Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Catholic Hermit: Strawberry Perspective

I'm heading out to pick strawberries as soon as the mind can gain energy and perspective to counter the physical pain and resulting fatigue.  Seems strange, huh--that having awakened three hours ago, quite early, it has taken this long to get up--and am still not off the mattress?

This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit considers perspective.  Yesterday, while picking what is a dwindling strawberry population, thoughts about "perspective" surfaced from within the thickly green leaves of the berry plants.  I can pick from above them, reaching down in, using fingers to shuffle the leaves, revealing those berries ripe for the plucking.

Or, when I walk a few steps in a row and turn back, I can sometimes see berries missed--peaking at me from a sideways view--perhaps laughing a bit that I missed them from previous vantage point.  Then I can also lean over, angling my head sideways, and find yet more berries that otherwise would be missed.

Inevitably, this morning I will also find some overripe berries--missed totally from yesterday's picking, the perspective shifts having overlooked them.

The thoughts about perspective came to fruition in the berry patch.  I consider perspective from the passage of time.  It can be minutes, hours, days, years--how time affects perspective and perspective affects time.  Viewpoints alter within the mystery of perspective.

This morning I was thinking of the shift on-going for the past--has it been three weeks now?--since I determined to stop the negative pain-thoughts upon waking.  It is not easy to change perspective on high-level, physical pain!  Sometimes yet the effects of pain evade me, and I let pain start to nibble on my conscious awareness--to eat at me.  Perhaps it, too, laughs a bit that I did not see it hiding under attempts of habit-distraction--until thoughts have begun to ripen into sour, seedy pain-taste.

I immediately praised God for my life, for being alive, for strawberry thoughts on perspective!  And since I fell asleep last night with yet another musical composition of unusual instrumentation and upbeat rhythm, the tune was lilting in me--along with penetrating pain--and my perspective could walk the path of one view or another.

Choosing the perspective of possibility won out over the perspective of past considerations--mostly veering to memories that include other choices, disappointing episodes.  I wonder at the perspective of the musician I have been pondering lately, whose life is a mixed perspective of highs and lows but has come out on top, with mountain view perspective.  He is refreshingly open, honest, and positive despite the mind burned out by drugs that he readily admits he wished he'd never tried nor taken.

Music became his perspective and a protective enclave from an abusive father.  Music continued to be that which provided a different perspective, a positive view from all angles, including the perspective when looking back over his life.  He holds no grudges, for example.

I find myself, in the berry patch, selecting fruit that includes some not quite ripe, for the warmth of the berries in the green, cardboard containers helps ripen them further along with the sun of this hermit's desert, eremitic "enclave".  I also consume, while picking, those berries overripe, tasting the sour-mash flavor as a reminder that this taste, too, is part of perspective.  The oddly-formed, as well, pop into the mouth--often having far sweeter flavor than the visually perceived beauties.

Fr. Vincent emailed yesterday some wisdom in dealing with ourselves and others.  He offers the perspective of Jesus' way with us as well as our way of being for others.  He said Jesus' way with us and others can be perceived as a cleansing agent.  Jesus (and we can, too) approaches people as a cleansing agent that cleanses sins without being tainted or corrupted Himself (or ourselves).

It is now time to rise (perhaps after taking a bit more Excedrin (aspirin with caffeine) and head out to pick what might be at most one or two quarts of berries.  I will add these to the tomatoes set out on the roadside table.  People have been most generous in leaving contributions!  

There have been some different contributions, such as someone left two wimpy, not-fresh, store-bought ears of corn in the contribution clay pot.  I tossed them in the ditch for I have more than enough produce and would not leave out perceivably bad produce for others.  The point of contributions is that if someone cannot contribute, that is all right.  The produce is out there regardless.  But evidently someone's perception of their old ears of corn differed from my perception, perhaps differed from reality.

Perception includes that aspect of perceiving truth as opposed to untruth: reality versus deception.

The other evening I noticed that a quart of berries had been eaten down to nearly half--and the same with a quart of cherry tomatoes.  Someone would have had to stand out there by the road and nibbled for awhile.  I was amused yet also rather dismayed.  From my perspective, I'd not have the nerve to do that.  From the nibbler's perspective, perhaps he or she was very hungry or thought produce was out there for nibbling purposes and not to take home.  

Regardless, I picked enough tomatoes and strawberries to refill the containers.   Someone else came along and had the perspective that the the produce was lush, fresh-picked, and worth leaving a contribution that I admit, from my financially tight perspective, I'd not myself leave that much in the pot.

Our circumstances affect our perspectives.  I cannot now afford such generous contributions for fresh produce.  I eat the ears of corn in the garden that are partly opened by presumably a raccoon.  I eat the misshapen berries and the rather bitter greens, or those with little bug-holes nibbled in the leaves, or the part of the apple that a rodent has not bitten.  Suits me fine; and from my perspective, I think it best to place out for others, the very best of the gardens.

When my daughter visited, she was at first, as I had been at first--surprised and a bit stunned when someone evidently took lots of produce and did not leave a contribution.  Even though the contribution pot is placed out as just that--if someone wants to leave or not leave a contribution, fine.  So I had to laugh at myself when I had that less freeing reaction and perspective earlier on, when the water bill was high and time spent planting and picking, and the investment in seeds and containers was fresh in the process.

But I learned (and my daughter experienced this perspective, as well) when later in the day the person evidently returned and left a contribution that was exceedingly generous.  This has happened time and again to the point that I have come to truly place the contribution pot out there with the perspective of no set expectation of return.  Yet I am increasingly amazed at the generosity of others and what humor, also, can come from a silent offering to anonymous passers-by.

We do have a choice and some control over perspective, though.  We can choose to move about with our bodies, eyes, ears as well as our minds and emotions and spirits.  In this way, we gain perspectives--not just one, but several vantage-point perspectives.  We also can thus decide to choose positive or negative for and in the perspectives.

It does seem that each thought and situation and person, each memory and present moment, contain possibilities for perspective.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love God above all things and one another as Jesus loves us.  Let us consider God and love and one another from various, positive perspectives.

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