Flowers of Death

It’s a good time of year to think about death.

Mercury is transiting Scorpio. As is Venus. And the Sun will soon move into the sign – a sign often connected with death, metaphorical and otherwise, transformation through death.

Hallowe’en, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, Guy Fawkes, and Remembrance Day are celebrated during this season.

It’s Autumn.

And where I live, Autumn is autumnal, and brings a certain aspect of death expressed in nature.

Trees shed their leaves – those leaves are dead to the tree, it’ll create new ones in Spring.

There’s one tree in my garden though which won’t be doing that. It didn’t do it this year and won’t be doing it next year unless it has some power of resurrection and complete regeneration.

That tree was killed by another plant – a honey fungus.

You can’t see the honey fungus, it is underground, spreading. The only time you can see it is on the victims whose lives it has already claimed. And in Autumn when it produces flowers – mushrooms.

this is the base of the tree which I mentioned with honey fungus flowers of death growing almost into the trunk

I took some photographs of mushrooms in my garden yesterday.

I suddenly felt inspired to do that… perhaps because in the morning, just after I’d woken from a dream, one of the first semi-conscious thought-conversations which drifted across my mind was about how I would die.

It wasn’t a disturbing thought for me.

I’ve thought about my own death since I was a child.

I enjoyed the macabre when young and regularly played dying games.

I’ve acted out in play, imagined and dreamed – being shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, burned at the stake, ripped apart, tortured to death, poisoned, melting in a nuclear apocalypse, suffocating, prematurely buried, the floor is lava and I fell in, walking the plank, drowning, eaten alive, crashing, falling off a cliff, having a tree fall then being trapped underneath it and crushed.

One of the questions I asked of myself while thought-conversing was – Why do you never imagine yourself having a peaceful death?

the scattered body parts of a previous victim of the honey fungus – some of it will become firewood to warm human and house bodies in Winter, some of it will be left to be inhabited by insects, reptiles, in need of hibernation and home.

When I first became aware of the honey fungus in my garden and then researched its process… I imagined being one of the plants it attacked and dying as it did.

The plants which get attacked and invaded by the honey fungus die a slow death, the fungus penetrates the roots and gradually constricts, blocks, subverts, until nutrients can no longer pass from below to above.

The plants know they’re going to die, they can feel it coming, deep underground, and just before they do, they flower, fruit, leaf more bountifully than ever before.

As a human looking at the death of that plant all you see is growth, magnificent life bursting forth – Wow that plant is doing well, it’s healthily healthy!!!

If you’re a gardener you might take credit for such a glorious display of nature – Ah, my hard work, all the fertilising and feeding, pruning and weeding, all the care and attention, love and affection has paid off at last!

So it’s a bit of a shock to the human system when the next year it’s dead and nothing you can do will bring it back to life.

mushroom flowers of the honey fungus creeping along the lawn, showing where it has been and is going – it doesn’t kill all the plants in its area… and it is a living plant too, which is very hard to stop and kill. You could end up doing far more killing of plants than it ever will trying to kill it

One of the side effects of all of my thoughts and imagining of death, is to be aware that not just myself but every living being around me could die at any moment and nothing I can do will bring them back once they’re gone.

Which brings me to this question: Why do we have such trouble telling our loved ones that we love them?  Do you have that kind of communication issue with your loved ones?

Asked by Melanie of Sparks in her latest Share Your World

I used to find it difficult to tell loved ones that I loved them… but that was mainly because I didn’t love them.

I was supposed to love them, or so I was told repeatedly by everyone around me, including the ones I was supposed to love, and so I supposedly loved them – however every time I said “I love you” it felt like a lie, and I felt a piece of me die inside as I lied.

When I did experience love for another, I found it hard to let them know I loved them…

because of what I said in the paragraph above and all that I didn’t say in it about that experience.

because I was confused about how to express love, unsure of what love was, uncertain that I could do it yet certain that it would never be enough, not good enough, whatever I did always failed except to disappoint.

because I was afraid of being hurt, of being a fool, of making a fool of myself, being made fun of, ending up used, abused, then thrown away like a broken toy which no longer entertains.

