I sit again in front of a screen, a computer whirs to my left. The sun is shining outside. I am indoors, it is morning, June 25th. Like morning prayers I step to the desk and sit to write. This is my altar, my shrine. This is where I call upon my gods and guides, this is where I focus on the veil that separates my mind from the truth out there. This is my meditation.
This will be the last time I sit at this desk, in this house, in this place in the world I have come to know, become familiar with these last few weeks. I am in motion again. I am preparing. This is the first little death that I must let go to, accept. There is a sadness, but it doesnt overwhelm. There is a love, but it is deep, uncertain, changing. There are a million memories of this time I already feel exerting their pull upon me from the inside. I have to let them go. I have to remain free. Still, it aches to do this. Yes, it hurts, life always hurts, and I have always been in motion.
I want to kiss all the wounds in me, I let the feeling of her conjure in my mind. She is gone to work, I am alone, but her smell is here, her perfume, her scent, like a ghost. She heals me, as only a woman can. She completes me, as only a woman can. I feel at peace here. Out there is the war, the battle for my survival.
We sat last night, a certain quiet sombreness hung in the air, the knowledge of our imminent separation for some long time, we both knew it could be forever. It made us quiet, lost in a longing for our lives. We watched a black and white film, maybe circa 1930's; 'Morocco', with Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. He was a foreign legionnaire bound to live in battle, he couldnt leave his destiny for her. Nor me, mine.
She had riches; a love, a husband who would have given her anything. She chose instead to join the women who followed the legion as they marched. To follow her love even through the emptiness of the desert.
The film ended there.
We went to bed.
The cats slept on our heads, sometimes batting claws across my ears or face in the night, waking me. I wasnt angry, this moment was too precious to feel that way.
I wanted to say goodbye, but no words would make sense of it. The short goodbyes are the best, I had learnt that much in life. I dont wish to drown in sorrow, there is not enough time. This was a transient dream, I had known it all along. Maybe that is what made it so alive, so special, so easy to acquiesce. If this was my home, I suspect it would be an altogether different mood on me today.
I wonder what I should do, as I sit here typing into the 'puter. Writing this note to the gods. Between the lines I ask for help, for guidance, I dont know what else to do. I never knew. I have learnt so much here the last few weeks, like I was picking up pieces, clues to the art of living as I went. Yesterday I read a book on 21 meditations leading to the Buddha, enlightenment, freedom from suffering. I felt I knew my path, felt it changing beneath my feet, I was choosing it. Finally, maybe for the first time in my life, I felt I was doing something right. Still, it all hurts somehow.
I wonder if I will be back here again:
To kiss her smooth back, and feel such warmth as I observe the freckles on her skin that tell me of Irish decent.
To feed the raccoon at night as he stalks and sways round the front door, used to his cheese crackers and washbowl. Something I found fascinating to watch as we smoked on the porch and wondered at our futures, our worlds, our existence.
The kitten that claws my feet, and hands, and face, and nose, that never lets up so full of bravery and delusions of cat grandeur. It will be so different if I see it again.
The morning smell of coffee as she wakes in her whitewash bedroom, the gentle hum of the freeway in the distance as I look up at the white wood panelling and feel a sense of peace so rare to find in my embattled life. Always so brief and fleeting, yet somehow I know it must be this way.
Strangely, I seem to like the sense of freedom such things bring.
The bike hanging upside down in the living room from hooks in the ceiling,
the mantelpiece with old sepia photos of her family, some alive, some dead.
The model figurine she uses for drawing.
The dresses hanging in plastic to protect them from the dust,
the porch with its chairs and view out onto the road through two avocado trees that seem to me like gates to the world out there.
The two birds that would play injured to distract the cats, while one of them bounced around the dust bowl front garden looking for food, so scarce, such a struggle to survive.
Black Shadow, the stray cat that hangs about her yard. Distant but always watching, I fancied it to be a messenger for the spirits the way it hung there, it's green eyes wise, silent, observing.
The writing at this desk as I sipped Perrier water, and smiled to see reports of rain falling at Glastonbury festival in England, feeling satisfied to be here in the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, for a brief while.
My life, this life, this moment, captured somewhere within me. This love, this preciousness, this sadness that knows one day I will be gone, the wisdom that tells me things must be, that cycles will turn and unfold whatever we do, all things will rise to fall and disappear; all loves, all lives, all precious memories.
All things eventually decay.
This is the beauty of life, and why we have no choice but to seek the spiritual through every moment, and why after years of hell, I begin to understand that this is what I must do. I have no choice, we none of us do.
For me, I appease it by sitting again in front of a screen, somewhere, anywhere in the world it does not matter. This is my altar, my shrine, my story. This is where a man caught up in the labyrinth of the modern day machine finds re-connection to his forgotten gods, to his guides, to his real destiny. To begin to play his part in eternity, and the truth.
And I write, and I wonder, and I lay a trail as I go, wishing only the best and most compassionate love for all living, because I understand the meaning of suffering, I always have, and I never wish to forget. And because of that, I imagine one day we will all be free of this prison, but I know, amidst it's suffering walls there are such beautiful moments, beautiful loves, beautiful truths to be witnessed, that sometimes it is almost too much to let go of them all, but when we do, what we are left with is a smile in the deep, and it rises up through our hearts, and bursts across our faces. And then we know we were free all along, and there really is nothing to fear because there is nothing to lose, not really, just so long as we dont cling on.
And it is a glowing love I feel as I walk my bicycle to the door and turn to stroke the cats, then look about the room I may be seeing for the last time, smell the perfume that hangs in the air, of the girl from Pasadena who I may never get to meet again. Yes, this is the moment of an exquisite pain, the moment of fear, of loneliness deeper than words can reach. This is the suffering and the pain of all my losses in life; the fear, the imminent death that makes us cling on desperate and afraid.
I am afraid.
I am terrified, and lonely to the ultimate degree right here and now, nothing has changed. Nothing has changed, and nothing will change.
Except, the love in me that knows I am part of eternity, has begun to grow and understand what lies before and beyond this place, this moment, this life. There is a freedom in that, and I smile and a single thought comes to me; Maybe I will make it back here, yea, just maybe I will.
And it occurs to me that I am no longer afraid, and I am not sure quite why, but then I figure maybe the place I belong has always existed, it is just waiting for me to find it.
I begin to cycle down the dusty drive and the midday sun out towards the road, and a strange thought occurs to me; If just one person could make it, maybe we could all be saved.
I am not even sure what that means, then the road comes to meet me and I am thrown again into the chaos and wonder of being alive.
cue credits and cheap overused cliche -
"If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see demons tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the demons are really angels, freeing you from the earth." - Meister Eckhart