Several years ago I happened into a thrift store here in Lillooet. I felt drawn to a particular old piece of furniture and opened a particular drawer. Inside was a Ruth Sanderson print, entitled “Heart of the World.” I felt very strongly about the illustration but didn't know why consciously. I bought it and put it on the wall of my office. I have been looking at it daily ever since. I now know why I had such feeling toward it and why I found it hidden inside that drawer. I will try to express what it symbolizes to me, with apologies to the Artist and her Original Intent.
I saw my Mother, a Young Woman Alone, having just come through a massive Tangled Wood. She had made it to the Heart and Source of all Life and Love. It is a Spring which never dries up, lying Hidden in the Centre of all Creation and Guarded over by a Magnificent Ancient Tree.
She was asking about her Son who had become Separated from her far back at the Beginning of their Journey. She kept Singing so he had a Voice to Follow from his Distance, which he always kept. Deprived of his Immediate Companionship, she never gave up and continued on. Sometimes he Mocked her and threw Stones fashioned out of his own Pain and Frustration.
She understood, for she, like her Children, had been placed on the Path Alone before her Time and had Suffered ill-treatment as a result. Sometimes she Walked beside Cruelty with no Option but to Endure. Her Frightened, Shamed Child saw no other Option but Following from a Safe Distance.
He, like her, knew this Heart Place was Real and never gave up on Finding it. Much of his Way was Crooked and his heaviest Load was his own Anger and Sorrow. The question “Why?” was his Banner and he explored as many “Hows” as he Encountered along the way.
He realized that he would have to Guide his Father, the Author of their Wounds, also to this Place. It was a momentous Task and was Prerequisite for him to Accomplish before Attaining anything else. He poured his Self into this Task and had to Work largely through Dreams because his Father had Taken his Own Life in Despair. Eventually, he had Definite Confirmation that with God's Help, he had managed to Show his Father where the Tree and the Spring were Located.
This was such a Relief to him that the Unexpressed Negative Emotions he had Harbored for over fifty years toward his Mother, managed to Submerge themselves. In this way, they soon outgrew their Swamp and began to make Awful Commotions. The nearer he got to feeling Healed and Healthy, the more incessantly they Bayed like Wolves. He attempted to find a Place so Remote that he couldn't hear them.
He plunged on into the Wood, up into the Mountains and eventually built a little House among some pine trees. He Rested and Speculated on the Heart of the World. Would anyone ever find it? Is it reserved for the Dead? Winter came and he stared at his Walls for Lack of a Fireplace. Now, he heard those Self-created Beasts and saw their Likenesses everywhere around his House. He had brought them with him!
In a fit of exasperation, he rose to do Battle with them, ready to Fight to the Death of his Ego. Like Ragnar jumping into the Pit of Hungry Wolves with his Sword, he Killed those Evil Creations of his own making. His Ego which had stubbornly brought him through the difficult Path he had chosen so long ago, later succumbed to its Wounds. The Trick was in calling them Out Loud by their Names which caused them to Stand Still long enough to Pierce.
Now, as a Spiritual Child, Devoid of his Armor, he climbed out of the Pit and happened to glance Outside. To his complete Surprise and Astonishment he saw that he had built his House right beside the Old Tree and spitting distance from the Spring. The first Person he saw was his Mother, Wandering around Nearby. Then he saw his Sisters. All the Books he had ever read and all the things he thought he Knew and all the Wisdom he thought he had Garnered fell away to dust. He cried with the Relief of Knowing that he, like all his Fellow Humans, Knew nothing of any Import. For the first time, he Understood what Motherhood was and that it may not be Described. He knew that each must Shed their Ego in order to Reach this Place while yet Alive in this World.
It was somehow Akin he Thought, to having Died and gone to Heaven but without having to physically Die. Most Extraordinary and he was not sure how one Behaved in that Place. Thus, he flung Open the Doors of his House to his Most Dear Family, his Mother and his Sisters, There and Then and also in the World Beyond.
Michael Hawes was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and lives in British Columbia.