marcesence

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“We live in all we seek. The hidden shows up in too-plain sight. It lives captive on the face of the obvious–the people ,events, and things of the day–to which we as sophisticated children have long since become oblivious. What a hideout: Holiness lies spread and borne over the surface of time and stuff like color.” Annie Dillard, For The Time Being

The withered leaves of the maple tree continue to cling to it. I learn that these leaves are ‘marcesent’ and some trees hold on to their leaves in winter for nourishment and hydration.

At my last visit to the labyrinth, it is under snow, with just a few stone markers rising above it. I walk it the best I can, using my memory and the occasional stone landmark that I can make out. I feel lost and adrift, unable to meditate when I lose my structure. On the way out, I follow my own tracks, and once more, I have a path and some direction.

wpid-20150201_150121.jpgAnnie Dillard scoffs at the concept of spiritual path. She also advises that writers should follow a writing master. I read her all the time, so I consider her my master. Yet, here you will read that she questions the central metaphor of my blog (and she does it so well). More to the point, she challenges anyone who is attempting to understand the Infinite. But then, she shifts her thought–“except one thing”. Behold, more Annie Dillard:

Spiritual path is the hilarious popular term for those night-blind mesas and flayed hills in which people grope, for decades on end, with the goal of knowing the absolute. They discover others spread under the stars and encamped here and there by watch fires, in groups or alone, in the open landscape; they stop for a sleep, or for several years, and move along without knowing toward what or why. They leave whatever they find, picking up each stone, carrying it awhile, and dropping it gratefully and without regret, for it is not the absolute, though they cannot say what is. Their life’s fine. Impossible goal justifies the term “spiritual.” Nothing, however, can justify the term “path” for this bewildered and empty stumbling, this blackened vagabondage–except one thing: They don’t quit.  They stick with it. Year after year they put one foot in front of the other, though they fare nowhere. Year after year they find themselves still feeling with their fingers for lumps in the dark.” – from For The Time Being