Ego, pride, intellectual barriers, and other things along those lines got in the way.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


― Rumi

Nowadays I find it easy and enjoyable to let those I love know that I love them every day in a myriad of ways.

If they’re human, they’ll hear “I love you” and other words regularly said out loud for them to hear – hello my lovelies, you’re lovely, that’s lovely, I’m proud of you, what a wonderful job, that’s brilliant, thank you very much for XYZ, for being you, you look radiant, you’re amazing, etc.

They’re all words I love to hear too when they’re genuine (the energy is different when it’s genuine – it feels like nourishment given rather than taken away). I know someone loves me, is sending love my way.

If they’re human, they may or may not notice some of the other things I do or don’t do to let them know I love them because some are very subtle. They’re not being done or not done to be noticed, they’re not asking for attention or demanding acknowledgment of receipt.

And they’re more for me. They’re part of my joy in loving. I’m quietly, gently surrounding and supplying those I love with my love.

I receive love when I give it – the energy flows freely forwards and backwards, around in a circle, a figure of eight.

If you’re wondering how not doing something expresses love…

Well, for me personally that takes the form of not getting upset about things I was overly sensitive about.

I used to be overly sensitive about people not listening to me when I finally said something – it used to take me forever to organise my thoughts and translate them into speech.

So when I did speak it was a big event for me… but to others it wasn’t.

And I often spoke at the wrong time – when someone was focusing on something else, caught up in their own story and didn’t have time for mine, on the phone, had moved on from the conversation which I was still in.

Or it took me forever to get to the point, answer the question, what I said was confusing, garbled. (like in my blog posts).

When I realised it was my problem and not theirs… I don’t need to be overly sensitive about that anymore.

Although being sensitive about it can be helpful – not something to become upset about, something to help not become upset. Noticing when people are listening enabled and when they’re not is useful now.

“Here is a relationship booster that is guaranteed to work:

Every time your spouse or lover says something stupid
make your eyes light up as if you
just heard something
brilliant.”

― Rumi

Think of all those pet peeves which almost all of us have, those things which bug us, which make us maybe get angry at someone else, upset and offend us, make us lash out aggressively or passive-aggressively… especially when we’re feeling sensitive, vulnerable, when what they say or do or don’t say or don’t do causes us to experience hurt.

And maybe a drama begins because of this…

It’s not only you and your pet peeves, your sore spots, your trigger points… just like you, they have them too.

You both have the ability to start a drama over a something the other person said, didn’t say, did, didn’t do.

You both have the ability to not start a drama. Or to take a break in the middle of one. To pause and consider… what is this really about? Why am I doing this, saying this? Where are we going with this and do we want to go there?

Sometimes a drama happens anyway, it’s been brewing for a while, needs to happen to clear the air, is inevitable, unavoidable, maybe it happens because you’re both trying to stop it from happening.

There are many variables, there’s no perfect formula which is right for every occasion…

And maybe that drama goes on and keeps going.

What if you or they suddenly died in the middle of that drama?

Maybe the drama caused the death by accident?

Did you have a fight about something stupid which didn’t seem stupid in that moment while in a moving car?

You thought you had all the time in the world to…

and maybe you do still have time but not with them anymore…

you now have time to regret, hate yourself, hurt yourself, replay over and over, painful wishing, if only, why did you, why didn’t you, why did they, why didn’t they, and you may find it hard to ever love again.

If you can’t love yourself… can you let anyone else love you? Can you love anyone else?

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”


― Rumi

Just some thoughts shared…

10 comments

  1. I find it sad that for many people it’s much easier to say “I hate you,” than “I love you.”

    My parents didn’t say they loved us when we were growing up. Therefore, like you, I didn’t know how to say it when I actually fell in love. After I got married, my parents separated. I’ll never forget the first time they said, “I love you.” It was so strange and awkward. I didn’t know what to do with it. They were both worried their 2 kids would blame one or the other of them for the divorce and abandon them. So it didn’t feel genuine. They just didn’t want us to leave them.

    As the years went by, and they saw we weren’t abandoning them, they continued saying they loved us. It took some time, but I finally said it back. Unlike you, I still find it awkward to say it to anyone but my husband. Anyone else besides my husband, it just feels forced. I wonder if it was our generation, because I know few people my age or older who say it.

