Easter lily postscript

May 2, 2011

Impermanence plunges us into the depth of all Being. And so all forms of the present are not to be taken and bound in time, but held in a larger context of meaning in which we participate. I don’t mean this in a Christian sense (from which I ever more passionately distance myself) but in a sheer earthly, deep earthly, sacred earthly consciousness: that what we see here and now is to bring us into a wider — indeed, the very widest — dimension. Not in an afterlife whose shadow darkens the earth, but in a whole that is the whole.


With only a hint of pink in its fallen petals, the perky lily blossoms of last week have, in the short period of a week, transformed themselves from the quality of “fragile fertility” into the more delicate appearance of “fragile beauty”. A potent reminder, as Rilke would write, of our “fearfully fragile” lives.

Being Ephemeral

Does Time, as it passes, really destroy?
It may rip the fortress from its rock;
but can this heart, that belongs to God,
be torn from [God] by circumstance?

Are we as fearfully fragile
as Fate would have us believe?
Can we ever be severed
from childhood’s deep promise?
Ah, the knowledge of impermanence
that haunts our days
is their very fragrance.

We in our striving think we should last forever,
but could we be used by the Divine
if we were not ephemeral?

Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus II, 27

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