Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Lotus In Two Palms – a short story

Lotus In Two Palms
A Story of Possession, Jealousy and Letting go

One day, a lotus blossom came to rest in the comfort of two hands. The fragrance of the blossom was sweet and delighted the nose. The petals were beautiful and greatly pleased the eyes. The flower was light and weighed nothing for the hands to support.

But thinking was troubled and he asked himself, “How can I know where the lotus blossom came from? And who sent this flower to us? And why has he come here? Is he a gift of God to the hands or a gift to the nose or a gift to the eyes?” These questions vexed thinking greatly. “What will happen when the wind blows?” and he worried greatly how best to safeguard lotus blossom. Suddenly he had an idea. “Close your hands! Guard the flower!” he cried aloud, wanting to protect the joy of the hands, and the nose, and the eyes and of course himself.
* * *
“What! Would you have us crush lotus blossom?” shouted the hands. “Why no!” replied thinking taken by surprise. So he thought again and quickly had another idea. “Of course, do not crush lotus blossom, but cup your hands, one over the other, so the wind may not take away your joy.” “What! Would you deny me the delight of lotus blossom’s sweet fragrance?” shouted the nose. “Why no!” replied thinking. “And would you deny us the pleasure of gazing at his petals?” asked the eyes.
* * *
Thinking was silent to let himself think clearly and, at length, he solemnly declared, “There is only one way in which lotus blossom will not be crushed, nor the nose denied the sweet fragrance, nor the eyes the beauty of the petals, nor the hands the comfort of lotus blossom nestling in his palms. Fingers!” he commanded, “stand up and be on guard so that no gust of wind will ever carry away lotus blossom and joy will be ours for ever.” “What!,” cried the chorus of fingers, “Would you make us jailers to hold lotus blossom in a cage?”
* * *
“How strange!” observed the eyes. “For time and time the nose delights in the sweet fragrance of lotus blossom. We ourselves are greatly pleased by the beauty of his petals. And the two hands feel honoured to be carrying such beauty. Yet I see no water here. Not a drop to refresh lotus blossom in his giving,” said the eyes.
* * *
Just then, a whisper of wind came murmuring to the ears, “Do you ever listen to lotus blossom?” she asked. “And what does he say to you? Can you not hear him saying he is pleased that the nose delights in his sweet fragrance, and that the eyes enjoy in the beauty of his petals, and the hands feel honoured by his presence? “Does his soft, soft voice not tell you how happy he is to be sharing so much with everyone; yet he believes these joys are small compared to his own gratitude to beamongst such friends; for the hands are warm and he does not fear to be crushed by them. The chorus of fingers are honest companions and do not wish him in jail. The nose takes a simple delight and shares his gladness. The eyes are greatly pleased by his petals and tell him how well he looks. And thinking enjoys his teasing thoughts yet remains ever alert as the guardian of everyone.”
* * *
“Please tell me, thinking, what is it that you fear so much?” asked the whisper of wind. “Why, of course, that we may lose lotus blossom to a gust of wind!” exclaimed thinking. Whisper of wind replied, “Was not the wind your friend to bring lotus blossom to you, where he is happy in the comfort of the hands, and rich with sweet fragrance, and beautiful in his display of petals? Can the wind be only your friend? Is he not also the friend of lotus blossom, whom he brought here where he is happy? And if ever lotus blossom became unhappy here would not his friend give him a new home? Why must you always be thinking only of yourself?” she asked. Thinking was silent and lost in thought.
* * *
“Perhaps you are jealous?” suggested whisper of wind. “Oh no! Me jealous? Certainly not!” protested thinking. Whisper of wind asked him, “Are the hands, or the nose, or the eyes, or the ears, or thinking so intoxicated by their joy that they want to deny lotus blossom the pleasure of sharing himself with others? Does the nose delight less because another also enjoys his sweet fragrance? Are the eyes less pleased because another also sees beauty in his petals. How would you deny to others what lotus blossom freely shares with you? “And if lotus blossom could grow yet more beautiful, could become yet more fragrant, could yet find greater happiness and live with even greater joy and gratitude by nestling in the palms of other hands, how could you deny him what all of you have received freely as a gift? “I had not thought of that,” replied thinking, speaking for everyone.
* * *
“Tell me,” asked whisper of wind, “Does lotus blossom know the strength of the hands where he nestles or the day when they may become weak? Does lotus blossom know the day when the nose may tire of sweet fragrance? Does he know the day when the eyes may weary of his beautiful petals or the ears be unable to bear his soft, soft voice? Does lotus blossom know the day when thinking may become frustrated and angry with his own thoughts? “No indeed,” replied thinking. Your questions have no answers.
* * *
“So tell me what you do know,” said whisper of wind. Thinking took a moment to gather himself. “We know the hands are glad of the comfort of lotus blossom nestling in his palms. We know the nose delights in his sweet fragrance. We know the eyes are greatly pleased by the beauty of his petals. We know the ears are happy to listen and that I myself enjoy his teasing thoughts,” replied thinking. “What else do you know?” “We know lotus blossom is happy nestling in these warm palms; for, if not, he would have given up his sweet fragrance and his beautiful petals would have withered long ago,” said thinking. “Exactly!” replied whisper of wind. “So what troubles you?”

© 1992 Dennison Berwick. This short story may be republished for noncommercial purposes, with full copyright attribution and notification to the author. Any other use is a violation of copyright.


One comment on “* Lotus In Two Palms – a short story

  1. cushion cut diamond
    May 17, 2010

    There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That?s a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be


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This entry was posted on January 2, 2010 by in Current Affairs, Life Skills and tagged , .
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