Friday, July 24, 2009

Moth Madness/Or Not!

It was my turn to open the cafe last Sunday morning, so I left home early in order to enjoy a leisurely, predawn drive to Bluff. I have always relished rising early and arriving before the appointed time, getting a jump on things. A side benefit is that I get to see nature's reawakening while I search out new perspectives. I enjoy rolling down the car window and feeling the cool morning air. Driving slowly and quietly, I am able to experience the world before others get involved.

Moth Madness
Moth Madness

Arriving at the cafe, I proceeded to fire things up. Turning on the grills, I started the coffee percolating and lit a flame beneath the deep fryers. People would be in for fry bread and coffee soon, so being unprepared was courting disaster. It was not long before the cooks and wait staff showed up and kicked me out of the kitchen. They said something about not being interested in micro-management. I chastised the entire mob for being insensitive, made myself a glass of my personal Postum (a blend of coffee, milk and coco) and went outside to find peace on the porch.

Walking over to the patio between the cafe and trading post, I pulled up a chair and retreated into it. The moon flowers surrounding the alcove were in full and glorious bloom. I breathed in the freshness of the emerging day and the slight, gentle aroma of the plants, counting this as one of the simple pleasures in my life. I knew the scene would be drastically altered when the light and heat broke through. Soon after the sun discovers them, moon flowers, also known as datura or jimsonweed, wilt into limp, rumpled remnants.

While I relaxed, a hawk moth the size of a hummingbird visited the nocturnal blossoms. It is not uncommon to see these delicate creatures pollinating the jimsonweed. The moths insert their long beaks into the floral tube to reach the sweet nectar deep inside, thereby pollinating these remarkable flowers during the hours of darkness. This guy was running a tad late. As I watched the moth, I thought of how the Navajo view this creature. I smiled to myself at the correlation I see between their interpretation and mine. I remembered that moths are symbols of temptation and foolishness; that their behavior (acting like a moth; flying directly into the fire) has come to stand for self-destruction and insanity. That, the Navajo believe, is punishment for breaking cultural taboos.

The Navajo people realized long ago that everyone has an alter ego. The "other I" is a second personality or persona within a person. One positive aspect of moths is that, through pollination, they bring beauty to the world of humans. Harmony and balance in life is essential to survival and the laws of nature reflect this fundamental principle.

Watching that moth flit about in the early morning shadows caused me to reflect on my early religious training. I thought of what I came to know as, "The seven deadly sins" and later, "The seven opposing virtues". I learned, as the Navajo came to recognize in their own time, that it is often a greater struggle to battle against one's inner demons than to war against outward, obviously ominous outrage. Because we fight alone, the small personal battles we daily fight within ourselves can easily overcome us. They are incessant, continuous and threaten to drag us down, so we must find hope where we can. Often a simple, obvious metaphor can help maintain focus.

Sipping my drink, I felt a sense of wonder at living in this incomprehensible universe; well, maybe partially comprehensible. There is often a veil over reality; a hidden world bewildering to us. I recalled the day I realized that I live within a certain window of intelligence, or lack thereof. Right then I vowed to expand my outlook. I knew a great deal of inner reflection and outward education was essential to overcome my limitations.

One thing is certain, we all slip up, fall flat on our face and come up dirty. I openly admit that I regularly do so. To regain our footing, brush ourselves off, learn the lesson and rejoin the incredible journey is most important. A search for order; attempting to live the good life and fight the good fight is imperative. To rely on those who surround us, support us, have faith in us and understand our essence is essential to us and to those whom we support.

Watching that moth pollinating those luminous flowers helped me see that it is the human responsibility to promote order and project it onto the chaos of the world. Life is never simple or easy, and rules are often interpreted to promote our own self-satisfaction. The correct, just answers can be less than obvious, and the full story is not always told or comprehended. The trick is to attempt an understanding, to keep an open mind, to be flexible and willing to change when the facts present themselves. The goal is to be aware of and distance oneself from that, most destructive, open flame.

With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2009 Twin Rocks Trading Post

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