Sunday, May 21, 2006
You Are MY Mystic
Pure white ceanothus blossoms on spreading bushes
Off-white balls of tiny blooms on buckwheat stalks
Cream-colored spikes of even tinier flowers on the dark-green chamise
Faded blue flowers in grey-green whorls on very dark-green black sage
Startling magenta big poppy-shaped flowers with glowing yellow centers on low bushes
Conical lavender clusters of flowers on the spiky kind of ceanothus
Along the trail I've seen delicate mariposa lilies, lavender shading to purple on the outside, creamy white on the inside that's furred with yellow hairs. Caterpillar phacelia's fragile little blossoms, pale lavender on the low-growing fuzzy stems. Vibrant golden yarrow. Canyon sunflower radiant in shaded places.
The hills are simply covered with flowers. High Spring in southern California after a good year of rain.
Everyone shares in the bounty. Bees attend to the magenta poppy-like ones, pollen baskets loaded. One of them takes off from its bright landing pad and bumbles right into the flower-stalk of a chamise. Disdaining this offering, the bee goes on to the real gold: the center of another magenta magnet.
Runners pound past. Joggers with headphones determinedly climb the grade, right past the miracle of the fuchsia-flowering gooseberry making new seeds.
I, of course, stop. This plant is an old friend, and I'm glad to see that it's doing well.
I went to part of a church service today. The pastor made the familiar plea to greatness inside the crabbed confines of missionary systems. Later on I had lunch with some friends who didn't act very friend-like, seeing it as their duty to challenge me to greater things. How could I answer? God is doing his best to make greatness in me, but he's starting a fire in very wet wood.
Later on I was reading. The book is well written but has some darker elements, and the Holy Spirit kept suggesting that I put it down. Not having anything better to do, and wanting to forget the whole lunch thing, I kept reading. The Holy Spirit prodded me harder: "This really isn't good for you."
"Am I supposed to care? Why should I?"
There followed a quick and complex exchange of half-thoughts and images, and I landed on the idea of the old-style mystic: one who just wants to know the truth, no matter how weird.
Does a bee know pride as it goes its rounds, collecting what the hive needs? Does God cup its tiny life in his hand, protecting it and guiding it? How does a bee know which way to go? What guides its path? I doubt that bees get back to the hive and compare notes on who brought in the most. They're not competing. No one exhorts them to ever greater goals. They simply unload what they picked up and then go back and get another load. Does the bee feel fulfilled? Only God knows the heart of a bee.
Do I know pride? Sometimes. There is always someone around to puncture that particular balloon. I wonder what would happen if we got together to celebrate each person's small accomplishments and let the future take care of itself. The rains come, the flowers bloom, the bees live and the ecosystem runs its slow cycle in another year. Why? Because it is. Just so. No more than that. God is delighted.
God holds the bee, and God holds me. "Keep going," He says. "You're MY mystic."