While doing fall chores the other day the ladder I was on gave way. Apparently, my weight was above the fulcrum which was the roof edge causing the foot of the ladder to begin sliding backward. I found myself on an accelerating descent. The ladder slid off the edge of the deck propelling me backwards into a reverse summer sault, my body eventually coming to rest on the ground. As I lay there on my back, I was taken with a feeling I can only describe as euphoria. Other than a few minor aches and pains, a few bruises, I found myself in a better place mentally, more upbeat, than at any time in recent memory. Given that I did not intentionally seek this sense of exaggerated well-being, I nevertheless got to thinking that the experience must be something akin to the adventures sought by adrenalin junkies, those who regularly defy fate, put themselves in situations of potentially serious danger.
The exhilaration was great to experience though it faded fairly quickly, was gone in a couple of hours, but I have no intention of re-creating the emotional high through intentional risky behavior. I’m too much of a realist and kind of old (brittle bones, you know). But If it should happen I make a bad decision while at the mercy of gravity in the future I’ll hope for a similarly favorable outcome.
I’m finding the transformation of nature this time of year breathtaking. The vibrancy and variety of colors transforms the environment so dramatically my visual surroundings become something totally other, so changed, that, on a walk in the woods, I find myself someplace unrecognizable as if it were another world.
Nature though is dying, she is in the throes of death, breathing a last gasp as she fades into dormancy. In another month these woods will appear dead, reduced to subdued browns and grays. They will have been abandoned by songbirds and hibernating animals. There will be little to suggest there is any life existing here at all. The death of nature will, of course, eventually transition into a sort of rebirth or at least a regeneration of life as the seasons advance.
What makes nature’s metaphorical death so unique is the flair, the exuberant celebration of finality she displays. Such an enthusiastic embrace of physical demise doesn’t seem to follow for the animal world except, perhaps, for certain humans convinced they too will be reborn in the spring.
Hindu believers see existence as never ending; people are born into being, live their lives and die only to be reborn, hopefully into a better situation than they left. Although, if they aren’t lucky or haven’t accumulated enough good karma they might end up as a lesser animal or even inanimate like a rock (or a doll).
The skeptic in me thinks they might very well have gotten this idea by watching plant and animal life cycle through the seasons year after year but who am I to question an age-old belief embraced by so many people.
So, when I look at some of the Hindu gods I have to wonder what kind of karma they accrued in their previous lives. Take Ganesha: human body, elephant head and lots of arms. The story goes he was born of Shiva and Parvati both of whom had lots of arms so that attribute may have been hereditary, but it certainly doesn’t explain the elephant head.
If we assume Ganesha accumulated, in previous lives, sufficient good karma to become a god then maybe an elephant head is superior to a human head; maybe Ganesha is further along the karmic path than anyone else.
I’m not sure how to think about my own karmic destiny. Considering the present quality of my construction my previous life must not have been all that wonderful. Maybe if I’m exceptional this life I’ll come back as …………….a Barbie?