Despite the dull slate grey cumulus, I brave the elements and walk to where a sign says Hunter’s Ridge. I look for the snake grass bush. A squirrel looks curiously at me, its mouth full of a fallen green delicacy. The susurration of leaves as the first sprinkles start makes me hurry home. I bring in some wild jasmine crowding the weathered picket fence.
I pick up an almost round, black, granite stone, hold it in my palm, fingers curled around its rough pumice surface, thinking of its origin as a shaligram from a stream in the Himalayas. I bring its coolness inside, lay it down on a brown paper napkin, a shrine to a strange god in a strange land. The birds are still quiet, the cicadas are not . . . A pantheist, I worship these and bring in a wet black maple leaf which, like me is still green on the other side.
ankle deep in stars
our kiss lingers
Saligrama. Although Hinduism is commonly represented by such anthropomorphic religious murtis, aniconism is equally represented with such abstract symbols of God as the Saligrama. The Shilas (Ammonite fossils) are worshipped as manifestations of Vishnu.