The inspiration for the title and theme of this blog began with a story Jan told me as we talked about reincarnation this past week. Here, in her own words, is what she said:
My grandfather was a builder and developer. When he retired from major construction projects such as building skyscrapers, churches and apartment buildings in New York City he put his creative energy into building houses in the hills of the Hudson Valley where he had purchased an old farm in the nineteen-forties and where he maintained a second home. As I remember him telling the story, he was getting ready to bulldoze a new road through an old orchard of gnarly apple, pear and plum trees. Always sensitive to nature—indeed the homes he built were more than likely to be nestled among tall trees—his choice of where to build was always planned so as to do as little damage to the natural environment as possible. On that day, he attempted to push his way through a row of old fruit trees, but one small, dead looking pear tree would not fall before the powerful machine upon which he rode. He described it as standing as solidly as if made of steel, and although he had knocked off quite a few large branches, almost halving the tree, he felt that it deserved to live as long as it desired, so he moved his road slightly to the left in order to accommodate this most auspicious pear tree.
As he worked on his housing development he watched with delight as the little pear tree blossomed, grew leaves and bore fruit. Later he stood on the back of his truck and picked the ripened pears, marveling at the mystery of this half dead tree, as year after year it continued to produce the biggest, juiciest and sweetest pears he had ever tasted. Years later he would still drive by, stop and stand on the back of his truck and reach up into the branches, filling his hat with golden pears.
I too picked pears from this magical tree. When waiting for the school bus or walking past it I never failed to recall my Grandfather’s story of how it had survived the bulldozer. It was a story I heard him tell many times and always with the same bright sense of wonder in his voice as the first time I’d heard him speak of the sturdy little pear tree that refused death and always produced such succulent life.
Years later, my youngest brother, when he was about eleven or twelve, asked me if I believed in reincarnation and immediately an image of that same little pear tree came to mind. When this same brother died a few years after that the little pear tree again instantly appeared before me. In fact, whenever I hear or think the word “reincarnation” an image of that little pear tree immediately floats before me. I see it now, a little golden pear tree, its trunk, leaves and fruit bathed in glistening golden light, and I am reminded of my grandfather and my brother, and the energy of all life, never ending.
The old gnarly pear tree is our old soul that continues its journey through infinity, manifesting new lives, new adventures, in the fresh fruit of our current life, our current incarnation. Though this life, this incarnation, will end as all fresh fruit ultimately breaks down, the life of our soul endures, accruing all the experiences of our current incarnation, constantly evolving onward to new adventure.
On the evening of December 9th, Jan and I sat calmly watching the flames in our wood stove, drinking a glass of wine. This was a special wine we had ordered, having to wait weeks for its arrival. I had just picked it up before coming home. This wine is a fair trade red organic wine without sulfites from South Africa called “Live-a-Little” Really Ravishing Red. On the label is an illustration of a woman dancing freely among the stars and a man in the background hanging from a crescent moon.
The phone rang. It was my daughter, Erica. She shared how well she’d done on her finals, then asked: “Are you guys doing anything special?” I paused, thinking: Well, it’s a Thursday night, why would we be doing anything special? I replied: “No, not really, why?”
“It’s December 9th, Dad…”
Suddenly, I was transported back into another life, a prior incarnation. Nine years ago, Jeanne died on December 9th. And, for the first time in nine years, I had not relived our personal passion play, amazing as it was. So fully interwoven now is Jeanne in the fabric of my current incarnation as we face oncoming time, that I was totally living outside the caboose, which represents looking backward and living in a life we have already lived. (Refer to last week’s blog.)
Deeply sensitive to my daughter, and all my children, seeds planted from the fruits of my journey with Jeanne in this world, I journeyed back a bit into that life as I spoke with Erica. How tender and vulnerable the transition between lives after the death of a beloved parent. How necessary to visit and revisit the caboose of anniversaries, to never forget a past, precious life.
For myself, I am in awe at the seamlessness of my flow through December 9th, fully available to oncoming time. Someone had even recently mentioned a woman dying of cancer at age 47, such a young age. I thought, when I heard it: Yes, that’s how old Jeanne was when she died of cancer. Even this “trigger” had not the power to awaken me to the cusp of December 9th. Earlier in the day of December 9th, a client had asked me about Jeanne’s life and death. I shared in detail her deepest issue and how her death had led to its resolution. Even this had not the energy to awaken me to a past life of December 9th!
Jeanne flows through me and many others as I enjoy the fruits of my current life. My attachment to memory and the specialness of that past life recedes as new days—oncoming time—are freed of old associations and obligations. The only real obligation to be fully present to life is to merge all lives into a living whole that partakes in life NOW. This is life in the pear tree; life that can handle the full impact and integration of all lives lived, venturing forth to new adventure, next year’s crop.
The ultimate irony and humor of the universe is that the celebration of December 9th was well prepared for and pictorially presented on our bottle of “Live-a-Little,” with Jeanne still dancing in infinity!
If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.
Until we meet again,