    It’s wonderful you can say it freely now.

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing, Lori 🙂

      Generational influences, trends and habits do play a part in things like that, as well as cultural customs. For instance in Italy love is a big part of family life, interaction, you get smothered with it, force-fed it literally with too much food, and guilted, emotionally blackmailed with it. If you love your family then you won’t do that you’ll do this. Because your family loves you you must never ever leave your family. Whereas in the UK love is reserved, implied, it’s sort of dutiful as in you put up with people because you love them if you didn’t love them you would not put up with them, you do certain things because that’s love and it’s a rather stoic experience. Or at least that’s how those cultures played out in my family dynamic.

      One time when I was freelancing at a company, one of the people there heard that I knew Italian and asked me to translate the love letters written to them by this guy they’d fallen in love with while on holiday. A large portion of the love letters was the guy explaining that although he loved the person greatly with all his heart and passion he could not go against his family – they didn’t approve of their union because the person wasn’t Italian.

      Love is very complicated – sometimes the “I hate you” can be more real, more heartfelt, more passionate than the “I love you”. It depends on the feeling, the energy within the words. “I hate you” is sometimes said as a means of expressing how love is affecting the person saying it. There are times when being loved is hard for someone to accept, it challenges in ways which go deep and hurt – perhaps they can’t imagine that anyone could love them and it scares them, makes them feel vulnerable so they protect their tender underbelly by pushing the lover away. Loving someone can make us feel powerless, and we may react in ways which seem anti-love to regain some power, some sense of power.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Way deep. I love the way you focus on the heart of the question and then answer it magnificently! Always a kernel of knowledge wrapped in an enigma inside a riddle. Wonderful. Thanks Ursula!

    Like

  3. Hey Ursula 🌳

    All the stuff about your poor tree makes me think about my tree. My wild pecan tree and the harvest. (I’m so silly excited about this tree, like a kid at Christmas) The harvest has begun and I go out every day looking for pods that are open so I can get the nuts. I also yell at the ravens to go away. Today as I was gathering, I noticed an abandoned bird nest. It was in such an open, low spot it surprised me. I took a picture and left it.

    My daughters and I always say I love you when we part, because you never know… I dont have a problem telling people how I feel, but I’d rather show them, wrap them up in my love. Being in a loving state, giving love, opens us up to receiving too. You’re right about that.

    Love energy is so happy and invigorating. I use the word love a LOT in comments and I had to hmmmm… about it. I came to the conclusion that I really do love all the things I “love”. I get joy from so many things around me and I want others to feel it too. I respect if someone is in a dark place and needs to explore the corners, I offer my love but won’t force it.

    Thinking about different ways to die… I’ve done that too. Maybe that’s why I have no fear of death? I’ve already processed it? I’ve already experienced so much physical pain that that doesnt scare me either. I dont really fear much. Most of my fears are for Ben and his safety. I’ve even accepted that my daughters have to walk their own paths. I dont like to see them in emotional or physical pain, but I wouldn’t deny them their joy from lessons learned.

    And I’m rambling again… time to stop for now.👋
    💌🌻🌠🧸

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing, Angie 🙂

      You pecan tree is a beautiful love story. I enjoyed the post you did about it, although your murderous intent towards bougainvillea was rather alarming 😉 They’re so pretty why do you hate them so much!?

      It’s weird isn’t it how some plants just trigger strong reactions… some of love and some of hate – what did they do to us? Hmmm… my FIL loathes dandelions, they’re the enemy who must be destroyed, in his garden he used to go genocidal when it came to dandelions so when he comes to visit my place it’s difficult for him because I let dandelions do whatever they please as they’re pretty and can be delicious 🙂 This year we had goldfinches nesting in the bird bush and they were the only birds to ignore the feeder, instead they’d wait for the dandelions to seed then they’d swoop down, attack the fluffy seed flower and eat them up, nom nom.

