Ok, I confess that when I set out with my camera with the word of the day on the tip of my heart, I believed that word to be ‘forgiveness’. I really should’ve doublechecked before I wandered about for 2 hours, searching for it under roots and rocks.

Still, I’d thought it would be an easy word to find, had an image in my mind of what I was seeking. I envisioned the remains of a tree, cut by the arborist’s blade (sadly, there are an awful lot of them in my neighborhood, as fear of falling seems to be running rampant), with a few seasons of decomposition under her bark. Surely, I’d find a colony of life growing in the nourishment there.

You see, that’s what forgiveness looks like to me. Given enough time, the pain of betrayal or wounding is transformed, as the incredible impulse of life makes something unexpectedly new of the broken pieces. Atoms are rejoined by others, molecules synthesized, and suddenly there is a verdant carpet on a rotting log. My biology is rudimentary, admittedly, though I apprehend a deeper mystery within these life-death-life cycles of life, an ‘all is well’ that undergirds this sorrow-joy dance.

But perhaps my definition of forgiveness is weak. Perhaps what I label as forgiveness should be identified as ‘healing’ instead, for I suspect that true forgiveness is more about letting go of resentment regardless of outcome, and springs from a deeper love that allows all to be received, a wisdom that enfolds everything in compassion and understanding, prior to any ‘healing’ that might occur.

There is a particular stump along the path that cuts through the rhododendron thicket behind our avenue of cottage homes. I frequently check inside her hollowed womb for signs of life. A greening bed of seedlings, a nest of gathered debris, a placental mat of fungus.

Today, however, when I peeked inside, I was greeted by the neon blue of a doggie bag, the kind folks carry with them to pick up after their pets, tossed inside as if she were a garbage can. It felt like the proverbial adding insult to injury.

I confess (there I got the word in here legitimately, after all) it disgusted me. Disgust is a strong word, and I expect it’s not at all good for the heart, at least shouldn’t be allowed to take root there, but I noticed it there right alongside judgment. But I was also aware that beneath both of those two, there dwelt a deeper sadness, and at the root of them all there was simply Love. Love for this earth, and the life within it, which is so casually desecrated.

There’s a lot of that (desecration) on my walk. I want to see goodness, but too often I witness disregard (at best, dishonor and defilement at worst). I look for beauty in the ruin, and yes, I can find it, but again, I wonder if that is the true path of healing.

I confess, I pulled a book out of yesterday’s bags this afternoon before I struck out on that walk. From the bottom of the first bag, which I’d packed full of tomes dedicated to healing from trauma, I withdrew ‘Issues in Intimate Violence’, noting a few of my bright yellow highlights and scrawled marginalia. Peeking momentarily into that cavernous tome, I can see just how much I have healed those broken places in me, witness the lush, profound beauty and rich nourishment that has grown from that cutting wound.
Paradoxically, the joining of cells, as occurs in the recycling of something new out of death, is also embedded in the sexuality of life in this place, within that joy-filled dance of two coming together in the creation of new life. Too often that celebratory dance of delight is instead one of defilement where power, control, and fear overrun reverence and love.

I honor the deep mystery that is the natural life-death-life dance of deep sorrow and great joy in this place. But, I confess, that I doubt.

I doubt that desecration is a necessary step in the dance.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kidfriendlyyoga
    Feb 15, 2018 @ 22:56:23

    I so love your writing and photography! I felt myself there with you feeling what you felt.



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