Thursday, June 20, 2013

You CAN go home again

Each place has its noteworthy attributes. The Land of Entrapment (New Mexico) is famous for its tortillas with the face of Christ on 'em.

Today, outside Bridgeport (California), I had a similar incident. Albeit not as epiphonic as a sacred tortilla, this beer bottle is obviously very special.

It was lying unpreposessedly on a hillside. I don't like to pick up after the hoi poloi and tried to ignore it, but it was the only bit of archaeological evidence lying about so I compromised my principle.

It has a seam, so that marks it as poste-industrial rather than Renaissance. But still, when one is wandering the hills like the Children of Fatima, Julie Andrews or Heidi, it's these kinds of experiences that mark one's days.

Actually, it was the cicadas that impressed. This is a good year for cicadas; they blanket the pinons and junipers across the hills. Their holes, evident wherever one walks, are often clustered in groups in the road tracks.

Their presence holds Jungian significance for me. When I was three we moved to Japan. That was also a good year for cicadas. I'd never heard them in such profusion and when the lifeguard at the nearby pool got wind of my interest he began saving them. (Japanese, at least back then, were very solicitous of  children.) He'd rescue them from the pool and keep them in a shoe box. Once a week Mom'd walk me down to make the pickup after which I'd keep 'em a few days and then let 'em go.

Throughout my life they've marked summer's arrival. But since Tokyo, I haven't experienced such a tremendous number. In those tender days, the trees were tall and the bugs out of sight. This time the trees are small and I can enjoy with ease watching them. It was a "having come full circle" experience.

I was reading an article in the October, 2011 issue of  Indian Country Today on the removal of two dams. The salmon that've been blocked from going upstream for the past 25 generations (100 years) still know where their roots lie. There are only an estimated 3,000 left, down from 380,000 in 1912, but those three thousand are eager to get upstream...home.

Another article (same issue) described a healing ceremony for people who as children had been taken from their families and raised in boarding schools. The healing ceremony included a new name which the recipients shouted to the circle of participants and which they shoutingly returned. Many of the people with new names had tears in their eyes as they walked the New Person around the circle.

And so it was for me. But unlike the Natives, as I watched the cicadas and listened to their song I recalled a numinous childhood experience of wonder and mystery. And unlike the salmon who have to wait a bit longer, I had, once again, come home.


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