What’s in a stone?

June 23, 2005

From across the kitchen I can look through the guest bedroom, out the window, down the lane and see the smoke of the Peace Fire curl upwards into the air.

fire_house_viewWhenever I do so it comforts me. Wisps of smoke, in this instance, signal that there is a caring in this world. A caring associated with being human and a caring associated with being in the more-than-human world.

This caring prevails, has prevailed and will continue to prevail despite Mugabe’s attempts to tear out the shanty town food gardens of Zimbabwe’s poor, despite the Japanese government’s attempts to slaughter more whales, despite the Australian government’s incarceration of refugees, despite the Tasmanian government’s callousness to ancient forests and, even, despite my own inner demons working within me to create unrest and sleepless nights.

rock_eastrock_northrock_westrock_southDaily, for over three years I have walked a mini pilgrimage to the Peace Fire and, in the circular walk around it, have gone to each stone cardinal compass point, faced outward from the fire and said a prayer for peace out over the lichen encrusted rock to the world beyond.

East, North, West, then South. In doing so, over a thousand times my gaze has fallen onto each rock in the morning or evening light. Out of this “attention” has come a knowing and a loving and a caring for each individual rock, as well as for the fire and smoke.

In essence, these stones have become sacred and the smoke is alive. Here, spirit is fused with matter. In return for my giving attention to them, they, now, attend to me. This reciprocity of caring I am grateful for. It sustains me as I sustain them.

Every so often, my solo pilgrimage to the Peace Fire is enhanced by the company of others.

steiner_kidsLast Sunday, for instance, 16 kids and 3 adults from the Sophia Mundi Steiner school in Melbourne joined me around the fire and around the whole of the Peace Walk at Windgrove. The youngsters were, for being just 13 and 14 years old, wonderfully composed, knowledgeable, aware and just plain nice in their exhibited exuberance for life.

They, along with the wisps of smoke in the morning, give me confidence for the future.

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