A friend shared with me an image that won’t stop fluttering in my thoughts. Sometimes that is not such a good thing, but in this case it is a pleasure.
Picture if you will, an intensely blue autumn sky. It shouldn’t require too many pixels of imagination because we have been wrapped by such shapeless sun-drenched linen for many days.
Then see what appears to be high distant birds twirling effortlessly, luffing and lilting this way and that on invisible wands of air. But wait, they aren’t birds at all but golden pieces of corn husks stirred into a shear wisp of cloud passing high overhead. Glistening in the sun, these light-catching pieces of autumn harvest pulled high into the atmosphere by great gusts of wind, now gently float like feathers to the earth.
Then, as my friend imagined in her poem, the grace-imbued spirit of RBG was aloft winging with abandon and in joyful embrace of the beauty below and heavenly freedom above. This, my friend conjured, was the last flight of a blessed soul – a gift to one having loved so well and so bravely before settling into the earth where she will become the soil for our continued growing.
It is worth remembering from time to time, that this is the symphonic dance of life. As wonderful, arduous, painful, and pleasurable as life may be, its true meaning, or greatest meaning, is in the soil we become for others whose lives are lived after us. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life was huge and seems even mythical now, but whatever she accomplished will enter into into the ground of our being and produce more and greater benefits in the future. Her life, and ours, will enter into the soil of the future from which new possibilities emerge.
We imagine that life is about us – about what we can do and accomplish and acquire for ourselves and our clan or tribe. But it is no more about us than the sunset we enjoy has anything to do with us. Whether a giant redwood or puny poplar, robust sunflower or beach grass, it is all about what we become when we die – rich loam and humus hosting the growth of new life. Likewise, the loving and working and relationships we participate in and navigate are part of a far bigger story, one in which even the most notorious and mythical of us has only a small part.
That is the nature of the Cosmos: An enormous, seemingly limitless matrix of relationships intertwined and interconnected as a massive ecosystem. We feed, or in some cases, poison the sub-system in which we are embedded, providing nurture or sepsis for the future of life and growth around us. No one gets to see the end results of their efforts because each life springs from and feeds all the others. It just keeps on unfolding.
Even lives we judge as awful and scurrilous can become the soil of new and better life – often we learn most vigorously from bad examples. History is the soil we learn from and grow in, or shrivel with and die from. Thank you for your gift to the future RBG.