Sunday, September 13, 2015


During a large portion of the wonderful years we lived in Reno, Nevada, our home was on what was called a commercial half acre. There were many years when I was grateful that it wasn't actually a full half acre of yard to take care of. I seem to remember that during the years, an ample portion of our incomes went to buying larger and better grooming equipment to help keep things somewhat under control.

A section in the northeast corner of the backyard of our commercial half acre was always referred to as ‘the garden.’ It was always honored with this title, even though some years it was more a ‘receptacle for things,’ rather than a place where row crops sprung forth and brought harvested abundance. Sadly, all too often, it became a place where things ended up that didn't have any other place to go.

A perpetual part of ‘the garden’ was a large rock pile. Actually, it started out as two rock piles, one for large rocks and another for small rocks. These rocks seemed to sprout and grow in other places about the yard and when they were ripe for harvest, they would end up in one of the piles in ‘the garden.’ As the years went on and the piles grew larger they merged into what finally became one large rock pile. I always told people that there was ‘always’ something growing in our garden, without filling in some significant details.

The garden was also a small animal cemetery. Over the years we had solemn services for mice, birds, skunks and cats. We were a family blessed with cats. They brought their hunting prizes of mice and birds into the house to receive praise from the family, with never a thought that they would lower themselves to eat such crude objects. After an appropriate ceremony their trophies were buried in ‘the garden.’ When the cats finally gave up the chase, they joined their booty in ‘the garden.’

One of the most prominent monuments in ‘the garden’ was a 16 foot satellite dish. It was there because it was the only open space in the back yard where nothing seemed to be going on.

One year when I was actually digging, preparing and planting in ‘the garden,’ while kneeling in the ever diminishing area of soft soil, I looked down at the small bowl of moistened seeds near my knee, and I had one of those ‘what am I looking at?’ experiences.

I am sure we have all had those:

The kind we have when we lean back in our office or favorite chair at home and wonder if we are looking at the ceiling or the floor.

The kind we have during a graduation ceremony and we wonder if we are celebrating the end of a faded era or the bright new beginning of another.

The kind we have when someone passes from mortality and we wonder if we have been witnesses to a death or a birth, the ending of mortality or the beginning of the next phase life eternal.

Anyway, there I was looking at those seeds, wondering if by planting them with the mulched leaves, grass, decomposed mice, birds and cats which all shared that soil, was the beginning of their life or the ending.

The longer I pondered, the more I was left with the feeling that living things should not be limited by viewing themselves in a series of beginnings and endings, but as an everlasting continuum.

The thought came to me that the pain, agony and sadness we feel with passages, would be somewhat alleviated if we would view these occasions not in the framework of beginnings and endings, but as parts of a continuum.

I also thought that the ranking of phases in the continuum and exalting one above the other could be counterproductive to the fulfillment of eternal existence.

Should the plant actually envision that the blooming or the fruit phases were more important in its continuum than when it was but a seed?

Should the farmer actually conclude that the harvest is a more important time in his annual continuum than planting?

Should a child actually think that birth is more important in its continuum than death?

My kneeling and pondering brought me to suspect that we indeed might be able to lessen a lot of our sadness’s, anxieties and pains, if events in our passages were defined more in the lengthening of our eternal horizons than in the limiting confines of beginnings and endings. The thought even came to me that much of pride, selfishness and hatred could be lessened if our rush to compete and complete were viewed from the special limitlessness of life everlasting.

I think we should all pray for the day when mankind will realize that the changing dates on calendars can affect us only to the degree that our thoughts and emotions allow them to.

I think we should all pray for the day when we realize that the temporary honors which come in life will become less of a signal of what has been accomplished and more of directive indicating the way and the effort which must be given to the next step of progression on our continuum.

I think we should all pray for the realization that the happiness of childhood is not to be counted greater than the joys of being a grandparent.

I think that we should all pray for the understanding that experiences of mortality are not greater than the experiences of eternal life during our everlasting continuum.



No comments:

Post a Comment