Stare At The Light & Blur Your Eyes & You Will See What I Mean
I wake just as the light starts to change. I don’t know where I am. Mornings confuse me. There is always the possibility I have moved. That I am somewhere else, that none of this is real.
“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel.”
I get out of bed and walk bare foot up the hill. It has been raining every day for a week now, the earth is soaked through. Last night I fell asleep in my clothes. My long dress touches the wet grass as I walk, ocean-salty ringlets cover my bare shoulder blades.
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
She insisted we put on her favorite Christmas CD. We laughed at the old dusty player because somehow we got old enough to feel nostalgic about CDs. If I blur my eyes the lights on the Christmas tree turn into far-away stars. She’s right there, dancing to her music in the living room, gold and red wrapping paper strewn at her feet. I remember thinking at the time with the warmth of the fire and red wine glowing on my cheeks; remember this. Remember her, just like this.
“And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
Real is the kettle and French press and mug and beans and grinder and spoon. Solid things you can hold up and show people. Who can really trust their memory? Boiling water that will burn your skin. Be careful, it already hurts so much. Stir and stir and stir forever. Liquid comfort the way she drank it, a medicine that would never heal her. The sound of her coffee machine. The old one, yellowing-white that made a whole pot at a time. Coffee before I understood coffee.
The Christmas before, we gave each other books. I gave her a book on healing. She gave me The Prophet. She told me in a past life she was oriental. She told me again and again of her backpacking through Europe, how she understands what I’m doing. She had a statue of the Buddha, always laughing in her hallway. Buddha before I understood Buddha.
I put my coffee mug down beside the patch of garden where I planted sunflowers yesterday. It was only because I had the seeds and it seemed fitting and I had to do something. The dirt is still under my fingernails, proof that this is real. Go beyond your mind, I am telling myself. I’ve learnt so many ways to tell myself the same thing. I try, I try, I try, I try, I try. And sometimes I do and the earth is still and there is silence behind the birds and the roosters and the ocean even when it’s raging. But I’m back before long, and I’m asking the same questions. Trying to figure out what I’ll never figure out.
“And that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.”
It’s when I do stop trying. It’s when I’ve finished the whole mug of coffee and I’m about to curse the mud on my toes, she appears. Right there, dancing again, this time as the first sunlight of the day as it begins to filter through the trees. I close my eyes thinking I should mediate on this, pray, do something profound. But I am already doing everything, just by breathing. If I blur my eyes I can see stars somewhere on the other side of the world where they are still out. Stars like tiny placeholders, saving light for those of us who are left.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”