Saturday, October 1, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth, A Prayer Of Birds And Trees: Going Inside Leaves, 48”x48, 2011
The floral notebook is nearly closed.
Tree tops sooth our loss of flowers to the frost: crimson, oranges and ambers
As miraculous star-catching leaves dehisce.
Cold rain, crisp winds and the rich beginning of
Soft leaf fall—precision sun mechanics thrown down,
But not away,
Becoming this year’s rich page in the book of the Earth.
Late wild flowers have found their wings
Feathered--almost, unbarbed—almost a satin texture.
The North of Earth sways away from the sun
—Extraordinarily ordinary—as the whole planet Earth, topples away from the Sun.
EXQUISITE “CRISP” COLOR bursts out of the North American mid-continent, as if “green” suddenly opens to a color sample book. Under the matt of soil, all of the tubers are swollen, readying to slow-cook and meld with everything we will bring to them—onions and bouillon and salts and peppers, to spice up the growing darkness. In the Southern Hemisphere, “Spring” and “Summer,” as we have known it, will open to something not less than “grace” through that which we are likely to name “winter.”
With the slow tilt of the Earth, perhaps we might lean back just a little more. Perhaps we might give over, just little more, “striving.” And with this seasonal shift, perhaps a corollary sense of appreciation for things that high-speed modern time seems to miss opens.
All around us, the leaves are moving from green to gold and crimson. We begin to directly see the “inside of leaves,” as leaves turn themselves inside out. The green chlorophyll dissipates as leaves shut down and dehisce from the branch. And the rainbow of colors that were hidden by green appear, sometime abruptly, as if overnight. There are many colors in that which we might superficially term “green” or “yellow” or “orange” or “red.” There are viridians and cadmiums, olive, Van Dyke red and burnt sienna, orange red, almond, Venetian rose, chocolate, sandalwood, raspberry, yellow oxide, burgundy, wisteria, bronze yellow, copper, apricot, and edges along veins glowing teal and emerald green and magenta.
This might be a rich time for body-mind practice. As the colors of fall begin to appear, so, too, our body-mind practices might begin to gradually take on a different “color” or “tone.” A “routine” of seemingly same-old, dependable practices—like summer’s dependable “green”—may begin to open to a “rainbow.”
In the Northern Hemisphere, the night begins to lengthen. Perhaps we begin to also lengthen, perhaps spending more time in a pose, and/or perhaps we give over some more time devoted to opening the rich “palate” that has remained more internal up to now in our body-mind practices.
As we go deeper inside body-mind practice in any season, we might even find that inside is so deep that there is no boundary between “inside” and “outside.”
In The Triumph Of The Sparrow: Zen Poems, Shinkichi Takahashi writes that “The sparrow stirs/ The universe has moved slightly” [p.68] and “He hops calmly, from branch to empty branch/ In an absolutely spaceless world” [p.44]. Takahashi admonishes us that there is this very real way that we are the sparrow, flowers, snow, wind, bream, the universe falling apart, a strawberry, a rat, thistles [blooming in the heart], and the sun with four legs waging its tail.
We try to imagine that we are “solid,” which may be to say that we are self-complete. We might even imagine that we are separate and above most of our experience, including the human beings that we daily encounter in traffic, shopping, walking, in houses that we amble by.
We are not transparent enough. We think that we have boundaries, especially at our skin. Just once, try holding your breath or not eating. The world swims in us, not even needing to come “inside,” as that is what is has been doing, becoming that is named “ourselves,” “we,” “us,” “you” and “I.”
In any season, our body-mind practices are offered an opportunity to NOT be limited.
In restorative-yin yoga, we come to the matt, and if we are fortunate, in the stillness and quietness of the practice, we are drawn, deeply, inside. It is a landscape that we know, that we immediately recognize, but it is a place that we may not really go as deep as we might. Inside, we are offered more than a mask of green. Inside, a rainbow may become visible.