Red Silk Scarf

(an allegory)


An enormous white dove is pulled out from underneath the red silk scarf of the universe. Because it is an extremely large dove, and a very much larger scarf, the caper plays on for countless epochs of time. In recent millennia we find that all living souls are born on the tips of the dove’s wings. Born there to live a life of exploring the astonishing and magical realms of existence, most eventually abandon this stupendous vantage point. They pretend they can no longer feel the silence of the Earth merge with the silence of the heavens, nor sense the mystery of the Earth coming in contact with the mystery of the stars. Mesmerized by an illusion of maturity and power, they finally turn their backs on the source of Creation, the sun, the moon, the wind and the rain, and scrabble their way down the length of the wings of the dove. Heading for the company of their fellows milling under the cover of the dove’s soft downy feathers, the allure of safety beckons. Close to protective warmth and sustenance, most humans spend their lives nestled into the body of the great white dove. Scarcely, if ever, is the return journey back out to the susurrating wing-tips of the dove ever considered, never mind attempted.

Left to themselves on the tips of the wings are the true visionaries, the rebels, thinkers and artists. But even radicals can become despondent and confused. They too can begin the journey down into safety and comfort. This loss of faith can sometimes be deterred if another radical or visionary grabs them by the scruff of their necks and reminds them of the magnificence of the view and the true magnitude of the cosmos. They may need to be reminded that their job is to survive the perilous flights into darkness and blinding light. They may also need to be reminded that they, more than anyone, must see the world of the white dove and the red silk scarf just as it is. They must remember the fathomless gambit of God just as it has always been. They must remember the tactic of breath and memory, and with every new breath remember their birth as they awoke to sparkling constellations on the horizon.  These individuals may also need to be reminded that no one is there to save them if they fall off the wings of the dove and die, or if they perish from the insanity of their mission. So too, it would be wise to reassure them of the folly and uncertainty of tribute. Finally, they must be convinced that the freedom of such a life, the purity of the sun and moon on their faces and the ever-loving caress of wind, far, far outweighs the terror of solitude, and the disgrace of failure.

Only fools, visionaries or other rebel-types book passage for the one-way journey on the perilous wing-tips of life. From the tips of the wings of the dove, at any cost to their safety, these radicals demand from themselves, alone, the strength to maintain the clearest possible vantage point. With this acuity of vision, they spend their lives peering down into the seismic fractures of nature, language, spirit, consciousness and existence. Some of them lose their balance and fall off, but many more endure and cling fast. Over millennia of time many have created effective and beautiful ways to reach and transform humankind cradled in the down feathering of the white dove. So too, some of the visions and songs born out of our radicals can be heard only after those souls are released from the wing-tips of the dove and float back up under the cover of the great red silk scarf.

“Red Mother” dried pigment on paper painted by Jennet Inglis

© Jennet Inglis, 2017

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