stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, May 02, 2008

“the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom "

When he was dying with pancreatic cancer, playwright Dennis Potter was interviewed on TV by Melvin Bragg. An edited version is still around .

Every time I see my own blossom in the garden I remember watching it, and seeing him drink liquid morphine to combat the pain, but still giving one of the most memorable reasons for me to live in the present moment, right now. Not to wait till I am dying. I realised from what he said and how he said it, that he KNEW the truth. The “nowness of everything”.

I discover also what you always know to be true, but you never know it till you know it, if you follow.

We all, we're the one animal that knows that we're going to die, and yet we carry on paying our mortgages, doing our jobs, moving about, behaving as though there's eternity in a sense. And we forget or tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense; it is is, and it is now only.

I mean, as much as we would like to call back yesterday and indeed yearn to, and ache to sometimes, we can't. It's in us, but we can't actually; it's not there in front of us.

However predictable tomorrow is, and unfortunately for most people, most of the time, it's too predictable, they're locked into whatever situation they're locked into ... Even so, no matter how predictable it is, there's the element of the unpredictable, of the you don't know.

The only thing you know for sure is the present tense, and that nowness becomes so vivid that, almost in a perverse sort of way, I'm almost serene. You know, I can celebrate life.

Below my window in Ross, when I'm working in Ross, for example, there at this season, the blossom is out in full now, there in the west early. It's a plum tree, it looks like apple blossom but it's white, and looking at it, instead of saying "Oh that's nice blossom" ... last week looking at it through the window when I'm writing, I see it is the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it. Things are both more trivial than they ever were, and more important than they ever were, and the difference between the trivial and the important doesn't seem to matter.

But the nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous, and if people could see that, you know. There's no way of telling you; you have to experience it, but the glory of it, if you like, the comfort of it, the reassurance ... not that I'm interested in reassuring people - bugger that. The fact is, if you see the present tense, boy do you see it! And boy can you celebrate it.

He KNEW. How can I forget so often?


At 2:08 pm, Blogger vishwa said...

Excellent Val...Thanks for sharing these timeless words!

At 3:50 am, Blogger Kerri said...

That certainly is the prettiest blossom :) And those are wise words.
I hope you're enjoying the spring and having some warm spring days. We've had some rain and cooler temps since our hot, dry couple of weeks in April. It was a bit of a tease, and spoiled us for these cooler temps.

At 7:46 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

This philosophy is so much what I try to live. Not always successful, but always trying.

At 9:04 pm, Blogger Zen said...


I am heading off to a Zen/kyudo retreat in the mountains I doubt if I will have wifi there :-)

So I will wish you and early Happy Birthday now my friend.

Enjoy youself!!!



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