Ashes and Beauty: writing from a Quote

Day Seven: WordPress Writing 101, September 152015

Catch ’em with a Quote

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken”

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Sometimes (well always, but one needs to be alert for that), the universe affirms the thoughts or ideas whirling around in the mind or knocking at the heart’s door, by an outer expression or a manifestation not of one’s own. That is why I decided on this particular quote, for that one line, nay, one word that has been swirling in my awareness, asking that it be given form or at least a voice.

The last couple of of days, the word ‘ashes’ kept coming to my mind. Ashes as in burnt embers, as in what remains after everything tangible has faded, as in that which talks of a past that is finally over. Sometimes in life one enters a phase where when you look around you find that you are standing on a heap of ashes — all that remains when everything known in life has exhausted its relevance. When situations and routines that made your day have fled, when priorities ‘so-called’ become obsolete, when old friendships, relationships and even acquaintances have outlived their affections (because they failed to value you or you have outgrown them or both), life takes on the appearance of a vast sand dune. When desires once desired, interests that gripped, issues that excited or opinions and affections that once mattered no longer find an echo in the heart, and neither do they evoke pain or grief or even an irritation mild, that is when you know you have arrived at the ‘Kingdom of Ashes’.

I expected to arrive at this point and feel a sensation of dread or at least a nostalgia for what was. But here is a secret. When finally you reach this point, when the past has receded like floodwaters after the monsoon and the future stretches, indeterminate like the foggy horizon, you are actually at peace. You are for a time, in that animated state of mind, what Keats might have meant by ‘suspension of disbelief’, when the outer world dims and the inner world comes alive with the promise of infinite possibility.

It is the mind in ‘in suspension’ held in time suspended ! This is the prelude to ‘beauty from ashes’, a quote I read years ago about how after everything was reduced to ashes by a mountain forest fire, the next spring the hillside was ‘afire’ with a wild harvest of beautiful, exotic flowers that  covered the slopes and lent their beauty and fragrance to the once ravaged hillside!

Waiting for my blossoms to bloom, to witness my very own ‘beauty from ashes’.

 

© Lakshmi S. Menon

 

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