Saturday, August 15, 2009

Magic Phragic Wands

In my blog for July 18, I described the Radical Joy for Hard Times retreat I led at the World Healing Institute at Cobb Island Station, Virginia on June 19-21. We spent one day considering the invasive common reed, phragmites, from different perspectives, the most startling and personal of which were the ones that emerged after each of us spent an hour sitting alone with the plant without any expectations or judgments about its place in the biosphere. As a result of what we gleaned from that exercise, we created a meandering path through the tall grasses as a way of interacting in a more personal way with their rampant, stubborn beauty.

A few days ago I had an email from Annie Hess, the WHI administrator. She wrote that they had held a program for children a couple of weeks after the Radical Joy for Hard Times event. In one project the children made magic fairy wands out of the dried phragmites stalks. They called them phragic wands.

This is how we can remake the world we live in: by having the willingness to enter into relationship with it, listen to what it has to tell us, and respond with creative acts that come from the heart. And we can invite our children and grandchildren to explore with us, and perhaps teach us a whole new way of perceiving beauty—and even magic—in what we have formerly considered waste.