Tuesday, April 27, 2010
An Extended Season of Hope
At my first initiation into earth-based wiccan spirituality, way back in the wayback machine, one of the "gifts of the earth" I was given was iris, a single stalk with a tight bud at the tip. The high priestess said, "Here is iris, for hope ... though ... this one looks dead." Indeed it did look dead, all brown and slightly shrivelled. Everyone laughed.
After the ritual, I spread newspapers over the floor in a sunny room in my house. I placed all the herbs and flowers I had been given on the newspapers. My plan was to dry them thoroughly, then maybe make a pillow stuffed with these magical plants.
A couple of days later when I went into the room to see how the mummification process was proceeding, I saw at once that the allegedly dead iris had bloomed, without water, without anyone's loving attention. Ah. Hope springs eternal, I thought. I took a polaroid of this miraculous event, because even staring at it directly, I couldn't believe it had happened. Isn't that something? That the dead iris bloomed? I think it is.
I am not a cynic, or at least I try not to be. In my society at this moment in history, it is so hard to resist the urge to get tight and brittle, to criticize everything and always expect the worst from everyone. I know lots of people who are proud to be cynical; they consider it realistic - whatever that is.
What I know is that when I lapse into cynicism, I feel mean, bitter. My energy gets so tight that I feel like I can't breathe. I want to hurt someone's feelings, hurl insults for no reason at all. I feel fragile, like I could shatter into a million sharp little pieces at any second. I HATE feeling cynical! It's exhausting.
This spring in Washington DC we are having a long, luxurious and extended iris season. Ordinarily they don't begin to bloom until right around the first of May. By May 15th they are usually done. But this year they bloomed early, at least two weeks ago. Their voluptuous flowers continue to open all over Capitol Hill and I assume all over the city as well.
As a committed non-cynic, I am LOVING this. No matter how disheartened and divided we are in the U.S., no matter how cranky, cynical, and derisive we are, no matter whether or not I'm the only one to notice, hope springs eternal. Where there's hope, cynicism melts like the wicked witch of the west. Oh yeah.
With a bow and a salute to my allies the iris: THANK YOU!! We need you. We do.