Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Ramble - Balance

It's here, it's here, it's finally here. This is the day of Oestara or the vernal equinox, and that means that brighter times and warmer weather are on their way north along with herons, butterflies, dragonflies, little green leaves, water lilies and wild orchids. South of the equator, the reverse is true, and autumn is on its way rather than springtime. Happy Oestara to you if you live in the northern hemisphere, and Happy Mabon if you live below the equator.

It's all about balance methinks, and so, balance is the perfect word for this week's Friday ramble. The vernal and autumn equinoxes are pivotal astronomical points or fleeting intervals in the calendar year when day and night are perfectly balanced in length. This is one of the two times all year long when neither darkness nor light is ascendant and holding sway on the clocks, sundials and other instruments used by humanity to measure time.

We can trace the word balance back to the thirteenth century, and its origins are interesting. The word comes to us from the Middle French balaunce, thence the Old French word balance and the Vulgar Latin balancia, all used to describe scales or other archaic instruments of measurement.

When we are balanced, we exist in a splendid state of equilibrium - we are mentally and physically steady, rooted and emotionally stable. We know who we are, where we are, why we are there, and what we are doing there. When we use the word to describe activities such as writing, dancing, art and architecture, we are referring to the careful and very personal arrangement of design elements into an aesthetically pleasing and harmoniously integrated whole.

That's all very well, but what do lilies have to do with this day? I suppose that for me the common white waterlily of the Lanark Highlands is the essence of balance and of serenity. My water lilies send their roots deep into the silt at the bottom of beaver ponds, slow flowing summer rivers and other waterways. They climb gracefully toward the surface and the light above, and they never forget the reasons for their journey. When they reach the surface they float there in perfect equilibrium, and they bloom with a delicate fragrance and fragile beauty that is beyond description. The lily above (of course) is not from this year, for our ponds are still covered with ice and deep snow.

What does the word balance mean to you?

4 comments:

kate smudges said...

What a beautiful piece you've written, Cate! Perfect balance yesterday between light and dark.

I need to give some thought to what balance means to me. Ideally, it means harmony in all things around me.

GreenishLady said...

Balance is a word that becomes very important to me from time to time - when I realise I'm operating out-of-balance. I often feel that life is a constant process of seeking and maintaining balance on many, many levels.

hele said...

For me balance is realising that no matter how chaotic or calm a moment is I am always in the center of it.

Prairie Star said...

I'm smiling because *this* week I wrote before the new word was out - woo hoo!!