Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nature to Scripture: Prunus Incisa Midori (Cherry Blossom)

My neighborhood on West Fifth Avenue, at the western tip of Kitsilano, is embedded with the dense beauty of spring. Born of March, the "Forget-me-nots" pepper the grass with spots of violet, the iris blooms bell-like instruments to ring in the new and song birds fill in nature's techno remix melodies. Across the street, an efflorescent magnolia unfolds its fuschia and pink blossoms- rabbit ears fallen all around the trunk of the tree. My eyes is filled no longer with tears but with beauty of Spring. Four months ago, this very site was blanketed with ice and snow and so too was my heart from some hard knocks.

Our neighbor's cherry blossom tree is in full bloom. I spent the entire morning marveling at its majestic beauty - studying its distinctive characters carefully-from facade to follicles. Full bloom midair, the white mass resembles a cumulonimbus on the verge of storm.

If I squint enough to omit the details, I see a million weightless white wings ceaselessly flapping against the breeze carrying a cumbersome oxidized elephant off my front lawn. I'm on drugs I say to myself.

Sketch: this act of activating lead lines with the micro muscles in my right hand while my eyes study the subject a few feet in front is a difficult undertaking. Over time, I realize my very "createdness" being with this tree. Both of us were created and loved, growing seemingly directionless webs of micro and macro networks through the changing seasons.

In sketching the crisscross diagonal lines of its countless branches, I began to reflect upon a mappings of my life, tracking it like a heart monitor. I navigate this diaspora: Diagonal dialogues. Diagonal relationships. Diagonal prayers. Diagonal city outlines. Diagonal lift-offs and descents.

I read off a website:
" Cherry trees display various growing habits and come in different shapes and forms: triangular, columnar, V-shape, weeping, flat-topped, etc."

Nature's body language, I concluded, is just as complex a system of communication as ours. Then John 12 came to mind.

"Then Mary took a pound [Greek, litra, about 12 ounces] of very costly oil of spikenard, [a precious oil, rose-red in color made from dried roots and oily stems of the spikenard plant, native to northern India] and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."

Right in front of my eyes, this tree transformed into scripture. The rough elephant I playfully imagined earlier is now the feet of jesus: earthy, firm, cracked and warn. The pure white blossoms express the humility and pure love Mary had for Jesus - that in her poverty, she offered her most expensive possession to wash Christ's feet. The subtlety of the fragrance invoked in me an impression of what the lingering spikenard would smell like on nailed feet four days later.

A week later, after a trail of rainy days here in Vancouver, the cherry blossoms lost its glorious bloom, leaving white drops sprinkled over the lawn, sidewalk, trash bins and dashboards of parked cars.

Imagination eclipsed with the Holy Spirit that day deep within me. Insight I am learning, is sometimes about being at the right place at the right time, to be a surprise witness.