I recently finished the Neal Stephenson novel “Anathem”. Some characters that especially stood out for me were the Valers—martial arts monk types who had an important part to play in the mind-bending, multi dimensional worlds where Anathem is set. A central tenet in their collective narrative is the concept of “an emergence”, when all their training and skills are forced to the fore and the deployment of these skills brings about a major change. An emergence, which is anticipated and even welcomed, usually happens in the context of a crisis. Which got me to thinking about how the words “emergence” and “emergency” are so closely related. Tough times can often be a catalyst for transformation. We often don’t choose to be thrust into difficult situations—they can be painful, or even obliterating. However, a crisis can also can be a chance for an emergence, no matter what the outcome.
Lately I have felt tired and sluggish, like a creature in the earliest stages of awakening from hibernation. This is the in-between zone where there is consciousness, but also still a dream state. Various mundane stressors, mainly family-related, have intruded on both my wakening consciousness and the limbo of my subconscious world. For some reason, I dreamed of peacocks and wine last night. A quick tour of the symbolism related to peacocks revealed they were common decorations on grave stones—and symbols of immortality. Wine, of course, is a long-time symbol of life, strength and happiness, but also an agent of obliteration. I wonder then, in this season of the turn towards spring, (the daffodils are already out in my yard!) if I am primed for an emergence of my own.