November 16, 2013

A Silent Army of Love. ~ Kristen Hedges

We are a silent army, you and I.

During my four days and four nights at Bhakti Fest, I always seemed to find myself singing up in the front of the crowd next you.

You were dressed differently from the rest of the festival goers.

Age tinted jeans, a thick leather belt, and a tye-dyed t-shirt you probably bought that morning at one of the vendor booths, just so you could blend in. Your skin was already parched and dark from the desert sun, and I wondered for a moment where you were from. Your hair should have been gray, but it was still red; a hint of fire from your youth. I wondered what you were like when you weren’t singing songs of devotion and bowing down to the feet of the deities.

Were you in construction? Did your tired fingers fumble nails all day and sand away at dead wood? Did you have a wife? Children? Grandchildren?

I tried to smooth out the wrinkles on your face and catch a glimpse of a younger you.

At first, you made me uncomfortable, because you weren’t wearing yoga pants. You weren’t young and beautiful, like the rest of the faces around me. You looked as if you had stumbled in from the street, lost and average, and found yourself trapped in a stampede of wild haired hippies and half naked women. Maybe I was uncomfortable for you.

And you sang louder than everyone else on the green. No matter how hard I tried to curl up my ears and only hear the sounds of the stage, your voice would ring clear. Singing “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.”

You would become overwhelmed quite easily, and your crooked hands would shoot high into the air, and tears would tumble down sand stained cheeks. I wanted to know what that felt like. After the first two days, I began to seek you out on purpose. I would scan the front of the crowd and make sure that I could see your bobbing head, and your orange tinted sunglasses.

On Saturday, I was standing next to you again, drawn closer like a strange planet pulled into orbit. C.C. White, the beautiful goddess, was singing up on stage, running her fingers up and down a washboard, eyes turned upwards to the stars. Her voice was so pure, and I lost track of the dividing line between my skin, and the air; my heartbeat, and the music. It shook me to tears. And as I sobbed into hot hands, I felt your arm wrap around my shoulders.

I knew it was you.

You held me there, a stranger in a sea of song and waited for the emotion to fade from my cheeks.

In that moment, I felt my heart break open. I felt love pour in. A love never spoken, nor expressed in anything more than a shared energy, and a short embrace between strangers. A love that was always there—between you and I, between us and the rest of the world. Only, never before had I turned the dial of my life far enough to tap into it.
I never learned your name, so I don’t know how to find you. I’ll never know what you do for a living, or whether you’re married, or if you have children. But I think I needed you that day.
For you taught me the power of our inner light—the glow that can save someone with only a glance.
A touch.
A moment.

Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.


Ed: Bryonie Wise

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Kristen Hedges