Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Circle Remains

Around five a.m., I wake from a sound sleep. A power outage has shut off our white noise machine, and it was this sudden silence that awakened me. It lasts but a few seconds. With power restored, the steady hum lulls me back into sleep, ignorant of a small tragedy that has just occurred a block away.

A four~year~old Black Bear has died. Lured into our neighborhood by smells of unsecured garbage, she'd climbed an electrical pole as dawn approached. As neighbors tell it later, there was a bright flash, a loud boom, and this magnificent creature dropped to the ground.

When the grapevine brings the news, we hurry up the hill. Stretched on her side in an unguarded and final slumber, she is stunning. The morning rays find golden highlights in her chocolate brown fur, and her once inquisitive paws rest, vulnerable and forever stilled, upon the Earth. 

As my husband utters a simple and tearful prayer, I kneel beside her lifeless body and stroke that dense fur. I am saddened by the loss of her. I am also grateful for the opportunity to be so close, to touch such a wild thing, to surround her with love at this precious time.

An hour later, we sit in silence at a Quaker service. My inner stillness is punctuated with images of the lifeless and still~so~beautiful bear. My husband's grief and helpless anger at humans, unaware or uncaring, is there, too, as are my own strands of anguish at our impact on the natural world. A sweeping continuum opens up before me, extending from folks who are careless with their garbage to rainforest and species destruction.

But thankfully, a nearby cough pulls me back, anchors me within this circle of Friends. My heart moves from one person to another, opening into connection with each, grateful for their presence and for this miniature circle nestled within the whole of life. It is then that these words come to me: “The Circle remains unbroken.” And I know our modest circle to be held within a much larger one, the Circle that holds it all~~the beauty and the horror, the kind and the dismissive. The dead bear, those who hastened her death, and those who mourn her passing.

Years ago I read, though I know not where, that “People don't need more talk of God. What they need is a richer experience of God.” It feels like I am given this now. As I move more fully into this quite visceral experience, I feel myself enlarging, deepening, my edges softening.

I know it is only a glimpse, the merest fragment, yet tears come to my eyes at the beauty of it all. The beauty of this Circle that holds everything within it.
This Circle that does, indeed, remain unbroken no matter what comes.

Namaste, dear Circle mates!

Leia Marie

And here she is, my friends~~

"My kind know neither Gods nor Goddesses, 
but only the breast of our mother
who is beneath our feet
 and above our heads, 
from whom we come
 and to whom we go
when our time is ended."

Spoken by The Fairy Queen
in Mists of Avalon
by Marion Zimmer Bradley

You have returned, beautiful one!
Your presence among us is missed,
and yet you are as near
as the ground beneath our feet.
We tread lightly in memory of you.