This week I want to break the mold a little bit and talk about phoenixes. For those of you scratching your heads: yes, you heard me right. I am writing today about mythical fire birds.
The phoenix is one of mythology's most popular symbols. I went and did some research today and found that phoenixes abound across all of the ancient east, from the Hindu Garuda, to the Egyptian Bennu, on to the Chinese Feng Huang, and finally the Japanese Hou-ou.
It is obvious why. The phoenix is the most hopeful of all symbols. It lives a full life - filled, certainly, with the struggles and pains that life brings - and then it bursts into brilliant flame. But it raises itself up again from the ashes, refusing - it seems - to submit to Nature's course.
The phoenix seems, to me, to be one of the most human of the mythical creatures. The unicorn is too holy, the gryphon is to fierce, the syren is too beautiful. But the phoenix? The phoenix is nothing more than mankind in its inisitent, persitant, and unrelenting struggle and refusal to take anything lying down.
Hard times are something I've been thinking a lot about lately. It is no secret that life is hard. But phoenixes are, if they are anything more than a fun myth, a reminder that no fire is great enough to burn the soul. It may burn the body, shock the mind, leave one scarred and unsure of where to move. But no difficulty or obstacle can stop us from rising up in a bed of ash.
I watched someone I really love experience great hurt at the hands of someone they really cared about this week. It was difficult - so difficult! - to watch what this fight did to their spirit, and their sense of balance, and their eternally smiling eyes. I hate any event that puts lines on the faces of my loved ones (unless they are laugh lines).
But as I write this, I think of my loved one and of phoenixes. The flames rage now, yes. But the ashes are coming, and the ashes are a promise of new life, tomorrow mornings, and new wings with which to search the sky. So, my wish this week is to be a phoenix, and to be unafraid of the fire, which surely renews us all from time to time.
Also, let's not forget that from the seemingly insignificant, brown and ash-like dust we call coffee, rises the steam of new cups, tranquil mornings, and budding friendships. Phoenixes, I guess, are all around.
May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
"Phoenix Rising" is an original drawing
by Megan Drews.