DUST TO DUST, ASHES TO ASHES
Beijing, 4 February 2013
From time to time in Buddhist temples in this part of the world one sees a metal sculpture standing on altars, which takes the form of a stem of a lotus plant to which are attached a flower bud, a fully opened flower, and the seed pod from which the petals have fallen off; sometimes they are accompanied by a young leaf unrolling, a fully mature leaf, and an old leaf, ragged and torn. It is a visual allegory for the cycle to which we are all subject: birth – life – death. It is a gentler reminder of what I was harshly told every Ash Wednesday when I was a boy: “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return”.
I was reminded of this as the tulips – so lovely two posts ago – paled, wilted, and lost their petals, to finally leave the stamens standing naked and forlorn. I decided to record this decay down to death.
I would like to think that my life currently stands at Saturday evening. Cold objectivity suggests instead that it stands at Sunday morning.