The word collision comes from the Latin collisio, collidere meaning "to dash or strike together, a compound of com meaning together and lædere meaning to "to strike". For some reason, my mind connects the unrelated but similar sounding Latin laetare, the singular imperative form of laetari meaning "to be joyful".
One thinks of collision as violent interaction, but it is not always so. The striking of a clapper against the inner wall of its bell, the creak of an old mill wheel as water, wood and stone converse within its slow, ceaseless and seemingly effortless rounding, the joyous meeting of rocks and falling water in a stream or waterfall, willows on the hill bending in flowing Tai Chi movement as they talk with the wind on a late summer day - all are collisions of a sort, but they are encounters without aggressive trappings, most of the time anyway.
As I tap away here this morning, I can hear my prayer flags (also called wind horses or lung-ta) fluttering in the garden. After so many years spent toiling in the entrails of large urban corporations, I sometimes have to remind myself that life's encounters are opportunities for listening, flowing and peaceful connection, not endless tourneys of collision, contention and at times, blazing fireworks. The prayer flags are excellent reminders.
The task is one of giving oneself up to life and the wind and learning how to dance with them, of bending and flowing like wind horses or bamboo rather than treating everything as an opportunity for shouting and head banging. Bamboo doesn't grow this far north, but my short mantra for the ongoing exercise is "bamboo". Between serious health issues and computer gremlins, there have been many times in recent months when I trotted out the mantra and used it - ardently.