“Earth, isn’t this what you want: to arise within us?…What, if not transformation, is your urgent command? Earth, my dearest, I will… Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the first….Look, I am living…Superabundant being wells up in my heart.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, #9. translated by Stephen Mitchell
She approaches: Summer. Revealing herself to us as a goddess slides her nightgown from her shoulders. All corners of our heart and soul that lay buried under the leaf litter of winter, are now exposed, throbbing to be seen and known. Even the lacey blooms of spring have fallen, giving way to the stark beauty of dark red flutes, their female parts languid, sticky with desire, anticipating the erotic tongue of a hummingbird, the tickle of a warm wind.
Summer’s proud burlesque throws us into a vulnerable landscape of the soul, thawing the protective parts of us that thrived in winter. We claim to adore the harsh light of the sun, yet tremble to imagine what are we being asked to reveal, to learn, to conquer in this most sensuous season. Some all-too-human part of us longs for the frigid certainty of winter, where we could forget that we are made of the fluid substance of the stars. Where we can stand in our snow boots and cry, “I am a person. I have ideals. I deserve to endure!”
Summer strips all the ice away, crying, “You are here! In youth, in age, in pain, in love, in grieving, in wild joy, you are here. “
It sounds so simple. And yet, in the winter of our souls, we put our noses to the grindstone, not within the petals of a gardenia. We stay frozen in our longing to keep our bodies and beloveds secure, untainted by time and mortal shore.
Summer watches us, shaking her silken hair, the pale grasses of summer.
“Come,” She whispers, “be with me in Eternity. Walk through the garden and peer into the gently swaying leaves of the birch. Be still. You will see the mother wren wrangling an earthworm, hear the piping of her babies: know that you are not separate.”
Can we let Her teach us? Can we allow a thaw?
If we can bear to love the bones of our true nature, laid bare in summer’s beckoning light, being mortal is not so terrible. We run, we leap, we love, fearless, in the bounty of the now.
Wow, so poetic, so beautiful, so full of subtle truths that bring me to the core of who I am and of what I am both in awe of and afraid of. Thank you for this, Elizabeth. It’s a beautiful and soulful piece of writing that will take some time for me to digest.