God in the belly laugh of silence.

God came to town last week. He left several traces of his visit

I had heard of a young, unhurried man who had come amongst us. Devoid of anxiety he made himself at home. An artist of note, he spent time sketching at the coffee shop, and gardening at Temenos and only he knows what else. It was some time before I met him, as it always has to be when one meets God in such a clear form.

Mama Susan was in a playful mood. Expansive. She wanted to walk under the bulging moon, and be tickled by the breeze. Her sons wanted to walk with her, so off they set. Way past bedtime, but then it was weekend . Sage-Liam had a long piece of bamboo, but to him it was his pet long necked, leaf-eating dinosaur. Cian was a T-Rex. He was really enjoying the image of this beast, running up to something and pretending he was going to damage it and laughing when I pulled him away. And so we meandered down the blue gum lane when I heard a hammering. A hammering coming from a grove. As we drew closer I saw an outline of a head. I thought it was the potter, Paul, but upon closer inspection saw that it was this aspect of God called Neil. We introduced ourselves by name, and I introduced him to the children as God. They did not question this at all.

He was carving a piece of stone to resemble a calf. He felt that this would give solace to the cow that was in some distress, having recently had her babe removed.
It looked like a calf which amazed me. My efforts at carving were interesting in their failure. But here he had carved a calf. We went to show it to mama bovine.
Cian and he decided they needed to move this gentle beast to where the grass was a bit thicker. Perhaps that was part of her discontent. As soon as they had untied her she bolted. With God and Cian holding on her chain she shed her bovinity and ran. God held on and Cian after a few seconds let go. I laughed like a madwoman. Full throated, full bellied. Eventually, she was reharnessed.

We stopped at the village pub. Sit on the verandah due to the kids. Soon several people who were on their way somewhere had stopped and joined in.
God told the boys how he came into town on an ostrich called Streaky Spar. I could not repeat the story because the way it was told made it a one-off. Only I and the others, who heard it, will be able to journey into the minds archives and recess it, and re-enjoy it. Belly laugh after belly laugh continued.
We left the watering hole.

And wandered through the darkened streets of McGregor now in silence. Only once before in my life (apart from my partner) have I been with a male where there was no mask, no persona, no subtlety, and no fear. Not wanting anything from each other, it slipped into a realm of dream quality. No agendas. Our shadows stretching us into giants and diminishing us into gnomelets. Dogs always a few steps ahead. The long neck leaf-eating dinosaur safely in Sage’s hand. Cian still doing his T-Rex jive. God and I walking. No exchange of address, or any extension on this perfect walk.
A change of directions, a nod of gratitude. And God walked into the distance.

And in McGregor, he left such simple reminders of his presence, the trussed up tree, the stone calf, the streaky spar story and some quality that has remained that can simply not be put into words.
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Anonymous said…
We were all just separated at birth and gradually have our reunions--for a time--within a time--but only when we are open to doing so--most times, words need not be spoken (those are the best!!)-they only get in the way--trying to define something just takes away unless the other speaks your language-

If I had to set out on a journey, where would I find you?
Oh yes of course - within.
Nestled in my heart.

Adventurous and sweet
Taking the time
To have no time
While there is still time
For a life
Within the moment
That always is
the moment

share a thought or a moment with me--then I will begin to know you-and you me-
and perhaps we will grow wise together—

We know each other and walk together without having to take the first step

The wanderer is all of us—the many—in one

I saw Michael carving the stone
Nina running full tilt boogie with the cows bridle in one hand and her wool hat in the other--little girl laughs of summer ricocheting off the blades of grass--birds laughing

Quite the scene

The passersby at the pub
Without their keyboards


Our children--and their children-with dinosaur dreams

Nice to meet you all--


susana said…
Beloved Jj,
your ability to see is magnificent.
your being permeates every thing you write.
what an honour to have met up with you again my dearest friend.
my self.
susana said…
Would someone please introduce me to Michael.
Anonymous said…
I used to be afraid to meet up with myself--now I see that I shouldn't have been worried--

I am more than one man--more than one voice
I don't walk alone through this world--
We have the strength of many-- together
We have the compassion of many-- together
We have the passion of many-- together
We have the love of many

As one

In gratitude


Damn, Nina just ran by again and stole my hat-------

Anonymous said…
I sent Michael an email and asked him to stop by--not sure what time it is in Venezuela though--

Anonymous said…
The qualities I see in you and Nina--I see in Juli--and I get to be with her every day--how wonderful
just a moment of gratitude--

i won't tell either of you what they are--don't want you getting a big head--lol

m_astera said…
Hi Susana, it's Michael.

Thanks for the invitation. Nice to know you have eyes that see like that and a heart that is calm to appreciate it.

