Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Mill Race

The land which belonged to my grandfather and where my father spent his last days was a farm near town that had once been home to a mill during what I can only figure had been in operation during the civil war era and before.  I say this because what I once took to be an old road was what I would find when we sought to sell this farmland, was an old mill race.  Walking the land in the run up to our sale of this land, I became aquainted with this recent discovery and realized that yes, this was a careful earthwork that had been made a very long time ago.  So long ago that its purpose had eluded many as it lay in dissuse, its road-like canal filling up with debris and tumbling stone from the rocky soil. 

It was itself a masterwork of design.  It had to follow some simple rules that had to do with the flow of water and the lay of the land.  It had to cut through certain portions of the property in order  to make use of the natural slope in order to get the most effeciency out of the water.  In a place that was no longer, stood an old mill, a ghost, really, whose very foundation stones had long since been removed and used for a house, perhaps to fill potholes in the marshy road that criss-crossed the low-lying meadow.  It is easy over the course of time to forget about these ancient purposes and designs that slip from memory due to change. 

Tonight as I sat watching a story about Howard Hughes, who was an aviator, I felt the strong presence of my grandfather near and words moved silently between us about the generations, about how things had been for him and I, and how things could be, and how change will continue to move forward.  My grandfather was himself something of an aviator, and he had to ditch a plane in West Virgina one night under a stronger than ususal head-wind that left him short on gas before his next fueling stop.  Hughes had just ditched in similar conditions when testing a plane that broke a speed record.  One was in a creek bed while another was in a beet field.  Both stepped out unscathed.  Remarkable, lucky, or blessed. 

Things like lost mill races have been running through my mind lately, the thought that we are sometimes lost in knowing the lay of our own inner landscapes, uncertain as to our own capacity for knowing what we are made of.  My sense has been since I was a young thing that we have some inner capacity, an inner earthworks that lay, just like that mill race, unused, hidden by brambles, or ignored.  But in living, in our focus outward into the world, we can lose sight of what we are, who we are, how we are.  We can forget the ancient multidimensional nature of our own beings.  We are cosmopolitan, varied, multifaceted, and most certainly cosmic.  But we forget this.  We grow into ourselves while losing sight of what is in ourselves.  our mettle, our purposes, our inner design.

In all of us is the means to know and o grasp all that we need to make the reat shifts in our lives that will bring us fulfillment.  That is a big word, fulfillment.  It is so incredibly relative, and yet, it moves evenly with us each step along the way.  What fulfills one step is itself a sieve that leaves us dry or wanting.  Sometimes I wonder if life doesn't just conspire to gently place us smack dab in the midst of plainness so that we, sitting in such drab surrounds, begins to feel that old mill wheel turning in our imaginations and a world rises up full of promise, water, and grist.  Perhaps the very fuels for our forward motion is our ceaseless desire that also evolves as we rise upwards, lighter, more gossamer.  But whatever the individual story, we have the means.  Its all been packed into us perfectly, like rations and machinery to make the craft of our lives move with elegant speed.  Until we learn the means of its power, perhaps we sputter along.  But even in sputtering, we feel around like blind mechanics twisting this and turning that until some lost knoiwing fills us and is lost no more.  Observant, engaged, what was once a road becomes a canal.  What was once a brambled mass is something waiting to become known in its intended purpose.  Perhaps just knowing this is so is enough to move the wheels within. 

We dont even need to know how it all works....least not that part that we comfort ourselves is so knowing and up on every trend and facet and method and means.  This kind of knowing goes back to the smile a baby feels spreading across its face before it even knows what a smile is.  Something deeper seems to know, something deeper will guide. I rather think its a matter of learning to get out of our own way.  We might be inspired by worldly events, by those who have been there before us, or by those who are just now stepping into its sparkling stream.  While this may be so in some cases, the grandest means, the most enduring way, I suspect is what we meet on our own as a part of the universe realizing itself, a relfection reflecting on itself.  Not an illusion, but a tunnel of perception, another way to be to see, to know, to feel.  It seems that we need only be encouraged by ourselves simply to reach it.  Perhaps you can feel it yet not entirely know its contents or means or purposes.  Perhaps in knowing, we play tricks on ourselves and make the mind too central to all of this. 

I can't, nor wont, suggest the way to this.  I know how it has been for me, how the path has been traced thus far.  I know in a thousand different lives there might be similarities, and yet, each trace, each mill race, will itself run perhaps in different ways, perhaps for divergent purposes.  It is enough though to reach for it, to make myself available to learn, to become.  Some may dam the water to control it, and that may work well for some.  Others might have an entirely different way to their own fulfillment.  Who is to say?  How are we to say?

Greatly changed, my grandfather felt to my heart and mind tonight, and yet, still the same in some ways.  His energetic presence perhaps unleashed from his older limiting views.....perhaps more cosmopolitan, refined, even.  Within him, though, a vitality that can be sense in our flesh as blood carries it, an energetic fingerprint alive and renewed in each moment, never aging, but always in the flux of becoming.  His presence suggested change and a steadiness in such change.  He was in a very similar position as I even though our positions are now greatly changed.  Even as each row of petals bears some pattern and choreography from the past, there is always this change that opens up those old races within and discoveries are made about what is yet to be fully realized known, or embodied.  It would be wonderful if we could all just get the answer and let that be that, but if that were the way it was, this world would dry up like a desert in no time flat.  Life would probably just dry up with it.  Diving deep, we discover the most when we remain unafraid of that which remains to be discovered or realized.  Less a truth as a living truth that is renewed like blood each and every moment.  Following the wisdom of the flesh, there is much we could learn from this temple that we have been gifted with.  As it was dreamed in the beginning, my temple has the headwaters flowing directly below it. No need for a mill race. Here, whatever mystery is to be revealed will probably be in evidence probably long before I am even aware that it is even there.  The discovery of what is, though, is what seems perfect. 

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