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Shapes In The Clouds:

Loss of Enchantment, Return To Wonder

by Jesse Wolf Hardin
www.AnimaCenter.org

“I cannot believe it, I was seeing shapes in the clouds just now!,” my dear friend Daniel breathlessly exclaimed.  He had a rare tear in his eye, admitting to me “It has been so very long, since I have seen shapes in the clouds…”


...

To a young child, the world and everything in it almost invariably appears as alive, meaningful and story filled, a matrix of shifting patterns that are constantly revealing new compositions and juxtapositions, songs and designs, whisperings in tree boughs and soft white dragons floating across bright blue skies.  It is only through the programming of disenchanting, conformist public schools and appearance and money focused television that a youngster slowly ripped away from this essential view of reality as wonderfully mysterious, magical and miraculous, conscious and communicative.  A toddler can often be seen staring intently at a flower-licking butterfly, awestruck at a flash of lightning, or tripping-out on something as commonplace as the intersecting circles created by raindrops falling on a puddle in the yard, or fascinated by the intricate weave of their clothes as seen really, really close up.  What a terrible tragedy, when a child gets to a stage of acting like a common acculturated adult, no longer trusting that there is real magic outside of a movie’s special effects, unable to believe in their own capacities to be heroes and heras, wizards or healers participating in a most-purposeful destiny.  How sad to see someone who is running to get out of the rain, oblivious to the puddle’s patterns, unmindful of the shapes and faces formed by the dense clouds overhead.   How do we know when a society, a culture, is impoverished, un-moored, lost to its highest purpose?  When under any conditions, we can go through the years of our life without being captivated by the creations that wind and cloud do make.

What is it, that can stand in the way of our view, of the enchanted view of life unfolding?  What preoccupations and distractions, what prejudices and fears, what habits?  A hurried lifestyle, maybe, no time to look anywhere but directly ahead.  Being self conscious about our engagement and amazement, worried about being seen gazing for long minutes at the sunlit veins in a fallen leaf.  Feeling unworthy of leisure and undeserving of beauty.  Being a “hardened man” or a “career woman”.  Abuse that may have shut us down in this and other ways. Residing mainly in our heads, and thus simply missing, missing, and missing things again.  Or perhaps a soul stifling job or disingenuous or unhealthy marriage, that drapes a heavy wet blanket over every light and spark.

Sometimes it is several of the above, and so it was for the 30-plus year old Daniel, ally of and number-one aide to the Anima Sanctuary.  First, an emotional shutting down as a child, that he is only now overcoming.  Then, the distractions of partying as a teen, the necessity of a job, the responsibilities of becoming a father, and the oppressiveness of a relationship with the mother of that child that for whatever reasons seemed to suck the very air and spirit out of him, draining his creative batteries, sending him ever further into the refuge of silence and withdrawal and his own solitary thoughts.  Only now, hurting from negotiations over child custody but relieved of his relationship, is he finding the world wholly fascinating again.  It is this possibility of lifelong excitement and awe, this insistent joy, that he hopes to ensure in his daughter.

“Will you look at that,” he says, pointing at the clouds over our canyon, a huge smile back on his face… and I gladly turn to see.

……………..

(Forward and RePost Freely)

Window

Aug. 10th, 2011 08:26 am
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It was a cool desert night.  The day had been scorching hot and the temperature shift was more than welcome.  As he was sitting there on his porch a light Breeze swept across him like a thin sheet.  Closing his eyes he took in the moment, weighing the polarity in place between the daytime and nighttime.  When he opened his eyes again he gazed at the Moon above, veiled thinly by a saran wrap layer of clouds.  It was enough to muffle the sheen but not the Moon herself.  She seemed like a Window, opening and closing slowly as the month rolled by.  This night he was going to peer into that Window.

The man went around to the other side of his house to find his ladder.  After clearing some overgrown weeds he was able to set it up.  It didn't seem like it would be high enough until he had climbed to its limit.  As he came to the final step another materialized before him.  With each step a new one came before him.  The Wind greeted him warmly with a cool blanket sweeping gently yet persistently across his body as he climbed.  It was difficult to tell whether the determination was his own or whether it had come in the form of his new path.  Step by step he got closer to his goal, the bright Window at the top of his stairs.  She beckoned him with a bright glow in the wake of paper thin clouds. 

Finally he met his goal and found a spot to sit at the sill.  Peering through the Moon he could see that which he could not before.  A series of roads converged and came apart again while the Wind which had buffeted him earlier came to a halt.  Suddenly a figure appeared in the middle of the crossroads, his loose clothing blew though there was no wind.  The Window grew brighter than she had been before and then dimmed suddenly.  Another figure appeared in the crossroads, this one with bright white hair.  The two mysterious figures embraced, then turned to the man who climbed the ladder.  They beckoned him to join them on their path.  He just watched, not understanding what the figures wished of him.  The man leaned against the side of the Window closing his eyes to think.  Suddenly he felt the Wind kick up again and he lost his balance.  When he opened his eyes he was back on his porch, and his ladder was overgrown with weeds.

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