X: X-ray for Change
On our landrover trips further into the bush on our Botswana adventure, we came across this very dead tree standing tall in the water. The tree struck me the first time I saw it; and again the next time at a different time of day and light. This was one of two photos I took the last time we passed it by. I loved the shape of it, especially how the branches were in symmetry at the top. And the tree and branches reminded me of an x-ray of the body, or some of it. I wondered how something entirely dead could look so lovely, and be in life-giving waters.
Over the last several days I’ve been thinking about that dead tree in life-giving waters and the symbolism it represents to me personally. For me, it symbolises the necessity of ‘doing’ or ‘practising’ a death meditation every now and then. Some I know do it daily, on arising. How to simply put it – it considers life and death together, the two most extremes that I can think of, the two most extreme opposites that have to do with us, with you, with me, and is an exercise of value. It makes me think about life, my life, others’ lives, loved ones past and present. I put a sort of an x-ray onto those thoughts and feelings – interesting of course only to me – and thoughts and meditations on death of course enter the picture – ever changing and deepening (I hope) –
It is a task to attempt to hold those extremes in a healthy tension – but the task has value to me. The dead tree in water photograph is a graphic symbol of life and death residing together in symbiotic relationship. For me I must reflect on them, often. It is not morbid.
The first time I saw this spider web it was glistening in the bright morning sunlight, bejewelled and sparkling. This photo of it doesn’t do it justice, taken as it was at a different time. But, in whatever light, it was impressive. I thought briefly of Arachne (mere mortal) who challenged Athene (goddess) in the arts of weaving. Athene turned Arachne into a spider endlessly swing at the end of a thread. I thought of other myths and stories around the spider – and its web – it’s a very powerful symbol worthy of attempting to x-ray it and valuing the symbolism. I thought of the fine-ness of it, its elaborateness, its tension, its connections, its beauty, a tapestry, glistening like a jewel, so fragile, so strong, it’s threads sometimes used to make parachute chords.
I remember a dream from a long time ago in which I was bitten by a spider above my right ankle on my leg.
This last photo is of a baobab tree taken on our first walking day on The Island. Again, not a great pic … but this one was unusual as it has two trunks. The baobab tree is a mighty work of nature. Elephants love the pods from which tartaric acid is made and it’s used in food. They have a lovely lemony taste. I read in the Air Botswana in flight-magazine of a baobab that had recently toppled over. It was over 3000 years old. Before Christ, before Buddha –
So, x-ray and change – there’s always a new way of viewing an x-ray.
Thank you for being with me on this trip – the A-Z trip and my Botswana trip. My US guests left for home last evening, and I am settling back into things, not least catching up on your blogs.