Ripening

Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
Epictetus

With the ripening of the fruits in Autumn the leaves begin to wither and the trees, taking up their sap from the earth through the roots, recover themselves and are restored to their former solid texture. But the strong air of winter compresses and solidifies them.
Vitruvius

DSCN8587

DSCN8585

DSCN8588
(the ripening fruit of a calamondin tree, wintering in the basement / Julie Cook ? 2014)

Is it ripe yet?
The coloring is not exactly consistent.
It’s neither green nor orange.
Somewhere in between.
Time ran out.
Gone are the days of bright sun, balmy breezes and star filled nights. . .blessed with the perfect amount of humidity.
Winter’s wrath quickly descended, waving its cold barren hand, dismissing all living things.
Life is now banished from the landscape.
However this particular journey of life, that of progression and ripening, is hell bent to continue.
It is a process that cannot be stopped, only unless Death is allowed to take part.
Out of desperation this ripening, this season of growth, is now relegated to a place less than ideal, albeit safe and protected.
A process which began nine months ago on a warm May day.
A day of flowering and bees, a day of the appearance of tiny green orbs.
The day of completion is finally coming to fruition during the empty chill of December–hidden in the depths of an isolated basement.
Drying, light deprived, with the gradual dropping of leaves, this process of life must see itself through.
As some invisible force, unbeknownst to watchful eyes, continues to will the completion of life despite the now forced hardships.

Parallels exist.
Cycles of life, with the beginning, the ripening and eventual decay, each follow along the same paths taken since the beginning of time.

Many years ago a young couple once found themselves forced to take a journey at a time that was less than ideal.
A cycle of life, which had started nine months prior, was quickly coming to fruition, despite the less than desired conditions.
Traveling alone day and night, exposed to both heat and cold, wind and rain, this young couple is compelled by an invisible force to continue moving forward as their own cycle of life is now racing against time.
Sleep deprived with barley any food or water available, anxiety and worry heap insult upon misery. Weary, with the time of delivery at hand, a safe harbor cannot be found.
Desperate and burdened under a heightened sense of urgency, a dark dung pungent stall is hesitantly offered and thankfully received.

No longer does choice fit into the equation.
The ripening of a couple’s young lives had long been set in motion and they were helpless to stop it.
Process
Cycles
Maturation
Destiny
The circuition of life must see itself to completion.
There will always be a beginning, a middle and an end.
The only way in which the process may be broken is if Death intervenes before expected.

Ripening is not easy nor particularly ideal. It is a time consuming act which is most often agonizingly slow. It is a process that sets its own time and parameters. There is no rushing or speeding up the unfolding of events.
Yet it should be noted that the process is only a smaller component to a much larger cycle, a cycle which must see itself through despite any and all surrounding circumstances or events.
The setting is not always ideal.
The circumstances are not always easy.
Yet an unseen force wills each time of ripening to continue to fruition.

May your own time of ripening bear much appreciated and welcomed fruit. . .

The birth of a storm

DSCN1225
(photograph: the sky form Julie’s yard 2013)

“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”
Epictetus

There is the announcement of “presence”–at first you begin to smell it, as it’s impending arrival hangs heavy in the air. Next comes the rumblings of distant drum beats, growing ever stronger in both frequency and intensity. All of this long before you ever see it, warnings to those in the path…seek shelter or change course…the delightfully thick scent of rain, heavy in the air accompanied by the distant rumblings of thunder all giving way to a growing tempest—the calling card, the announcement, of an impending storm. “Seek shelter / change course– or– hunker down / run like hell.”

I sometimes wish the storms of life, which often assault us with the same intensity, frequency and damaging effects, would or could send out similar calling cards—allowing us to prepare and fight or prepare for flight. And maybe sometimes they do, in some rare instances. But for the most part, these life storms just seem to pop up, like the summer afternoon storms brought about by the heating of the day— unexpectedly appearing out of what was a clear and perfect blue sky kind of day.

And just like those ship captains of long ago, we too gain a strength and a wizened reputation from the “weathering” of these storms…we gain strength, wisdom and a determined sense of perseverance from our journeys through the storms of our lives—it’s all just a matter of surviving and getting to the other side. And this speaks to both types of storms—the literal physical storm descended from the heavens, as well as for the proverbial storms sent down by Life.

Praying for blue skies today for us all.