I love this image- if it is yours, sorry I pinched it- from here…
Ways of life
For some life is lived in the measuring
Of every moment
In raising high the cup of experience
And drinking it dry
Life too is like a dark forest
A dark green shadow
Oozing out its fungal fingers
Spreading secret spores
Life may be a blazing flare
Across the stormy night sky
Burning an arc into the retina
Should you look its way
Life too is an ember whose glow
Was borrowed by proximity
Or life may be a bubble
In a clear blue stream
Dancing with the bouncing pebbles
And waltzing among the weeds
Detained briefly by the surface tension
I have heard it said that
Dead men walking
Blown all too soon
But life still flickers
Faint but strong
Vibrating these hollow veins
And the voltage you make
Is a current
Wired to the nape
Of my neck
Because this thing we are
Is more than just
So much more than just
Mixed from mud
All around us, life is circling.
Some circles are big, some very small.
Insects that live a whole life in one of our days. Breakfast sees the end of childhood, lunch the weight of middle age responsibility, tea time the creaking of age, and with night, the sleep of the dead. Until the next generation comes into being.
Each slow forming ring of growth, evidence of their elevation over our own anxieties.
Each falling leaf layering the soil, laying down the food for the coming spring.
Each spreading branch offering the arm of shelter to a thousand lesser creatures. And me.
Seeding slowly and deliberately.
But even the tallest trees
Will one day
And what of us?
What of our life time? We tend to see our journeys as linear. Even then, perhaps we are comfortable with the now, less so with the tomorrow, and the future is a foreign country, were be dragons.
Away we go, off into middle distance – always forward, but often acting as if we are standing still.
But we are born not to die,
But to live.
To trace our own arc through this space of ours –
To windmill wide and open,
To love this life
And let it love us back
Perhaps unlike any of these other circles, we humans have this gift (this curse) of knowing
Knowing and seeking to know more
Seeking to connect and to overlap these circles-
Seeing where they depend one on the other
Seeing where they smash into one another
Vulnerable to the sharp jagged things
Of such joy
A few weeks ago I watched this film.
I had already read the book, but this was one of those few occasions when the film some how took the raw material of the words and took them further. Like taking a charcoal drawing and turning it into a canvas laden with rich oil paint, in wonderful colour.
The film tells the real story of a young man from a privileged but dysfunctional background who turns his back on the modern culture, and decides to live a simple life- one of vital experience, deep relationships and particularly, one of absolute one-ness with the world and it’s wild places. He found his way into the Alaskan wilderness, where his ideals were tested to his own destruction, and he perished alone in an abandoned bus miles from anywhere.
This tragic event is somehow recorded in a way that is life enhancing, and beautiful. In his beautiful life, but tragic death, we are fed little slices of hope.
Life is so fragile, but those who really live- who transcend the narrow half lives that many of us fall into- these people, they seem to have found cracks through which has filtered something eternal, and somehow, more real.
Almost as if the Kingdom of God shines like a shaft of sunlight on the opposite side of the valley.
I was speaking to a friend of mine today who is a policeman. We were discussing the case of a missing woman who walked into the hills locally over a year ago now. No trace of her has ever been found. He told me that this is not such a rare thing in Scotland. People walk into the wilderness, perhaps to escape their demons, perhaps to celebrate them. Some perhaps are looking for an end to life, others it comes to as a surprise.
Not so long ago some forestry workers found a tent as they were clearing an area of forest. Inside the tent was the skeleton of a man who had lain there undisturbed for around 10 years.
Life is fragile.
But life is beautiful.
Lets not waste it.