Saturday, December 10, 2016

Springtime - Season of Metamorphosis

“Springtime is here.
I sing with the warbler,
laugh with the stream,
whistle in the breeze.
Time matters not when,
and for how long I shall
from here meet my Creator
who makes them all.”- AVR

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Hibiscus flower awaiting sunrise to open. Photo by Carla Lea Salamanque

Inflorescence of a weed, Parks and Wildlife Center, Diliman, QC.

"The spirit of the new springtime is renewal," said Mother Teresa after receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace. "It is a time of conversion, to be a new person." It is metamorphosis.

It is when "All the World's a Stage" begins, when every creature, big or small, wakes up to a "Whispering Within". When the sound is pure and clear and the happiest of all sounds - and not a "Big Bang" - it must be springtime. And the sound comes from deep within, a calling closest to the heart, ringing the bells of hope and joy to be alive.

And the sleeping buds wake up with the dewdrops heralding the end of drought or winter, breaking into emerald, the first color of spring. Soon a myriad colors comes at its heels in the promise of bounty. The hollow of tree is filled with hungry groan. The stream whispers, the brook laughs. Up on a branch a robin sings, his notes crispy in the chilly air. A butterfly metamorphoses, her wings catching the color of rainbow. And the rainbow makes a huge cathedral in the sky that dwarfs us and we are filled with wonder and awe.

If one finds meaning in the risen bud, in the cathedral of rainbow, then he is blessed. For he is a man in the new springtime, a person renewed.

It is in the image of springtime, which according to Pope John XXIII, connotes newness and freshness. It is when music is soothing to hear and colors are a kaleidoscope. It is when growth and hope are nurtured.

But it is not always that in the life of a person springtime means renewal. The regularity of time and seasons has made the experience an ordinary one, routinely like a cycle, prosaic as rules one has grown accustomed to throughout the years. Matters of importance are no longer in the stars or about a sheep eating flowers with thorns.

Here is a news story that we glimpse into a new syndrome in today's society. It is about a unique incident in Paris a few years ago when farmers built overnight a piece of the countryside right in front of the Arch d' Triumph. In the morning people of all walks of life put off their urban chores and dreamily enjoyed the rustic scene they apparently had been missing.

"Gubat sa Siyudad", "Disneyland", "Fantasy Island" are more of a symptom than fancy. More and more people who are tired of city life and the fast lane are yearning to go back and live in less congested areas where they are close to nature, and corollary to God. And before we ask ourselves, "Quo vadis?" we must realize that everything in this world, without exemption, is interconnected.

It is this interconnection that is the key to unity and understanding, respect and reverence, compassion and humility. Such interconnection links the parts of the living and the non-living world, the abstract and the concrete, the past and the present, the macroscopic and the microscopic world, diverse cultures and races - and most fundamentally, the relationship of man and God.

But as a country becomes progressive, economically and technologically that is, more and more of its citizens become disconnected from the countryside as they flock to cities in some kind of frenzy, a kind of Gold Rush reminiscent of the old West. And what is paradoxical is that cities are growing at the expense of the countryside, eating out precious productive areas, draining precious manpower and resources, supplanting tradition and values with "modern culture".

It is like the human body enticed with material things with adornment leading to self adoration that the spirit is left unattended like a countryside laid in waste. Here a dichotomy emerges, one leading to what we call "modern civilization" while the other lingers in limbo of neglect and false rationalization. It cannot be that there are two seasons that occur at the same time. It cannot be that the body enjoys the cares and abandon of youth, the "glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome" while the spirit lies in winter or in the desert.

This "disconnection syndrome" buries deeper that attachment between us and God, us and nature, which is intrinsic in our genes. The memory of that attachment surfaces now and then in our language, painting, music, legends - even in our thoughts over a sunset or a flowering weed. That is why we yearn to go back, but quite often find ourselves busy, and afraid to set aside things of "consequence" that now threaten to disturb our present lives. We are afraid to take the path of the Prodigal Son. 

Sharing makes the world go round and around. How beautiful Reader's Digest puts it. To wit:

"Every human being on this earth faces a constant problem: how to make the most of life. There is no single solution, the art of living is the most difficult of all the arts. But fortunately for all of us, experience can be shared. Insights can be learned. Wisdom can be taught. Experiences, insights and wisdom of men and women - from teachers to clergymen, housewives to scientists, ordinary citizens to statesmen - who have lived deeply, thought profoundly and cared enormously about sharing with others what they learned have found some fragments of truth that cushion the harsh impact of reality or brightens the marvelous tapestry of living. From them we find some answers to the most fundamental of all questions: how to live with life."

This excerpt demonstrates human relationship on the highest plane. Simplicity as a common denominator for all those willing to live by it as a virtue breaks the wall separating today the haves and the have-nots, the whites and the colored, and the barriers of distance, belief, ideology and fame. But it is only when one takes the road less trodden that he can truly touch the lives of those who are poor and are living in poverty, not as a choice or virtue, but because they are inevitable, unwilling victims of it.

This is the road the Good Samaritan took. Here sharing takes a higher category, that of compassion. Compassion comes from a deep source, it springs from the hadal depth, not so much of reason but of love which reason cannot fully explain. From here flows the stream of openness and availability, that compassion becomes universal - in both time and space - respecting all mankind, and going back to ecological paradigm, respecting too, all living creature, big and small, and all the things that make this world a place of Paradise. It is only through deep prayer and faith that we can regain that place we lost. John Milton saw it only when he became blind and illumined its beauty with the power of the pen, while Helen Keller shared it to us on the Braille.

Are these enough to live by? No. Still there is a higher realm of human virtue, and this is the element of taking risk and sacrifice. "If you truly love and care," says Mother Teresa, "you are not afraid."

But it is more important to work with others. This is the element of collaboration. It is in collaboration that we do not only come up with collective strength but build interdependence with which we re-enforce the efforts of others in the magic of synergy. It cannot be explained why collective effort surpasses the sum of individual efforts, why spiritual love can not be equated with human love, why happiness when shared multiplies, why in quiet prayers comes a great resolve.

These are difficult to understand in theory and in good times, when we are only witnesses, nay bystanders. If we are teachers and not disciples, critics and not doers, victors and not the vanquished.

It is easier to teach than to learn, to lecture than to share, to welcome than to accept, to accept than to forgive. It may be easier to treat a friend than a brother, receive awards than show recognition, walk up to the podium than stoop to lend a hand. How do we know endurance from sacrifice? Responsibility from accountability? To help from to care?

Wake up. It is springtime. ~

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