Friday, September 3, 2010

Life and Death Cycle

I spotted this thistle in its seeding stage not far from the picture of my previous blog a few days ago. In a kind of brightly lit shade, it was lying in a small sliver of land on Raglan Road that has never been used or claimed for anything. Someone owns it, of that we can be sure. A little wider and a narrow apartment block would certainly have replaced it. Yet that tiny parcel of land provides a constant flow of wildness throughout the seasons. There is very little left in the neighborhood that is truly wild - although the urban foxes seem to find enough! Symbolically, the seed of plants represents the cycle of life and death - that same cycle from which Buddhists would have us free ourselves. The thistle has no worries - it proliferates at speed. Something that I dd not know is that in TCM - Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is regarded as girding the heart and fortifying the body. It confers longevity doubtless because when it is dried it keeps rather better than most dried plants. I don't know why thistles are regarded as unattractive because I think they look stunning at any stage of their cycle. When plants decay, they go back to the earth. In this case, earth is a destructive force - she produces, then demands nourishment from the bodies of her own dead.