Thursday, June 16, 2016

Magic Places: Essence vs. Utter Reality

All our stories come from the earth. We nourish ourselves with the fantastic, find gods in a volcano's wrath and the turning of the seasons in pomegranate seeds. American poet Muriel Rukeyser said, "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms." An ancient prophet proclaimed, "In the beginning was the Word." Yet there is another truth, too; human imagination must first germinate in the mundane and wondrous materiality of existence before transcending the limits of the physical world.

This May, I was lucky enough to visit both Yellowstone and Iceland with family. Out of all the places that I visited in Yellowstone, my favorite was most certainly the Dragon's Mouth Spring, even though it wasn't as grand as Old Faithful in its towering glory . . .

Old Faithful

The Dragon's Mouth Spring

And yet, this humble spring, a mere grumbling hole in a hill, filled me with awe because someone, sometime, had imagined a dragon lived there, snuffling spiraling puffs of smoke, its growling roar sending scalding hot splashes of water from the cave.

And the dragon does live there. I heard, I saw, I, too, felt the dragon's breath the second I read the sign and adjusted the lens of my imagination to catch the spectacular truth. The story makes the atoms true, in essence if not utter reality.

Iceland also proved rich loam for my imagination, or in the following case, mineral-rich waters. This is a picture of the stunning opaline waste waters of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik. You heard me right, these luminous blue waters are a by-product of a geothermal plant. The accidental lagoon was later converted into a spa that attracts tourists from all over the world.

The day my sister and I visited the Blue Lagoon was blustery and cold, but even so I felt I could gaze at the milky moon waters all day and never grow tired of the lapping brilliance.

The Dragon's Mouth Spring and the Blue Lagoon retaught me something: our world is filled with both big and little wonders waiting for someone to find their story. To read beauty into something as simply perfected as the fine serration of a rose leaf, or a dandelion's stubborn roots.

I just hope I pay attention!

1 comment:

  1. The dragons mouth I get however the imagined shapes of the constellations are ridiculous. Cygnus does not look like a swan, Pegasus does not look like a horse, and Draco looks more like a sperm than a dragon.