Sunday, May 6, 2012

Professor Blackie and My Spiritual Growth - Part 1

I recently read this quote from Joseph Campbell: "The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the Universe, to match your nature with Nature."
The resonance of that quote has happened to me a lot this past year – and just again this past week. One of my earliest posts was about this very sense of connection (Msg-1-December-2011, “The Unity of life.” Click on Message Archive at the bottom of this post.) I discussed my sense of unity as I was cleaning out the wet-weather creek that flows through our property: 
“… I was cleaning out sticks, wild water grasses and weeds. As I would pull a clump of vegetation, the roots, all mired in creek muck, contained all sorts of bugs, beetles, and other tiny critters. Each clump of muck was its own little universe. It was a remarkable moment, as I tried to imagine life in that clump of muck from the perspective of the inhabitants.
“In a short while I knew the muck would dry, the critters would either die or scatter, and the water vegetation would die. One day the creek muck is alive as its own little world and the next it is apparently dead. What happened? What's missing? What the heck is Life, anyway?
“…as far as I know, many indigenous cultures … have had an intrinsic reverence for this thing called Life.… Life was a mystery and was revered. Not some of life was revered some of the time; all life all the time. There was no hierarchy in Life. Human life was not more valuable than animal or plant life. Life was Life. It was a mystery. It was honored.
Normally, my connection to nature has left me with good, unified feelings of not being so damned unique and/or feeling very connected to everything. This time the connection to nature was very strong but with a totally different feeling.
Let me explain.
Near our front door we have an ornamental lace-leaf Japanese maple tree. Since the deer relish the new spring shoots of that maple, I put lightweight netting over the tree. The deer really dislike it. Additionally, all through the winter I watched evidence of a rodent (mole? vole?) as it burrowed in and around that maple and other shrubs we have in the front of the house.
Several weeks ago I noticed a black snake curled under the maple – and no signs of our burrowing critter. “Aha!” I thought. “Nature is handling our garden pest. What a wonderful, natural solution. I like that.” Several days later, the snake was still there and we named it Blackie. It stayed there day after day, not moving very much –obviously rather contented, I thought, with the burrowing critters and the nearby frogs in the creek pond. 
Continued in Part 2 

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