Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Magical Vines and Adjacent Universes

The Vine
by Robert Herrick

I dreamed this mortal part of mine
Was Metamorphoz'd to a Vine;
Which crawling one and every way,
Enthrall'd my dainty Lucia.
Me thought, her long small legs & thighs
I with my Tendrils did surprize;
Her Belly, Buttocks, and her Waste
By my soft Nerv'lits were embrac'd:
About her head I writhing hung,
And with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves) her temples I behung:
So that my Lucia seem'd to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curles about her neck did craule,
And armes and hands they did enthrall:
So that she could not freely stir,
(All parts there made one prisoner.)
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts, which maids keep unespy'd,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took,
That with the fancie I awook;
And found (Ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a Stock then like a Vine.
That's one of my all-time favorite poems. It's almost pornographic. ;-)

A birdhouse gourd vine has 'magically' grown over one of my butterfly bushes. I grew gourds a few years ago but not since (intentionally), so the kids must have broken one in the yard and spilled the seeds. And actually, these 'accidental' ones are growing even better than the intentionally grown ones. There are two large gourds already and many small ones growing and many more blooms to come. It blooms at night with these big 'veiny' but delicate white flowers. They don't smell good, but they kind of glow in the moonlight. There is one starting to open in the photo.

It is a single plant that has branched out to cover the butterfly bush and weigh it down. (I don't think it will break.) It's amazing how those tendrils 'know' to grasp onto whatever they touch and wind themselves around it. (That brings to mind images of dna replicating.) There is a primal sensuality about tendrils and vines, as Herrick's "dream" also suggests. And to the overimaginative it could appear to be some kind of rudimentary intelligence that a plant responds to touch and has developed a way to exploit that ability.

This year I've been blessed with many volunteer plants, but this gourd vine is the most surprising and perhaps symbolic. Maybe Nature wants me to make more birdhouses and rattles? Yeah, that's probably it - to make up for the ones I didn't finish last time. Nature always manages to get her way. ;-)

So, why rattles? Well, it's a shamanic thing. Many, probably most, shamans use drums and rattles to "call the spirits" and enter trance states and assorted other things. I'm intimidated by drums. I'm not ready to make that much noise. ;-) And I find myself more receptive to a rattle's sound. But I rarely ever shake a rattle because I don't want the kids to wonder what Momma's doing or to think I'm even that much weirder.

Maybe Nature wants me to make rattles and to actually use them? Great, I can hear it now, "knock-knock-knock Momma? What are you doing?" I think I'll keep one in the kitchen to chase away the "evil spirits" that make my lights go off and on by themselves sometimes. Yes, that really does happen, but I'm assured by the resident electrician that it's not "supernatural" though he hasn't fixed the problem yet. ;-) The rattle will be more fun anyway.

What do magical vines have to do with adjacent universes? Last night when I started this I knew where that was going, but today I'm afraid I can only guess. Maybe I was thinking about the surprises of life and how we handle them. When I found the vine growing on my butterfly bush I could have pulled it out to save the bush from any potential damage. But that seemed too rigid and boring. I like to let things grow and to see what happens. I can imagine that if we ever 'find' an adjacent universe and can actually see into it we should be prepared for surprises and possibly even disappointments. What if we find that our counterpart in the other universe doesn't fit our ideal image? Do we reject it or say, "oh, I made a mistake"? Or do we look closer and try to see if the differences are only a reflection of some kind of 'quantum' variations? I don't know. It's not really up to me anyway.

Besides, even if we do wake to find that our magical vine is really 'just' a stock there are lot things that stocks are good for. ;-)

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