Back from a trip to New Mexico, part of it spent in silent retreat surrounded by infinite sky and a multitude of desert life forms. Recent rains generated abundant and diverse wildflowers and swelled the canyon creek to a river.
The air smelled like pungent rain soaked sweetness.
Camera in hand, this splendor presented itself in a magnificent dance. I ended up taking so many photos that I decided to offer them in a series of posts starting with this one, since it seemed such an apropos way to begin a retreat.
For the bug squeamish, you might want to wait till the next post!
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So much aliveness, yet, underneath the ever-present Stillness.
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In the desert all kind of critters show up going about their natural life. Away from city noise, the rural quiet seems to heighten the senses to the smallest movements – thankfully – revealing this on the bathroom rug at four o’clock in the morning.
And this one, also seen in the bathroom during a sleepless vigil.
Well, never having seen such a creature like this before, I got to Witness my mind in its initial reaction……egads! What is this, this thing which I later found out is referred to as the Child of God, as only the Divine could love such a critter, so the folk-lore goes. How steeped we are with visceral conditioning that immediately an eyuuuu!! flies out from the mouth.
On another night I spied its cousin about to crawl into my sleeping quarters, and using a broom, quickly re-located the six-inch giant outside the house. This one I discovered hanging on the screen door, waiting for the right moment to sneak inside.
Being in silence I could not ask anyone about these beasties, and beside no one was around to ask. I wanted to know if it was poisonous or not (like how close is advisable and will it eat my fingers off?). I managed to get the first one under a cup and out the door. Then I discovered a book on the deserts and found out this black beauty with overdeveloped pincers is NOT a stinging scorpion, although a member of the Whip Scorpion tribe that immobilize their prey (worms, insects and slugs) with ascetic acid, or vinegar, hence how it got is name the Giant Vinegaroon. So much for that bit of insect lore, now we shall move on to something a bit more benign.
This lime green delicate cricket with transparent wings sang me awake at one a.m. When I chased it with my handy bug cup, it crawled up onto a book – perhaps he/she had an interest in Buddhist philosophy?
The desert exploded in a symphony from all the miscellaneous crickets, the first one my friend caught after its back legs had been hit by a car – he knew my amazement at the life forms here and saved this one for my perusal. It was still alive when I first noticed it atop a white piece of paper on the table. I sent a prayer wishing for its peace and freedom from suffering, a moment later I felt its life force leave its form with a simple poof and a quiet, joyful let go.
Oh, and of course, the delicate winged member of every garden, fluttering here and there among the flowers and the grasses.
Oh, how graced we are to share this planet with so many diverse and unique forms, going about their business in this phantasmagoria called Life.
To see the Divine everywhere is given to us for more than seeing,
it’s given to us to Be That.
– Adyashanti –