Saturday, July 31, 2010

Evergreen and Indigo

The name of this blog has quite a bit of significance to me. Evergreen and Indigo is the title of the 1st chapter in my fourth book Mayfly Requiem, which I am still transcribing. The story itself is completed, but I made the decision right away to hand write the entire thing, so I am now going through the tedious process of writing it out. The colors signify forests and the night sky, the two symbols of my own childhood. Mayfly Requiem is the story of a fallen immortal, written as both a confession and a series of letters to the narrator's sister, who is also an immortal. It deals with misplaced, misinterpreted, and mis-recorded history (history is written by the winners of wars and the politically strong), gods who are fallible and not much more than stronger beings than the humans they oversee, guilt over innocent actions having horrible consequences, and forgiveness, both of the self and of others.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter Evergreen and Indigo, the first of many second-person letters the narrator Lani writes to his sister Dia.

My first memory is of evergreen. Not the tree, but the color. It embraces me, caresses me, envelopes me in a furious glow. It is comfort. It is home, my home, our first home in Lusifal in the days before we knew who we really were. I still dream of it, but you are no longer part of those viriscent dreams, my dear. Our vines have been severed and now I can only dwell in the evergreen alone. There are so many things I choose not to remember, but so many more I am unable to forget.

Dia, I remember you telling me your own dreams were not green, but indigo, an overwhelming blue twilight lit by stars from within. It is your own, and I can't even imagine it. It is only one more thing that makes us different. I can not experience your twilight, and you can not feel my evergreen. These are always the realms we experience alone, though we often dream each other within them. We reinvent our childhoods in deep colors, but are forced to face reality the moment we open our eyes. You always handled it better than I did. You were always stronger than me. I envied you, envy you, for that. Maybe that is why my dreams are still evergreen.

On My Version of Pantheism

When I was seventeen, I found myself on a mountain overlooking Grenoble, France. I was touring Europe with a youth symphony, and my host family took me hiking up the mountain. I remember looking down from our resting point at a little glacial lake and thinking, "This is nature. This is all there is, and all there needs to be, and it is phenomenal." I took a picture, but it in no way captures the magnificent and immense scale of the scene. I really started to find myself from that perch in the French Alps.

I was raised by a Methodist on the edge of a national forest. We went to church mostly on holidays and if it was socially convenient. I think she went every Sunday until my father died when I was four, and then her perspective changed. I spent most of my time outside in the forest, and I think that is how I ended up dabbling in paganism for a couple of years. I loved the nature aspect of Wicca, but I never actually believed in gods and goddesses. In college, I had an epiphany on an overnight canoe trip. I was watching the stars overhead and realized that this, nature, was all their was, but that was more than enough. My respect for science deepened further, and I was inspired to write my first book, The Crystal Lattice. I was always a huge science and nature aficionado, and was working toward my engineering degree. After my epiphany, I started calling myself "agnostic pagan', and I refined that term to "pantheist" after I learned the terminology.

Nature calms me in a way nothing else does. After my friend died, I sat outside all night watching the Aurora Borealis. After both the Columbia disaster and September 11, I went out into the woods and wrote poetry for hours. When things got tough in college, I would spend a night camping in the forest with my schoolwork. I reclaim my oneness with nature and visit it with reverence and respect. Every particle and physical interaction in the universe is part of it. I am one little piece, but that just makes me part of the whole. Its energy is mine, my individuality is part of its collective soul. Every rock, every star, every animal is part of the whole and what happens to one happens to all. My philosophy renders me a tree-hugging vegan, but that is perfectly fine withe me. I love the Wiccan sentiment of "An' it harm none, do as you will." I let others live their lives as they wish as long as they are not hurting anyone else. I just wish other people would do the same.

I have run out of time for now. My little piece of love in the universe is now awake and ready to start his evening.

To My Religious Friends

Do not pity me, do not feel sorry for me. I have chosen my path by my own free will. I am not lost, so there is no need for me to be found. My life is not empty. I know who I am and I know my purpose. I love, I am loved, and I strive every day to make sure I leave this world in better condition than I found it. My world is not dark and it is not cold. I see beauty and divinity in the world around me, and it is in no way less meaningful than your world ruled by a deity. My divine is love and nature, physics and chemistry and respect. I can respect you without agreeing and love you without believing that my love was directed by a higher power. Disagreement is not mocking, but instead is a quest for mutual understanding. I have no reason to mock you and it is hurtful when you proclaim how sorry you are for me.

Have you ever tried to see the universe from a different perspective, maybe one you were not taught through tradition? I can see your point of view because I explored it in my initial wandering. I do not wander anymore. I now understand my place in the universe, and it is right here where I am. I may be small, but I am not insignificant. I can touch the lives of others, and my small caress can ripple through humanity in a subtle wave. I do not need to make the world mine, I just need to make my own world matter. I need to make it matter for my son, my husband, my friends, and my family.

I am not lacking for anything intangible, so do not pity my lack of belief. I have hope, but it is centered around humanity instead of the vague promise of reward based on faith. I see hope and wonder in the eyes of my child and I know he is something special and unique, as is every child in the world. I have not squandered the concept of a soul, for all my soul is is my individuality. I am not like any other even though we are all fundamentally the same, and that spark of uniqueness is my soul. I have morals, and I try to live my life as well as possible because I am living for this life and this life alone. I am living my way so my progeny can thrive in a safe and clean world. I am not selfish. I have sacrificed an incredible amount for other people, so do not trivialize my achievements just because they were not accomplished under the banner of a belief. I try to always be honest, even if the truth isn't always what people want to hear. The truth is deserved by all and it is told out of love and not fear.

Do not pity me, my friend, for I do not live in fear. I lost my fear when I found myself. I found intense love for humanity, respect for the universe and everything in it, virtue in rationality, and innate values which embrace the best of all religions. I respect you as an individual, so please respect me. If you feel you must pray for me, go ahead, but I do not need it and it honestly makes me a bit uncomfortable if you tell me outright that you are. A kind word and a kind thought will suffice, and I will reciprocate the same to you. Work toward your own peace as I work toward mine. Embrace me because I am different from you, since it would be a boring world if we were all the same.