The Soul Gardener: A Poem for the Hopeful and Determined
I have been trapped in a deep pit. It has been confusing and cold, and I have been fighting it.
But I’m not climbing or clamoring to get out of it anymore. Fighting this hole has been a long battle, and has not yielded me any ground except that which is now caked on my fingers from scraping the wall.
No. I've sensed a new way. I've stepped back from the edge and I've moved to the middle of the pit.
Now, I’m digging. I’m digging deeper into the hole, into soul. I’m not afraid of drowning anymore.
I dig my own grave enthusiastically, with determination. I am compelled.
I dig through the darkness, the cold muck, with pressure closing around my chest and dirt filling my lungs.
The Sky is here, and he digs with me.
We’ve been planning this burial for quite some time. And the day of sacrifice is coming near.
For in my old, tired body there is a seed.
It is no ordinary oak or spruce. No. This seed is pulsing with power. This seed contains the light of galaxies and the sparkle of stars. This seed holds the most beautiful, radiant, fractal universe within it. And it was planted inside this body at my birth.
I have felt it there, my baby. It has been cared for imperfectly by others and myself. This dust-born body has been her home for 25 years as she incubated deep inside.
And every now and again, this shell of ego would split and she could be seen glittering through the cracks.
But now, she has grown all she can in this dusty home, and so it must die, to let her free.
This body has been her cocoon, yet she longs to fly. Her flight will come only after a permanent tearing through skin, never again to return to this old place.
So we dig its grave.
As I dig myself deeper, earth, she shovels dirt on top of me. Packing me in tightly. helping me sink.
And I am not afraid.
Darkness fills all the spaces so that I cannot see. I can no longer distinguish between my edges and the soil surrounding them.
And then I realize that there is no longer a difference.
All my old edges become this darkness, soil. One with the goddess who inhabits the underworld of Earth.
And I truly understand that I need this burial. That I could never bloom if I remained above ground with no roots.
That this is the rebirth of Epics and Scriptures. But it is my own.
So I lay in my tomb and wait, in comfort and in pain, as my skin and muscles and rib cage melt away.
If I was not so ready, if I didn’t know why this must be, I’d be screaming in agony. I think I’d be fighting my flesh from searing off, and crying out Why?!
But I do know why.
I know that once all else has died, all that will be left is my glowing seed. And this death makes the ground fertile for her.
Because now, she is sprouting.
Tiny glowing seedling reaches a small tendril of light through the surface. She uncoils her fiddlehead and takes in the surroundings. A single light, alone at the bottom of a pit, with Mother feeding her from underground.
A single companion here, the Sky, who helped bury her host. The Sky nods in wisdom and thanks, and the little fiddlehead nods in return. Accepting the light Sky offers, she trembles, feeling now the joint power of having both soil and sun.
And at once, the Earth quakes. That tiny seed with galaxies swirling inside has hit her supernova. She explodes toward heaven with love and exponential power. All dirt is thrown aside as enormous golden energy floods upward, straight yet spiraling.
She reaches the top of her pit in an instant, not even noticing the height that once trapped her old form. These walls that kept her body victim have been outgrown.
She grows ever taller, brighter, stronger. Lighting up the night in a fantastic bloom of sparkling color, and yet, she points down always, to her death. To her roots. Made strong in the full decay of ego and old life.
She is a beacon. Not calling others to herself, but calling them to death. To their rebirth. She points down to show her shed cage, and remembers that at one point, that cage felt like a cozy home.
She has reached past the stars, connecting her death to the eternal life waiting beyond. No body holds her now. Instead, her home is the entire galaxy.
For the universe lives and breathes through her, and her through it. She becomes the stars. She dazzles as she dances through them. She flies through black skies, leaving rainbow trails. She swims in the northern lights and skates the rings of Saturn.
And then, she grows again.
She is the universe. She can feel every cell, every star. They light her from within, and she lights them.
She is home.
She gazes back at the graveyard she came from. And her birthplace. She knows that she can never die for another soul. But, she can create a garden around her roots.
She will invite others to their deaths, and she will be a gardener of their lights. She has become the Earth and the Sky who once helped her own burial. Now, she does the same for others.
As wanderers climb down her stalk into her pit, as they are compelled to die into new life, she will tend to them from the surface, and from beneath.
She will smile as little seedlings begin to pop through the dirt, through her.
And she will know the true gardener has been the garden itself all this time.
Steady she will tend as these sprouts begin to shake the ground.
And she will give way to them.
And they will wind up through the Earth and Sky to meet their own destinies.