Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

Remember how I told you last week that I was trying to be more mindful of time passing? And about reading in Lewis Richmond’s Aging as a Spiritual Practice that his mentor had put pebbles in a bowl, to represent the weeks ahead? Well, a trip to Amazon supplied the ‘pebbles’ — gemstone chips were actually the cheapest! — and a dearly loved group of colleagues supplied the pewter bee bowl years ago when I retired. Voilà! My future weeks in a totally appropriate bowl! (You do see the bee, right?)

The tiny green chip to the right of the bowl is last week. Choosing a colour/ gemstone/ texture/ shape to stand in for the week reminded me of what I did in a way that only my childhood diary (long lost to one of the many moves we made) has previously. I remembered spending a lazy Sunday with my sisters on sisters weekend; shopping just for fun (we didn’t buy a thing!) with 3rd sister; making a pot of tea for all of us to drink later, iced. And sitting outside in the Southern Living adjunct garden, made beautiful courtesy of my sister’s incredibly talented beloved.

via google

via google

I remembered coming home and working in our garden, inspired by both Greg’s example and the upcoming visit — now a yesterday — of my niece & nephews. And cooking, and cutting out pieces of art to go in my journal, and brushing complete HANDFULS of fur off of my cat! I can tell you what everyone had to eat when we took the kids to lunch at a restaurant suitable for 2 meat-eaters, a vegan, a celiac sufferer, and me (Thai, in case you’re in a similar familial situation). In other words, just picking a tiny chip of unnamed green stone — I’m not much of a gemologist — brought all this clearly to mind. And the taking of the tiny pebble from the lovely golden bowl also reminds me that it’s all gone. Irretreviably past in linear time. And I’m one week closer to whenever my clock runs out…

Time — especially the contemplation of its end — is a funny thing. Time stands still when I’m reading, for instance: I can’t tell the house darkens, these days, as I use a Kindle a lot of the time. At least when I’m reading a more traditional book, I need to turn on the lights! While time spent w/ my grandson seems so very short, and he changes radically almost hourly.

via wikimedia commons

via wikimedia commons

These brilliant little pieces of blue & smoky topaz, peridot, agate, lapis, amethyst, citrine, onyx, carnelian, garnet, quartz, obsidian and more?  They are my own version of an hourglass, with my fingers plucking time from its golden bowl each week. Gravity works overtime these days on my poor body. I don’t need it to pull the sands through the fine opening of an hourglass, too. I only need to look in the mirror. Unlike earlier times, when they kept little wooden boxes of skeletons to remind them life would end in worms. Memento mori ~ a remembrance of our inevitable mortality, both my mirror and my body are strong reminders.

And now, I can ever-so-slowly watch these lovely pieces of time geologic compression/ stratification/ metamorphosis recede like tide against the gold background of my bee bowl, as I remove them week-by-week. It seems a fitting mnemonic. In the meantime, I can try to get my beginner’s heart ready for that final adventure…

 

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