Walking with the dog in the pasture behind my house, taking pictures of the dew, I hear some sort of rustling. I turn to see a charming bird, hopping about gayfully, priming and singing amongst the frost tipped leaves adorning the side of the shed. Of course my first instinct is to take a picture. As I approach, I notice something red calling to me from the ground. I come close and find tomatoes! Tomatoes!! Growing wild? I bend over to examine the situation and find a handful of red, ripe, roma tomatoes! I look around. It dawns on me that the spot where I am standing is the leftovers of someone’s garden, years ago perhaps. But nonetheless, the tomatoes have stood the test of time. I decide to bring my camera into the house, grab a bag and go back to the site to pick more of the tomatoes, in fear that the early frost will begin to get the better of them.
I laugh at myself at the thought of my discovery. “Wild tomatoes!” I exclaim to myself – smiling, no laughing heartedly in the morning crisp air, surrounded by wild weeds, wild dew, and wild tomatoes! After I amass the tomatoes follows the thought of leaving them to dry out in the sun, and perhaps the opportunity to ripen a bit more.
It is with no shame that as I reflect on this incident, this delightful morning surprise, I am aware of the magnificence of this experience. The dew called to me while walking the dog. I wanted photos, up close and revealing its delicate, lacey, transparency against the backdrop of tall, autumn grass, clutching to its final foray of green as it begins to dwindle into the earth’s calling. Camera in hand, I awaken to the call of the bird. The bird leads me to the tomatoes. Wild tomatoes!! I am laced with gifts: the healing, cooling wetness of dew upon my skin, the enchanting song of a plumb dove, the besieging of a copious amount of birthing autumn images and colours, and a child-like delight to be engaged with pasture, mountain, crisp air, sunny day and lagging time. I am free in this moment.
Yet moments like these do not pay the bills, or call me to the experience of the responsibilities in my life. But yet I am inspired. Inspired to write, to paint, to reflect and ponder on the unsolvable and unnameable wonder of this Divine merit. However it also ignites questions into the vicissitude of loneliness. For without some attraction, some attention and affection, some understanding of my presence standing with humility against the backdrop of glorious sun, the Voice of Life goes unnoticed, unappreciated, unrecognized. It might be painful to engage with the bittersweet lament of nature.
It might cause me to have to withstand some agonizing thought about how disengaged I can become when permitting the humdrum of this busy world to take shape in the early hours of my morning life.
Guilt and worry and anxiety about money, how to make a living, where to go, what to do, how to look, who to ask, all are burdensome. The simplest, most innocent part of me would much prefer to simply be with the buzzing bees as they frolic in the wings of yellow buttercups. I would much prefer to wait patiently for at least minutes if not hours for the return of the dove so that I may glimpse and capture the image of his grace – wings in flight – against the lens of my camera. I would so like to reckon the hue of this autumn morn, with brush in hand, dribbling paint wherever the Spirit calls me to do so. Languishing against the sacred sound of wind, capturing morning prayers and hymns at the piano is a meager blessing as compared to the wardrobe of beauty sitting still at the foot of the mountain. But nonetheless, the voice of Majesty awakens the voice within to respond with delicate prayer.
Does this create division in my life? Yes. For this world tells me I must make a living. This world tells me I must succeed. The world tells me I must embrace responsibility and employment. My heart speaks differently. It tells me to be quiet, engage with nature, be retired. It tells me to observe. What good does all of this do?
I think the answer lies in uniting these two worlds, rather than struggle to choose between them. Find the work ethic amongst the trampled wild flowers, gather up ideas spinning against graveled roads, embrace the welcome of vision and imagination crying out boldly from the tallest trees, weed through gulleys for the call to positive action, and find the besieging love cry against the bluest of sky. Then take up all of this bounty and pour it into the sacred vessel of your work. Dance with the leaves, shake and roar like thunder and lightning to meet the impetus of the day. Find yourself enthralled with your capacity to carry all of this within you, and feel the beauty of witness as you look into the eyes of another, realizing that they too might share in the delight of finding some wild tomatoes one day!! Amen!!
Peace for the journey,
Vivianne LaRiviere is a multi-media artist and Spiritual Arts Practitioner