The Circle and the Line
Here in Northern California where I live, autumn was washed away last night by the first winter storm. Just yesterday I could walk outside my door and be greeted by a rapture of fall color that could feed my craving for beauty almost until next spring. Brilliant yellows, (all shades from bright to golden), reds, purples, pinks, and corals. This morning all that glorious color is laying on the ground under bare branches and wintery trees.
As a longtime gardener, I live by the seasons. I am highly sensitive to their slightest nuances and changes. Earth’s seasons are paradoxical; it’s something I love about them. They are ever changing, yet they ever stay the same.
Autumn is the end-of-life part of the whole-life cycle. Nature “dies” and sinks into a quiet regenerative slumber. You wouldn’t think death could be so beautiful, so ecstatic, so alive. Maybe nature is telling us something important; death isn’t that dark end-of-all frightening thing we’ve been taught it is.
Something I’ve learned from living close to nature for decades, in relative solitude; (it’s not like I live with the wolves or anything like that. I still go to Costco, eat at restaurants and have family and friends. But my land is private and big enough to offer me splendid isolation with nature when I want it. And in nature I am never alone.)
Long term observation of nature has taught me there is never a time when only death is present. Always, there is life accompanying death in some form so that it actually works like this: death, life, death, life, death, life, death, life……. This is a truth repeated all the way out into the infinite living Universe.
Our ancient Neolithic human ancestors understood that life moved in a circle, not a straight line. Burial rites included painting the bodies of their dead with red ochre, the color of the Great Mother’s menstrual blood, symbolic of the cyclic nature of all life. Basically, our prehistoric brothers and sisters recycled their dead, knowing death was not THE END, but an ever changing season of life.
Death as an entity all on its own is contrary to nature. That kind of death is a patriarchal invention. Patriarchy is not circular or cyclic, it’s linear. It progresses, but it does not evolve. By denying and rejecting the circular relational nature of the feminine principal, patriarchy moves in a straight line, on and on, until what? Death! A complete and utter end.
Wrong! Nothing in this universe except the patriarch’s mind operates like that. Life actually moves in a circle, where beginnings and endings are simultaneous, just as nature moves. The answer to humanity’s most critical, pressing issues today can be solved through simple observance, or deep observance of nature, how She moves, and how She relates.
If death is part of the cycle of life, then maybe there is some deep wisdom to the process of death that humanity has forgotten, and that patriarchy has replaced with something unnatural, fearful, and untrue.
Looking out my window this morning I see autumn moving into winter, moving into spring, moving into summer, moving into autumn again, and I think that patriarchy has fed us a load of crap about life and death that itself needs to be recycled.
Maybe then humanity can start spiraling away from death, and back into life again.