January 3rd, 2009
A Message to the Universe
by Kazuo Ohno, 1998
“On the verge of death one revisits the joyful moments of a lifetime.
One’s eyes are opened wide-gazing into the palm, seeing death, life, joy and sorrow with a sense of tranquillity.
This daily studying of the soul, is this the beginning of the journey ?
I sit bewildered in the playground of the dead. Here I wish to dance and dance and dance and dance, the life of the wild grass.
I see the wild grass, I am the wild grass, I become one with the universe. That metamorphosis is the cosmology and studying of the soul.
In the abundance of nature I see the foundation of dance. Is this because my soul wants to physically touch the truth ?
When my mother was dying I caressed her hair all night long without being able to speak one word of comfort. Afterwards, I realized that I was not taking care of her, but that she was taking care of me.
The palms of my mother’s hands are precious wild grass to me.
I wish to dance the dance of wild grass to the utmost of my heart.”
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I think about what Ohno meant. The wild grass dance: can this be where we converge, if we are able, with mother of womb and mother of soil; with both at once? Where we creatively express (in dance, art, smile, love, song) so joyously in life — “joy” not as a function of happiness but simply of pure coursing blood & exhalation — that we merge with the core within us [our past, our genes, our biology] and outside us [our partners in soil, in air, on land, in the tiniest cells of the smallest motes; all of which are also us, comprised of the same stuff as us]?
Creativity and expression as acts of radical reconciliation between ourselves and ourselves.
Ohno talks of stroking his dying mother’s hair. Is it so with our planet? We tend as best we can in her Autumn, already having grieved her to collapse after the Spring and Summer of our human life with her, stroking her in a comfortless set of gestures. In reality, she is the one caring for us, still allowing us to live and breathe, and eat, and enjoy & survive by the still-interwoven but slowly-fraying web of vitality connecting bees to flowers to birds to wind to soil to sun to leaf to oxygen to us, to us.
There is nothing to do but feel this to root.
Be wild grass even as it dies back, falls back to cracks in pavement, roots slow-buckling slabs of it up in joyous revolt.