“lead me to the rock that is higher than I”… Ps 61:2
In the past few months, words have not come together for me. As much as writing helps my random thoughts become meaningful ideas, words just seemed to fly around unattached. Recently a photo in my cell phone caught my attention. A warm fall day in Rocky Mountain National Park, a huge rock and three energetic little kids. I was transported for a moment into that carefree space where all seemed well with the world.
In her book, Braiding Sweet Grass, Robin Wall Kimmerer tells of her frustrating attempt to learn, as an adult, the Native American Language of her tribe. There are few nouns. Most words that we consider nouns are verbs in Potawatomi. So, a tree isn’t a noun: a tree is a verb: ‘being a tree’: making leaves and nourishing itself; losing leaves, entering a restorative stage; resisting winter storms and heavy snows; providing shade and transporting lifegiving water through its’ system; growing; rustling; removing CO2 from the air and returning oxygen; breathing; being.
An ocean is: an ocean. Yet does its’ color not change with the color of the sky? Or with its’ mood? Do you not breathe in its’ freshness, or smell and taste its’ saltiness? Does it not speak of fury at times? or calm? Or float the grandest ships? Or destroy them? Or nourish the great whale or the tiniest barnacle? Is an ocean a noun, self-contained, or a verb: “Being an ocean”?
It may be that growing awareness of Celtic Spirituality is the reason, or it may be that I have always had an awareness of nature’s beauty seeing things others miss. My photo albums have many photos of plants growing in walls or cracks of sidewalks. Driving a friend recently, I excitedly encouraged her to watch for a beautiful sight just ahead. A whole corner of a city lot covered by a mat of brilliant yellow flowers. There’s a note of disgust in her voice as we approach: “Dandelions!”
As I gaze at the photo, I see a rock and three happy children. Struck by the joy of the scene, their parents had smiled permission for me to take a photo. Looking at it now, I see a rock ‘being a rock’, providing its back for little kids to climb on it. Sturdy and stable and steadfast as though its purpose in the world it to make children happy. I see three little children being children, taking pride and rejoicing in mastering getting to the top: and parents being just plain happy! A scene full of action rather than a still life photo. And Love. Lots of loving. I am right in there enjoying myself too. Would that I could climb that rock, seeing the beauty of the valley from a new perspective. Alas I am confined to earth. Or am I?
Celtic Way Contributor & Board Member