Bouncing Around (Burnt) Bastrop
October 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
Another day off, another excursion out of Austin. This one slightly more sunny, but no less enjoyable (and with great company!).
Let me juxtapose these two things:
(a) I remember Bastrop State Park from ten years ago, when I would run through tall pines and jump on thick makeshift log bridges. It was the only real park I enjoyed in Texas, because there were trees and shade and, if I squinted my eyes and tilted my head to one side, I could almost pretend that I was back in some European forest.
(b) I had a great yoga session yesterday, which was started and ended with a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:
Want the change.
Be inspired by the flame where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.
What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and with ending, begins.
Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive.
A couple of years ago, a huge fire swept through Bastrop and turned the forest of ancient, towering pine trees into a field of matchsticks:
It was discerning, to think of the life that used to be there, that had been there for years, and then… just disappeared in flames overnight.
But, at the same time, a little bit magical. Because against this backdrop of burned, black, and dry, there was a short canopy of green shrubbery that seemed all the more vibrant and joyful set against its contrast:
And all of the little blotches of flowers (and how many, and of what variety!) seemed so much more energetic against the sand and dirt beneath them:
This contrast of life and death, in all of its dullness and vibrancy, made it seem as if we were walking to the end of the world- or at the very beginning of it, before any other creature had set foot upon it. At the beginning of creation, at the beginning of some new era, still fragile, but bold and bright.
After a meandering hike through the sticks, we sought shelter in the shade of a nearby, adjacent park, who was spared the worst of the damage. There was even a little lake, with herds of tiny frogs that arose in a cloud of curt ribbit‘s every time you took a step and dragonflies of the most marvelous purple hues.
And it was here that I reminded myself that this is life: life is change, and life is rebirth. Every change, no matter how drastic or ominous or unexpected, always ends with a phoenix rising out of the ashes. Even if at times, it takes a while and it seems like the most stubborn creature in the universe.
It was a comforting thought. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and everything happens for the best, but this week, a few big things came up that rattled my mind and turned me upside down for a while. And it took me a while before I realized that all of the potential ‘solutions’ that I came up with, and that I was completely unsatisfied with, were rooted in the granted acceptance of the restrictions of time and space… which is defined by us. Sometimes, that slips my mind.
Then I had a very liberating laugh as I realized that there are infinite solutions out there, if we only step outside of the box and limitations that we place ourselves in. And, suddenly, the world seemed really big, and really good, and inviting to be tackled and tasted and explored.
Just because we have a thought pattern or a “plan” for life and the future… doesn’t mean that that is the “way” to go. Every step leads somewhere; you don’t have to keep treading in the same direction. That’s why the world is round, right?
So, go forth and open yourself to change, and be humble, but be bold, and conquer.