Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love Underground

carrot love, originally uploaded by Amaranth Road Studio.

The carrot is a mysterious thing--growing in the velvet darkness of the earth, hiding the vibrant orange of its soul from the world, showing only leafy fronds to inquisitive above ground dwellers. The carrot lives a secretive existence so it’s no wonder that it gets lonely every once in awhile and just like us begins groping in the dark for a nearby body to hold, something to remind it in its blindness that it is safe and secure. Surely there must be moments of deep fear in a carrot’s subterranean life, moments when it fears for its future, wonders about that inevitable instant when it will be plucked from its bed and exposed to the harsh rays of the sun. Perhaps carrots have tales about a light at the end of a long tunnel, a glow that signals their journey to another realm of existence from which there is no return. We mortals can understand, then, the desire to cling to what is known and familiar, to cling to those around us, to cling to the shreds of our lives with intense desperation, especially when we know our time grows short.

When I found these two carrots (pictured above) intertwined at my local grocery store I dreamed for them a history, a mythology, a life. They looked so human, wrapped around each other in an embrace of love, or fear, or comfort. I could imagine them underground winding themselves together in an attempt to thwart the tug of hungry humans. Perhaps the life after is more bearable with a companion. Certainly any life is enriched by love, by closeness, by the surety of fingers laced with yours and the warmth of another body. I thought how so many of us ache to achieve what these two delicate roots have achieved--merging our physical selves with another so completely that we will never have to be alone again. We want to wrap ourselves up in the substance of another because we think it makes us more concrete, ties us more securely to our earthly existence. How can we die if our being is integral to the existence of another? We aim to cheat death by making ourselves essential to the lives of those we love.

Having encountered two deaths in my family recently I see that those we love do wind themselves into our being. The memories of those I have lost become tangled with my own sense of self. I look at myself in the mirror and catch small glimpses of the people they were--in the way I walk, in the way I inflect certain words. While you can’t see their souls you can see the leafy fronds that emerge on the surface of my own daily living. Each memory signals the place where roots reside, brings awareness to an ancient planting within me. When you are finally pulled up from the earth, when the dirt is shaken from your trembling body, when you are washed clean and exposed to the light it will be clear that you are not alone. You are coiled around the memories of a whole genealogical past. You keep the memories alive, the memories nourish your soul and a vibrant symbiosis emerges under the carefully tilled surface of your smile.