The Boabab tree dots the African landscape. To the local peoples, these magnificent trees are seen to be retainers of the memories of the ancestors. There is a sanctity about them. Their branches always remind me of hundreds of fingers reaching out and trying to clutch the sky. I love sketching and drawing them.
I’m not one for certainties, though I’m sure they have their place. Now that may sound a bit wishy-washy and anaemic, but they do have this tendency to shut doors and close down thought and discussion. I lean more to the side of that gracious invitation to look beyond the prisons of certainty, into the wide-open spaces of mystery and endless possibility. So, when it comes to certainties in life, I prefer to hold them in an open hand and bid them goodbye when they need to go.
It’s strange how our eyes always tend to seek out the horizon. Some of the most iconic pictures we have are of people shielding their eyes and looking out towards the horizon. Perhaps it’s because deep down we know there’s always more to what we actually see and experience. Perhaps it’s because we are awakened to the truth, that behind all things, there are hidden depths of other realities waiting to be explored. There’s always something more beyond the horizons of life. The territory of the invisible is profoundly real.
The Universe is huge. Perhaps huge is an understatement. It is endless, incomprehensible and infinite in distance and span. Pondering on this certainly evokes wonder and mystery, but also a profound sense of insignificance, smallness and even threat at times.
I find that this kind of thinking or meditating reinforces in me my need for belonging, for place and for closeness. It’s then that my thoughts go to my home, my garden, my community, my village, this tiny piece of earth where people know me by name, and I am overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude. This is where my boat is moored in this vast expanse we call the Universe.
A Word Picture:
Surrounded by mist. A strange silence permeates our neighbourhood. All is still. Then, distant and familiar noises greet my ears and dead leaves on the sidewalk are whipped into life by the breath of a sudden breeze. I walk hunched over, hands in pockets marvelling at the appearing shapes and forms.
Where I heard the call of a dove.
This morning I stopped and listened to the cooing of a dove. The gentle tone, so soft on the ears, evoked sudden compassion in me and my eyes moistened with emotion. What is it in a dove’s call that does that to you?
I’m convinced that when you begin to gaze into the heart and essence of nature, there is a hidden and non-codified morality that draws you irresistibly into its transforming presence.