I once moved my woodshop to a new small town; I found an old abandoned livery stable over a hundred years old and fixed it up good enough to work in. I had a lot of work then, too much and long long days. One night an old wino showed up, a stranger in that small town and very much out of place. He told me "Old Big-nose sent me."

I gave him a balogna and mayo sandwich and a glass of milk from the fridge, dug out a sleeping bag and showed him where he could sleep in a shed out back. In the morning he was gone, but I had no doubt who Old Big-nose was.
susana said…
Hi Michael,
Am I correct in my understanding that you are also a southern hemispherer.
Venezuela I believe.
Thank you so much for visiting.
God can come up with the most cunning disguises - marvelous really.

Over the years this heart got hardened and I did not want to see suffering anymore.
One day I was driving home at night and I saw a drunk woman crawling along. A few meters behind her I saw her baby crawling as well trying to keep up with her.
My heart just cracked right open.
Picked her stinking body up and put it in the car where she passed out.
Held this babe in my arms - it stopped crying and its little snot encrusted face broke into a smile.
I held her tight and just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
And then sang and sang and sang.

The most unlikely disguises indeed.
Anonymous said…
Before we were married and working on a boat in Chicago for the italian (quack) doctor from hell-Juli and I went to a bar-restaurant. I was having a very hard time deciding where my life was going having been accountable to no one for almost 30 years--it was "suggested" that I needed to make a decision regarding where our relationship was going to go--in other words, she loved me but was not going to stick around unless we got married--I don't want it to sound like an ultimatum--it was much softer than that--anyway--we went into this mexican place and were sitting at the bar after having eaten and this younger guy comes and sits next to us--we started talking about life and relationships--soon thereafter, I got on bended knee and proposed--fortunately, it was in a bar and against her better judgment, Juli said yes. The conversation we had with this guy was a mind-bender yet soft and full of realizations--we asked around as it was our favorite watering hole at the time--who this guy was--no one knew and the bartender who was working that night didn't remember us sitting with anyone--we always called him our angel--20 years later I see things much more clearly--just meant to be--the choice was offered, not demanded--
What a ride it's been--the good, the bad, and the ugly--but always together on the road less traveled--
Our wings may be a little tarnished but I would rather have an angel, or be one, that has a bit of the road dust on them--I don't look good in pure white anyway--
Thank you for sharing--
Glad you have met each other--

Anonymous said…
If you feel it, and want to express it, i would like to know more about South Africa and your impressions about living there--
perhaps in a poem

m_astera said…
Susana, I don't know whether it's appropriate to call that a "sweet" story, but I do appreciate it. I well know what you mean about the heart shutting down; mine was doing that a month or so ago too; I was aware of it and wondered why. I didn't get the answer to why, but fortunately events in my life conspired to open it again wider than ever.

There is a book by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk where he talks about the true courage it takes to walk through this world with a raw and open heart.

I live in Venezuela, but not quite the southern hemisphere; Isla de Margarita is 11* North.

You commented that you liked the piece "Onwards" that I posted at Nina's blog. It is also up at my blog, The New Agriculture, http://thenewagriculture.blogspot.com/followed by a long and rambling discussion. If you haven't read it you are cordially invited to visit.
nina said…
This thing about coming together and going away in separate directions is interesting. I've come to call it the Freedom of Persons in Transit.
Jj may be right on the money when he says "reunions".
It IS always disappointing to make a special new friend, fill your mind with expectations and nothing comes of it at all. That's just a variation on the old theme, blind dates, gimme your number sort of ploy. And here we are grownups at last, some of us still falling into trite routines as if we didn't know any better. I just stopped playing the game a few years ago. We get weary.
Parting as you did was best. Expecting nothing was right. You leave room for the unexpected. A story unwritten, no rules, no obligation to a script. Let us find joy in the moment - where it belongs.
Your photo is beautiful and bittersweet. The US looked like that about 4 centuries ago, in the Hudson River Valley which spawned great art unique to a country that no longer exists.
Anonymous said…
It took me a while to see what it is, and what I see of you, that you allow me to see
I thought I would go over the line that doesn’t exist in my sand and describe a few of you.

