Monday, February 11, 2008


To freely bloom - that is my definition of success.
— Gerry Spence, lawyer

I love onomatopoeias. Just the letters "sq" evokes the squeakiness of squash, squid and squeegees. The quote above is an onomatopoeic thought. I am often inspired by the weekday quotes from Anu Garg over at A Word A Day and today’s inspiration is so vast for me that I feel like I am blooming unto blushing.

The sense I get of the word bloom in this thought is rival to my love of the word threshold, the sense of consciously becoming and further beholding what one has always been like the future of a seed no matter where it takes root or the conditions of its growing. For people to freely bloom is a process that is anathema to the myth of western civilization. As the economy requires both parents to work, day care centers become the hot house programmers at the earliest, most impressionable age of human sprouts. By the time pubic hair sprouts on the little saplings they resemble the destiny of the seed like a plastic xmas tree, never taken down, just decorated more every year resembles a sequoia. It takes great parenting to remain aware of the unique seeds that are blooming before their very eyes and to refrain from carving initials in their bark, hanging swings from their limbs or pruning them because they drip sap on the car.

I just recalled finding some bamboo stalks that had broken through the floor of an old shed in our back yard and grown straight up for the ceiling. When they reached immovable resistance from above they began a perfectly natural cane handle sized curve until they were clear enough of the ceiling to reverse the same gentle curve upward again. One stalk repeated this snaking three or four times until it found a broken window to escape and grow along side its fellow shoots to the sky. This must be an ancient art somewhere.

In the same stream of thought I remeber walking and climbing along the boulder strewn shoreline of the Pedernales River one day when I noticed something for its subtly anomalous behavior. There was a ten foot sapling of the variety growing all around, long, gently sweeping limbs and fluttering silver and green leaves that was different from all the rest. This one was growing out of the crack in one of the rectangularly fractured boulders and although its limbs were long and sweeping they sometimes had two abrupt, horizontal then vertical 90° sets of corners, to be followed by the same sweeping shape it had before. I finally figured the hitches were a reflection of the change in the allowable travel of the roots to find new fractures in new directions within the boulder. A sort of natural bonsai origami, as it were. It was certainly apropos of this post. It was no doubt the kind of tree it's seed intended, with slight interruptions from without — character you might say.

At the threshold of conscious blooming one senses the choice presented by Shankarachara,

“I can cover the earth in leather
wear my own shoes”


Burbanmom said...

Very nice post, Mr. G. Sometimes I find myself fighting the urge to "mold" my kids into what my vision of the future Ethan or Daphne should be. I need to spend more time just appreciating their journey and less time trying to map it out for them.

Thanks for that gentle reminder.

gregra&gar said...

It is interesting to note that the turn around of parents from instant gratification in the thingathon abuse of the planet to protecting the future for their children displays a flexibility the elders cannot blame arthritis for not matching. The concern for ecology should be about the nature of our children as well as the planet.

Minx said...

Eeek, I have not been referred to as a hothouse programmer before!

I work in a Children's Centre and have been involved in a programme called Forest School. Once a week we upsticks and move to the forest for a whole day.
One (and probably the most important) reason for this project was to get kids back into risk taking. Our mollycoddled, cotton-wrapped, computer generated offspring have 'lost' the art of climbing trees, making dens and getting dirty. Unfortunately this programme is only open to parents who are willing to take a risk and sign their children up!

There is already very solid proof that my young saplings are finding new and vigourous growth within themselves but I wonder how long we can escape from the government chainsaw.

Lilwave said...

I think the thing I love most about being a parent is letting them take me to places I've never been before. I LOVE the different and unusual. My oldest is fearless and my youngest is a thinker. Put the two together and WEEEEEEEEEE! What fun....parents just need to remember how to play rather than teaching our kids how not to.