Saturday, February 7, 2009
She arrives at dusk.
That time of day that when you are travelling and it is all around you, transitory, itinerant and seemingly timeless. The time of day when the sky hovers for an eternity in the indigo phase. The day has left the sky blue stage and is preparing to merge into the blackness and yet is still carrying light.
The taxi departs. The birds preparing for sleep, the crickets preparing for a night of music. A magical time where it always seems as if one is on the threshold of something marvelous.
The daily death of the day. Exactly when it happens is never noticed, always comes as somewhat of a surprise.
The stone building appears rather somber and cold . She stands at the larger than life wooden door. Shifting slightly from foot to foot as she awaits an answer. She views the antiquated bell she has rung and wonders if it works.
An owl swoops down and lands in a grove of trees just behind the house. She startles and when startlement has abated, her face gleams in appreciation of the symbol.
In a few moments her mind has jumped around a field containing a myriad of thoughts. Unrelated, non-relevant and extremely busy.
She presses the bell again. Her face tightens somewhat. Her lips clench, her eyes blaze. Anticipating that she might be observed she consciously relaxes her body and half smiles. After another eternity her attitude has changed from anxiousness to agitation and finally settles in belligerence. She finds herself muttering under her breath. She finds that the night is fully present with no luminous envoys.
Blackness surrounds. Her eyes flash on a white shutter, a stone wall and a single Moonflower, its scent divine and yet not bearing sufficient power to dissuade the rising disappointment which always manifests as anger.
Knowing by now that no one is home she rings incessantly, all the while raging.
Yet rage has a way of wearing itself out and makes place for a sense of futility to find a home. She heads for the grove of trees where she last saw the owl. She lies to the side of the circle. Something about being in the centre never did fit well with her. She places an additional layer of clothes on, and drinks from an emptying bottle of water. Deciding to do what she always does at times of uncertainty, she lies down. Her head uncomfortably high on her luggage, but unwilling to seek out comfort and remedy the situation.
Looking above her she sees the owl, motionless above her except that it is obvious it is watching the surroundings with such intensity as if to give it an appearance of imminent flight. She feels blessed. Life has put this magnificent bird above her head. The only other time she had been with an owl was a dead one that her youngest son adored for a day before the burial.
Just as she was pondering the importance of this, the owl flew off and suddenly the symbol became a past tense object and therefore lost its sacred awe.
She felt the first mosquito bite demanding a scratching. With a grunt she sits up and heaves her rug sack in front of her with about as much grace as a birthing hippopotamus. She has to pull out the bags stuffing until she can reach what she is seeking. Her eyes are not involved in the search; her hands have to do the task. They eventually touch something hard and smooth and triumphantly she pulls out a bottle of lavender oil. Smearing it on the exposed parts of her she ponders her situation. Then decides it is too bleak. Don’t contemplate the nearest town, don’t contemplate the failed arrangement. The only thing left for her to do would be to follow the path of self-enquiry. Life often creates situations where this is the last option. Never life threatening situations. Although sometimes these as well, but mostly mundane circumstances. No the only thing for her to do is to lie back and ask “who am I’. It is what she has learnt as the main tool in stopping the mind rushing ones emotions into an abyss of despair.
The shift from minding to being.
It followed like this for a time.
“Why did this happen”?
“To whom did it happen”?
“Who am I”.
This process of enquiry is ultimately meant to lead to the discovery that there is no me that can be found. The point to discover where the I meets the source. For her it had never produced feelings of anything other than exerting the question to the thought and chopping the thought down. The moments between thoughts supposedly become longer and more profound, but for her the thoughts came as rapidly as Bush’s revenge for the September 11 attacks.
So here in the dead of night, we find a somewhat resigned woman asking the same question again and again until blessedly sleep made its way through the minds battlefield. She dreamt that night she was driving a fire engine from the back seat. She found it rather awkward.
She awoke in the hushed dawn. Just before night surrenders and yet the birds have already started their day. She goes to the outside of the grove and has a pee. Returns to her rug sack and continues to lie down. From her horizontal position she surveys the surrounds. The house looks as uninhabited as it did in the previous night’s darkness. It is abandoned.
How typical of her to follow a whim. To take this journey trusting that things don’t change and that she will be received here as she has in the past.
In her mind she was journeying here to have a break, in the presence of this remarkable teacher.
It did not occur to her to check up on availability or the possibility of death or such.
Hunger gnawed, she knew with absolute certainty that she would have to walk to the nearest town, and that it would be long, and that her rug sack was too heavy with books etc.
Angry and dejected she hoists the bag onto her bag, grunts and heads off into the sun.
Deal with it ego.
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