Archive for Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smallest items, places give sense of calmness

March 19, 2009

The coffee table is an oval shaped, pine wood table. Sitting in the middle of the table is a rectangular, glass vase. In the base of the container are a dozen or so smooth rocks of a variety of shapes and colors. Clear water covers the lower third of the rocks.

Extending nearly 12 inches out of the rock are five green columns, stalwart soldiers holding their place in the rocks that brace them. Sticking up another 12 inches above the green columns are leafy green stalks, more fragile that the stalks out of which they emerge, growing with confidence that the stalks will support them. The rocks support the columns.

The bamboo plant in the glass container is an island of calm in a sea of chaos. It is fragile and strong, growing and silent, plunging deep into its rocky base, extending upward into the morning light. It is, I am told, a lucky plant.

It is more than luck that brings such a plant into someone’s life as this plant has come into mine. It is the gift from a friend, who selected the bamboo shoots, layered the rock into the rectangular vase and delivered the plant one Sunday afternoon.

I have studied the bamboo shoots from time to time and find always that the vase of stalks brings with it a certain sense of calm stability. I watch the water recede below the rocks and find bottled water to replenish the clear water that nourishes the roots of the bamboo.

I think about the sense of calm that emanates from the vase and think about the chaos that comes to me from time to time, reflecting on the chaos in the lives of so many people now. I wonder whether they are able to find an island of calm in a sea of chaos as I have found in this small, rectangular object holding these green stalks.

We find such calmness in places old and familiar as well as places newly discovered. My niece grieves the selling of her home and moving to a new state, leaving behind the rooms where her children lived as children, missing the pile of books in her library, feeling frayed around the edges. She walks, and in her walking under an overcast sky in her new city, examines a new sense of loneliness, and finds it’s soft in its coming.

Under the overcast sky, deep within her being is an island of calm in a sea of chaos.

It is what we look for in times such as these: some inherent meaning in all that we are going through, something outside ourselves that reminds us of the fragility of life, the strength that lies beneath the surface.

As the bamboo shoots, we are fragile in our blooming, stalwart in our roots.

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