Even though we know death is inevitable for all of us, there is a great sense of loss when someone dear to us leaves the world. Wordless tsunamis of grief washed over me during the week. Snuggled right up against the quivering news of Thelma's death was a week long visit by birding friends which pulled us out into dripping forests to hear the call of wrens, view the totem pole work of woodpeckers and shimmy under giant fallen trees. It was a time to hold both joy and sorrow in the same container. It was a time to say quiet prayers under the canopy of old firs afloat in deep carpets of velvety moss, to wish Thelma auspicious good fortune on her new journey, through her own forest.
|On the easel|
It is always a surprise to me, how we can, as humans, hold contradictory ideas and feelings in our heart, how one doesn't stand against the other, how sadness and joy can lock fingers. There is, if we allow it, a gentle back and forth movement like sunlight peeking through the trees as the wind plays in its branches. My old Zen teacher used to say this: "one thing doesn't stand against the other." It's simply our western minds carving things into black and white.
Thelma's gifts to us were many but mostly I remember her for her gentleness, grace and fearlessness in facing life's difficulties. As a parting gift she tapped me on the shoulder to remind me of the fragility and preciousness of this human life. She lifted the cloud of stupour to remind me to attend to what is important because we never really know what day our next journey will begin. To Thelma, may she return to this lovely blue planet as a beautiful being to enrich the lives of others as she did here, perhaps as an actress or a songstress in some exotic locale with a heart free as a bird, that's how I imagine her. Here's to you Thelma Midori. And to you, dear reader, may your life be filled with gentle beings as sweet as Thelma. And may you constantly savour the preciousness of your life and attend to what your heart longs for.