—I saw you across a meadow one day—I was fixing a flat tire on the side of the road as the cars and trucks roared past on their way to nowhere-- sounds stopped and colors got a bit more vivid—my vision a little clearer--you were wearing a sun dress walking across a meadow in the distance—barefoot-- with children at your heals and running ahead of you—the light was a little brighter where you walked and moved ahead of you in anticipation of your being there—I couldn’t quite make out the details of your face, just your hair blowing in the breeze—the dress a dancing extension of your being--I could see the children’s faces as they looked up at you to share their joy in only the way a child’s smile, and giggle can—I knew it was you without having to be told—There were no paths leading to where you were yet the trail opened up before you and closed behind as if to say that this was only a place for the gentle of soul—I was mistaken in assuming you were the sun dress…you were the child giggling the loudest of them all----perhaps you were both, or all--

—I had heard the stories from older brothers of the man who lived alone in a cabin in the woods. The stories had been around for as long as anyone could remember—initiations in the clubs of youth—I double dog dare ya’-- going to the cabin and daring to look in the windows which were always too smudged somehow to see what the man looked like and what he was doing—There was the smoke that curled from the chimney in the winter time—that scent that only burning hard wood can make. It was too far back out of the way unless you had a whole day to venture there and back which I did one day.

I got close enough where I could run if I had to…and I was pretty fast. I could make out sounds that I had not heard before as I crept further toward the place. I was being quiet now and getting closer, my heart beating wildly as I got closer to the man with his back to me, sitting on a stump…a low scraping sound, a cocking of the head a little to this side, a little to that…..hands caressing whatever lay on the wooden table out of my vision. The head cocked a little differently, an ear to the wind….i could sense and see the smile lines on his face and hear his thought that someone had finally come, alone—another wanderer with respect for the things that a man makes with his hands.
He continued at his task with no hurry in his motions—this one required perfection—they all did.
We never spoke. As he stood, he reached for an old burlap bag that hung from a hook on the cabin wall—he lovingly placed his work in the bag and rolled it up—tying it with a strip of leather cord leaving it on the stump for the next part of it’s journey. I knew that I was to deliver it—but I didn’t know where—yet, I placed it gently in my backpack and headed off down the trail—a smile on my face, and an indescribable feeling of warmth in my heart—

I walked down the paths from here to there—none looking familiar to a boy who had run all over these woods—there were sounds and smells and colors never noticed before—a softness in the steps that were leaving no footprints---

I laid the bag and it’s contents on the ground at the very edge of the water that was beginning to freeze—getting sleepy-and backed away as if from an altar—the way people did in movies and I assume churches

A young girl, perhaps ten or eleven came out of the woods with purposeful yet soft steps—she almost appeared to glide over the ground as her attention and smile focused on the bag that was now at her feet. She took the bag and opened it, taking the wool hat from her head and transferred the contents of the bag to the hat. From there she walked over to berry bushes that at this time of year should not have been blooming—and then on to flowers in hues of yellow and blue, red and…and…the rainbow. She added one of these, two of those, her smile and eyes, connected, never wavering from her task.
Time seemed to slow somehow, yet I remained the same—maybe it sped up, maybe it did nothing—yet the girl had changed to a woman with the same smile yet something was different—she had a wisdom about here, a knowing—

She reached into the hat and pulled out what must have been 10 of the most beautiful small birds I had ever seen—at once I was by her side as she stood them each on their own rocks lining the shore—they were the most detailed carvings I had ever seen—each feather lighter and more fragile than the next—the eyes had such wisdom and the knowledge of the ages---the colors were beyond imagination—hues never seen by anyone but the two of us—magical colors that danced from wing to wing—feather to feather—yet, sadly, they were not alive and because of this I became sad yet was thrilled to have been there that day.

As we came to where the path went different ways we both looked back down the trail, where we had been and saw a woman in a sun dress with small children all about her—giggling in excitement and amazement at the little birds—ten of them that fluttered in a most amazing display of movement, color, and light—

We complete each other—for a time—within a time—

How Sweet!!

john said…
Hi Susana, what a lovely photo, it looks so serene there with the hills fading into the sky and the nearer hill just catching a last bit of sun. very beautiful, thank you very much.
brian kennedy said…
Wow. Loved this story. Sounds like you live in a magical place. I saw a film clip Of Nityananda wandering around. He had climbed a tree and was dropping leaves which devotees scurried to pick up like they were hundred-dollar-bills.
susana said…
Hello My Beloved,

As I sit here, late at night, fulfilling my promise of sending suggested health programmes to my clients I thought I would go and have a peek at your blog and see how it's going.

Well, it's just beautiful.
I love the pictures, the words and, most of all, how your spirit comes through and touches those who read your words.

I love you and am blessed to walk this path with you, sharing our wonderful children and this free, uncluttered life in our peaceful, but intense, little village.

susana said…
Hello My Beloved,

As I sit here, late at night, fulfilling my promise of sending suggested health programmes to my clients I thought I would go and have a peek at your blog and see how it's going.

Well, it's just beautiful.
I love the pictures, the words and, most of all, how your spirit comes through and touches those who read your words.

I love you and am blessed to walk this path with you, sharing our wonderful children and this free, uncluttered life in our peaceful, but intense, little village.


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