale plant was as deeply engaged in living as I. That each of us are playing off the tuning fork of creation.
“Yea, yea, you humans are always doing that,” spoke the petal from its leafy perch.
“Ever since you disconnected from the ground and began running all over the place you think movement is where it’s at, think it makes you special and the rest of us are just so much salad, my way is the highway, so to speak.”
“No way,” I protested, “I’m here to stop moving, to stop even my mind from moving. I’m here to connect with what is.”
“Sure,” said the petal skeptically, “next thing you’ll be growing roots.”
This conversation was too much.
“Hey, I was sitting here feeling my oneness, only breathing until you caused this ruckus, upsetting us all with your noise and movement. I’m not the problem,” I protested.
“Of course it’s your oneness. Did you buy and pay for that too? With humans it’s all me, my, mine. My shoes, my car, my wife. You build a castle of junk around yourselves, then come here and expect the rest of us to shut up so you can have your peace. Give me a break.”
This was one pushy petal.
I took a deep breath and exhaled compassion for all beings. “Thank you for sharing,” I said. “I am going to quietly pursue the life that lives us all.”
Have you ever heard a plant laugh? Not just a chuckle, but a full belly outburst that shakes its greenness all over? I think the other flowers, snapdragons and blue flax, even the lotuses over in the water tank, were chiming in.
The impertinent petal seemed to speak for them all. “See, separation is the name of your game. There’s a name for it…which I forget.”
“My sister Narcissus remembers,” said the regal Easter Lily.
“Thank you,” said the petal. “The flower of obscene self-absorption. You stare so hard at your navel that anything else escapes you, as if you are the secret to all that is, and if you just look hard enough, you’ll find it.
“Dude, it’s right here, all around us. You are just another flower in the garden. If you only smell the roses, you’ll never be one.”
The retort got me thinking. Of course that was the problem I was trying to correct, but being human, what else could I do? It’s a paradox: the mind is overcome with the assistance of mind. In fact and fortunately, mind desires to overcome itself, at least some of the time.
One thought lead to another and soon I was on a train of thought.
Narcissus by the pool staring at his own reflection, sick with self-love. We are a culture of navel starers. We shop ‘til we drop, adorning our navels, then we have the economic navel of Wall Street, a dysfunctional political navel in D.C., the military navel of imperialism and the guns we pass out to every wacko dictator. This vicious circle generates wars for our television navel and other drugs to keep us obsessed with ourselves.
Even the weather plays a part. Which wildfire will burn my house? There’s a tornado tearing up houses in Missouri? Thank God we don’t live there. Poor me, the world is a dangerous place!
“That’s it,” Petal said, “the train wreck of thinking. You at the center of disaster. That reminds me of a guy way back when. He thought the whole everything turned around this planet. Who was that guy?”
“Ptolemy,” I said, unable to stop thinking. I was correct. “Ptolemy saw earth as the spoke around which our galaxy turned. He saw himself as the center of Creation. We’ve believed that since the time of Christ, until Copernicus came up with his heliocentric model and using ….”
“Oh, hush. You’ve been reading too much Wikipedia. The point is that narcissism carries you away, makes your navel bigger than God. Or maybe you’re a Buddhist. You’re sitting there like a monk or something. Did you know Buddha is right here?”
“I’m getting tired,” the petal sighed. “I think I’ll die.”
“Wait! You just said Buddha was here and now you’re going to die?”
“But … where is he?”
“Hang around, you’ll find out.”
“Hey, this isn’t fair. You rag on me, and now you’re going to drop out, die just like nothing matters?” I asked.
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” the petal murmured.
I protested, but the petal only wilted and didn’t respond. My heart was racing a bit, so I started to breathe carefully, paying attention. Gradually I relaxed. A blossom fell, bouncing through the green body of the plant to the ground, all of its petals still attached.
It didn’t speak. Nor did I.
Tom deMers lives wherever he can, writes as often as he can, meditates regularly and sings whenever the spirit moves him. You can reach him at [email protected].
Editor: Lara C
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