      I try to curb my hate for certain plants because in any battle with nature, nature’s going to win in the end – that includes the real nature within human 😉 it’s rather interesting to explore the story of our hates as much as of our loves – within hate there is usually a story of love gone wrong or gotten twisted in some manner, hurt, pain seeking a way out of the hell it ended up in… which is why it’s important to let people be in the emotional place and space they are visiting even when it disturbs us. If it’s too disturbing for us, then we need to leave them to it and go our own way because we have to look after ourselves first, love ourselves first – that’s healthy for us and thus healthy for others too.

      I still fear death – that’s a scary experience even if it’s peaceful! Any living being fears death because that’s our primal survival instinct keeping us alive – keeping us from walking into fire, etc. Fear is natural, it’s part of living, being alive, and embracing the living experience of which death is a part. But like with everything natural there are varied versions of it which tend to go a bit extreme inside the human psyche. I think perhaps you’re no longer anxious and are accepting of death?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Why do I hate bougainvillea?? I will admit that the colors are vibrant and very pretty. They are everywhere here in SoCal so they aren’t a special surprise. They are messy and thorny. Roses have thorns too, but their blooms are beautiful to look at and smell and the bees like them too. Bougainvillea just has pretty leaves that make a mess everywhere when they fall off and they grow like crazy. I dont want one in my yard. For the record, if my pecan tree HAD been the bougainvillea returning, I wouldn’t have killed it. I just would have grumbled alot…a LOT😉
        Jacaranda trees are also very pretty but when the flowers fall, they are horribly messy too, and sticky.

        With death, maybe anxiety is a better word than fear? I’m not a thrill seeking, risk taker daring death to claim me by any stretch of the imagination. I would definitely say I have accepted death. I’ve even started planning for it. I’ve explained my wishes to both daughters if they have to make medical decisions for me. I’ve decided to donate my body to the local medical university, got the paperwork recently in the mail. I dont know why death has become such a taboo subject. It is a natural part of the life cycle.
        Maybe its because of uncertainty of an afterlife or where they’ll wind up? Maybe just fear of the unknown?

        I let the dandelions grow too. The flowers and leaves go to Sven the Bearded Dragon or I let them go to seed so I can make wishes😉
        🌳🌻🐝🐞💌

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Ursula. 🙂

    I do say “I love you” to those I love quite profusely. I believe in saying it so that people know.

    I used to think about dying a lot (always imagined it would be a plane crash – go figure), but as I get older I don’t think much about it. It is part of the natural order of things, my turn will come, and it doesn’t matter much what form it takes.

    Btw, I hadn’t heard of psycho killer tree sucking mushrooms before. Interesting species. Would make a great B movie. A mad scientist does DNA manipulation, the mushrooms grow giant sucking arms, and a gang of people, their numbers dwindling, are chased all over town before becoming trapped in mall where they search desperately for the scientist’s secret code cure while running out of ammunition and toilet paper. Cameo appearance by the Talking Heads. 😉

    Like

    • Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      Haha! Your B-movie!!! Actually it reminds me of something… ah yes, there’s a Swedish TV series – Jordskott – all about some sort of plant which invades humans and takes them over a bit like a fungus but I don’t think it was a fungus. It was something to do with nature taking revenge on humans for what industrialisation was doing to nature. I didn’t watch it all, so I’m not sure what the end story was, there were a lot of red herrings.

      You love flying, so… 🙂 perhaps it’s your choice of the perfect death a bit like the Spartans who saw death in battle as the best death.

      I once went to a past life regression therapist because I was curious. Oh, hang on I did it twice… but the other one I went to was a bust because of noisy neighbours. But the “once” one 😉 was really good and although I didn’t go under, into a deep trance-like state, my mind did come up with a few stories which were intriguing. In one instance I imagined leaving the past life body after death and reviewing that life as I moved on from it. No idea if that sort of thing really happens apres-death but it was interesting to consider it while alive, and perhaps apply some of that perspective to dealing with life and the lives we live within one life and the deaths of self which we go through.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jordskott sounds like something I would like to watch but not if there are red herrings. Imho, a bunch of red herrings indicates writers who are stuck.

        Ever since I thought of Psycho Killer while reading about your mushrooms, I have an earworm. 🎵 Psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est … 🎵 Won’t stop.

        I like the idea of a past life regression and applying the review to the present. We certainly do go through many lives and deaths of self.

        Liked by 1 person

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