7:30 BELLS: Equinox Bells—The Marriage of the Cosmic and the Personal

Last week I walked the hills of my childhood, beginning at the craftsman house in West Seattle on Wright Avenue where I lived from age five to eight. The first tree I ever loved stood in the big, wonderful yard. When I lived there the tree had a flat top, its crown lost to a wind-storm.

The day we moved to a house five blocks away, I threw my arms around the tree and cried. I took a piece of its bark which I treasured for years. The new house had only flighty ornamental cherry trees and a pocket handkerchief of a yard.

As I grew up, I often climbed the hill east of Lincoln Park to a set of hill stairs that connected two streets. I loved the view of Puget Sound, the Olympics, and below, the old tree I loved. The flattened top made it easy to spot.

Last week, as I stood again outside the Wright Avenue house, I saw the tree had grown a new crown: a little tree springing from the flattened top. I wanted to sneak into the yard and throw my arms around my old friend. But I left, cut through Lincoln Park at the end of the street, and climbed the hill to find the hill stairs. On the way, I discovered Solstice Park—a park established after I grew up. 

Sunset on June 21, 2011 at 9pm Credit: Jason Gift Enevoldsen
Three stone markers—one for the Summer Solstice, the Winter Solstice, and the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes—point toward the horizon where the sun sets on each of those cosmic occasions. Because the fall equinox was only days away, I stood on that stone. In years, too, I stand at the Autumnal Equinox of my Life. 

Looking out, I saw important markers of my life. Puget Sound. The Olympic Mountains. My elementary school. The Kenny Home, built like Independence Hall with its high cupola. Lincoln Park. Both neighborhoods of my childhood. And I could see the first tree I ever loved with its new crown.

The bells inside of me began to ring. I felt a rush of insight as the cosmic markers converged with my personal ones. And a rush of rightness. Everything was here. Everything had always been here. For forty years I’ve been trying to return to the first tree I loved—to what I love most at the deepest spiritual and psychic level. This marriage of the personal and the universal has lately become the theme of my life. I believe we all need this kind of deep connection to the world, in whatever form it speaks to us, to find strength and meaning. 

Someone wise once said that human beings are the universe becoming conscious of itself. Yes.

As I looked down at the worn words on the stone marker--Autumnal and Vernal Equinox--it struck me how they are the same stone. I feel that in many ways. Spring has burst forth in this autumnal moment in my life. And like the old tree of my childhood, new growth is springing from the old.

I aspire to a crown of green.

When the cosmic and personal converge,
new bells ring.

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday
 of every month. Join me on October 14 for a guest post with 
explorer/author Marc Calhoun.

Dia Calhoun7:30 BellsComment