My friend Athena, in her letter to you, suggested I write you. So thanks for the friends I have all over and for the cool stuff they are creating on this pseudo sacred day; for their hearts honoring love; for this exact ability: generating and seeding love.
For the heart’s agility and the acrobatics of healing. (You guys, check this one out from our own Kate.)
Remember that time we were at that massive bonfire? I was looking at the flames and trying to wrap my head around fire as a process, an event, temporary, when she walked up and held my hand.
Lovely. A stranger. Such a brave and fantastic salute to love, to humanity. Whispering to the gods of no “I defy.”
She was stronger than a mountain, young as truth itself and gifted with music that poured from her and laid me down like an inverted rocket on full power. Briefly my queen, a smile and downcast eyes her scepter.
It doesn’t matter where I wind up or with who or why I go there but I will be grateful for that time, that warm feeling, electric, from my suddenly sublime left hand all the way in and up and around me, until I am deader than a block of dead wood.
“My hands get so cold.”
She held the power of her trust in herself; unleashing that love force was her first nature. She seeded me and I was nicer to everyone in my life, for weeks, from that simple gesture.
The world became a better place because she was in it. She was part Italian, part Goddess, and I was wrong.
I’ll love her until three days after I’m dead.
And we were one, holding hands at the fire, separateness a curse for people less coupled than us and all of it, all of it.
All the fresh chewing gum on your shoe and Mrs Bradley telling you you are rude when it was really, really his fault but she didn’t see that and the priest giving you a break by making you clean the wall and the guy at the variety store catching you trying to steal a candy bar because you seriously suck at stealing and all the chestnuts that fell every fall never ever to be roasted.
Knowing you are missing something real because everyone has heard that song about the chestnuts being roasted and the car doors slamming every single day, even though it probably hurts something and sizzling, scalding coffee and ruining that damn little radio you careless, careless, careless.
The sun coming through the window when you’re stuck inside and mom not giving you a ride so you had to take the stupid bike and sisters who constantly say no to every single idea and mowing and mowing and mowing.
All of it; all of it worth it when the that happened and my left hand went from innocent to ecstatic.
You were me then. Is there a need to thank you? I still want to.
For allowing me to be in her path when she came to the fire. And for that fire, bigger than the Loch Ness monster bigger than Star Wars. Bigger than the Pittsburgh Steelers. For the power the fire gave us.
For all the invisible connections we had that night and the few threadbare remaining ones; thousands of miles long, but impervious to physicality.
Lasting through all the insults and the ceaselessness of people.
People wishing things they wish for, wishing wishes on me; people in communities building sculptures they don’t even know about with chewing gum mosaic and litter splatter and junk car installations.
The performance art of briefcase transportation by vacuous hollow void men, the fullness of distraction in the eyes of a hooker calibrating the level of safety on this particular corner, at this particular time. The unseen generosity in the stillness of the homeless bodhicitta wrapped in the whiff of urine.
The invisibility of what is in front of us.
I’m exploring reverence. Deep respect. I am slowly turning into a grandfather. Not my grandfather, a grandfather. And I don’t have any role models for my version of that. But that’s kind of a smokescreen too, because I don’t have any role models for any of the stuff I do best.
I want to stop believing I’m separate.
Sakyonk Mipham said “If the tree were really there, it would not take seeds, sun, water, leaves, and bark to make a tree.”
If I could assimilate that knowing, and add these spices: deep music dancing joy, a veggie burrito on a hungry evening walk, the touch of that girl’s hand, my teacher Brother Blue’s quiet but insistent, “We are music wrapped in color” and people in large groups laughing and my daughter giving a healthy birth and my dad being less alone and my ex being healthy and joyous and an unutterably long list of demands the foremost being a demand for a demand-free mindset, I’d be fine.
You’ve given me all that, right to the aspirations themselves and the freedom from want that what my desires imply. You gave me the turtle through the lifesaver, the snowfall in late August, the infinity and beyond. You laid me at my feet and I love you for it.
Why have I allowed you to grow so far from me, Everything?
Let’s do this more often.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise