Well it wasn't exactly nowhere. It's been buried in dark Mother Earth since it's appearance last summer. The prior owners planted it so I often forget it's here. Atop the tall stem were several buds none of which were open.
I greeted it as the phrase, "The Eternal Return" crossed my mind. I've heard this phrase used but didn't really know what it meant. Later I went on-line and found articles referencing the eternal return in relation to philosophy, religion and science as well as a listing of movies and books utilizing the concept. I went straight to my head not necessarily a bad thing, but this foray did take me away from my experience. I printed out each piece and read. I read until I realized my reading was ultimately about proving I 'knew' what I was talking about when I wrote this story. I wanted to impress readers. I laid aside the articles and returned outside.
Two days later, five of eight buds were open. For several days we visited. The lily always brought a smile to my face. I was aware that all too soon it would return to Mother Earth. Then it occurred to me, what if Mother Earth and the soil are gifted in that return with the appreciative, loving energy shared by me, the birds and the above world the lily had experienced.
We think of flowers, or at least I do, as fragile but they're the ones that live in the dark most of the year then graced fully, arise to see what's going on in our world, to check out how we're doing, then let go, releasing their present form to return to Earth.
I imagine them watching us to see if we're paying attention. Do we see with our eyes, really see, the beauty, the depth and the lessons with which we're surrounded and provided?
I thought my story had ended. I hesitated posting it, still feeling pressure not knowing what "eternal return" really meant as opposed to my quaint philosophizing as an anonymous critic had just written me.
The week of the lily's resurrection, I discovered or had discover me, two dead emerald green, June bugs. I kept them side by side on the deck where they stayed never being moved by bird or breeze. Mindful that in the past year we've been witness to the burying of a fawn, fox, hawk and several birds, why would I not likewise honor these gem-like bugs?
It seemed natural to dig a small hole and bury the pair side by side at the base of the lily. As I dug, I sensed I was participating in sacred ritual. These were June bugs but they also looked like beetles, bugs symbolic of resurrection. The lily, one of the flowers associated with Mary and to me Great Love, would watch over two beetle-kin, a couple possibly. I smiled. Maybe this was what the Eternal Return meant for me, a continuing cycle of living in love, the giving and receiving of loving awareness between what felt like the bugs, the lilies and me, a holy trinity of sorts in my garden.
I thought this story complete until this weekend.
A week later, I find another June bug dead lying on my deck. I returned to the lily no longer its blooming self but still a slender stalk of green grace. I held the June bug. Something was different about this one. This June bug was headless. It held the perfect message for me regarding staying in my body and listening to experience.
I dug a third hole and buried this small but beautiful creature. Then as I patted
earth, my breath was taken. Two little heads poked up through Mother
Earth each a couple of inches tall, two more lilies.
What a beautiful gift of reciprocity and affirmation. I imagined Mother Earth honoring my burying of the least of her creatures, two June bugs, with the gift of two more lilies.
Then this morning I awoke hearing what sounded like esoteric, scriptural math, "The one (lily or Love) shall become two and the two (June bugs or male/female, being/doing) become three."
To me, this is the Eternal Return for Love is eternally returning, offering itself, waking me in each moment in the lilies, bugs and beings I meet.
The Plants, the Animals and We....a Holy Trinity gifted with the experience of love each new moment repeatedly.
What eternally returns for you?