The Gift

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We drifted through

the green

hungrily absorbing

plant souls,

each twig, flower, and tree

has her own story to tell…

 

Such a joyful way

for me

to spend a

‘mother’s day.’

Being with him

when family

extends sharp claws

is an antidote to suffering.

 

“This is my church”

He said,

not for the first time.

I nodded.

He and I are almost

always in agreement

when it comes

to plants

and people.

 

He bought a pear tree.

His Vision has

brought to life

a thriving orchard –

blossoming trees

whose swelling

seed pods will

one day

offer gifts,

just as he does-

free of tithing.

 

I picked a rosebud.

“The ones I love the best

are wild

I murmur – imagining

sweet magenta flowers

buzzing with bees

halfway across the country.

He listens attentively.

 

“Here are some!”

He remarks with enthusiasm,

gesturing

with generous hands.

We walk down

a stony path…

 

Mary spreads her sails above us

shrouded by cottony clouds –

Lady of Roses,

Wild Peace and Places,

No wonder Pear Trees love her…*

 

When we reach the spot

I am astonished

prickly budded bushes converse

awash in a swirling palette;

pink, purple and blue.

Intoxicated by fragrance,

I inspect leaves and stems.

Laughing, I exclaim,

“ Here the only place

I’ve seen these roses

is at gas stations!”

 

I suppose it was inevitable

that She came home with us.

He dug the cavity so

I didn’t have to,

added yet one more drip

to feed her

before we ate

the sunset.

Does he know that

to fill a void

with a rose bush

sustains me

in the dark?

 

We plant seeds

and trees,

observe with fascination

iridescent black

birds who make their living,

at Walmart –

always meeting

on the edge

of radical possibility,

our friendship flourishes,

rooting underground.

 

Postscript:

*Mary’s Rose

I grew up without a nurturing mother and turned to Mary for help – in so doing I developed a kind of learned helplessness that did not serve me well. I struggled to find my voice, struggled to own it, and continue to struggle to take action on my own behalf.

I will always love Mary – she was my first Goddess – but I see her as a one sided figure. By mid -life before leaving Christianity I was embracing the Black Madonna and Mary Magdalene as parts of Mary that I needed to internalize in order to claim my own voice and power.

May is most definitely the month of Mary. Every year I come around the circle to embrace the Mary of my younger years, feeling that same sense of powerlessness and loss of autonomy that comes out of my unconscious alignment with this figure.

This year Mary emerged as one of her roses on mother’s day offering me a gift, but later in the week in a dream I saw a forest of tree trunks stripped of their bark.  Since flowers and blossoming trees are meaningful images of Mary I experienced both sides of Her in one week. The latter image of  dying trees whose bodies are stripped of their life force speaks to the “dark side” of Mary, the entity with no voice, no body, nor agency, the figure who is powerlessness to shift the paradigm of impending death of self and Nature. Very sobering.

And yet, this isn’t the whole story because the self in the poem ( as in day life) is drawn to one special kind of rose – the wild rose. This “Lady of the Wilderness” may embody some hope.