I don’t know who was doing the witnessing –
the lavender plant, or me.
I only know that its divine presence shone forth,
that in its presence I moved closer
to an experience of the sacred.
So, rather than passing it by, I stopped.
I stopped and spoke to it.
Not an audible speech, but a soundless one.
The cathedral whisper one uses
when one recognizes divinity.
I danced with the lavender too,
but not the dance of the body, no,
the motionless dance of the witness,
of awareness at rest in itself,
While admiring eastern pines
this morning, I paused
to marvel at my heart
for knowing how to beat.
I watched the red bird prince
along branches of holly,
eager to claim the berries
of color and liveliness
equal to his own.
He had a tiny snow-cap
atop his head, and behaved
like such a gentleman
that I sensed less betrayal
in the world,
and in myself
a trifle of harmony.
Like a moment spent singing,
the sighting exalted me,
bringing me tidings
of gladness and goodness,
as if he were
a little winged St. Nicholas.
The tigers kept to the shade, turned away from the onlookers and fascination-creatures on two legs. They looked out through tiger eyes, thinking tiger thoughts. Swish went their tails, occasionally, swish. Primal dignity.
The elephant knew what I was feeling. Her mind was lucid, comprehending. With a heart greater and stronger than my own, she understood why I kept looking away, yet accepted her life with a gentle patience that, in itself, elevated the woes of humanity to something transcendent of shimmering grace.
As for the lion, he locked eyes with me. “Why did you come here today?” he seemed to ask. “I don’t come to watch you sleep, to watch you clean meat from the bones given you. Go on now, do what I cannot. Go back. Go home.”