Friday, March 20, 2009

Raw Materials

Yvonne writes:
When we lived on the coast of North Carolina, we found the water table to be about three inches below the surface of the soil. Geologically, the entire coast might accurately be described as a wetland (the local word is pocosin). The word basin has locally been shortened to bay as in Bay River. Anyhow, natives claim the mosquito as their state bird. Humans in their wisdom have seen fit to dig drainage ditches everywhere to fit the land to serve for agricultural purposes. Indeed, it has become almost a rite of passage among a certain social stratum of high-school males to drive a vehicle into one ditch or another before graduation day.
Anyhow, this is all to set the scene for my real thought here. It concerns water lilies and silt.
The muddy bottom of the ditches is a fertile place indeed. Much, much material comes to rest there. The investigating shovel may find simple saturated earth, runoff fertilizer from the potato fields, waste from careless septic tanks--any amount of assorted material, all of it rich in nutrients. We city-dwelling humans are likely to scorn the material if we are thinking stereotypically; yet there is a class of life form that regards it as desirable. That is the life form that we call water lilies. Such plants put out hungry roots and ingest the material gratefully.
What do they do with it? They convert it into blossoms of unsurpassed beauty. Recall the Buddhist mantra, "Om mane padme hum!"--"Oh, God, the jewel in the lotus!" The lotus or padme perfectly symbolizes the upward-striving spirit in every human--yet its roots are nourished in substances labeled filth.
There is a metaphor here.