Sunday, June 29, 2008

molten marrow and the face of joy

there was an unusual man who wandered into my store on occasion. to use the restroom, to sit in a comfortable chair and listen to the conversations going on around him, to drain the last drops from the abandoned starbucks cups customers leave on tables and counters. he was always polite and friendly. his smile - warm and porous. and when he laughed, which was often, his tongue stuck out and between his teeth. in those moments, i think he defined 'joy.'

he made people nervous. but he almost never spoke to anyone and he never stayed long. and he always cleaned up the bathroom a little and pushed in his chair when he was finished. and he always took his empty paper cup with him. (which was more than i can say for anyone else who ventured in.)

despite protests from staff and customers, i never asked him to leave. in fact, i was likely to hover nearby and help him keep his peace. (sometimes, i'd slip him a bottle of water or sneak him a doughnut from the kitchen. it was the least i could do, he was quite generous with a smile.) we never spoke, until one day last year, just before i moved away.

as i passed by him, he reached out to me. his touch tender, despite the roughness of his hand. and when i turned to him, he looked directly into my eyes, like he was looking for something in me ... i'm not sure what, but i could hear my heart slow as he did. and when he'd found whatever that was, his hand squeezed my hand and he said, 'you used to be ... and people still mistake you for ... a comet. but really, you are a volcano. and your eruption will be powerful. and beautiful. and true.'

and then he was gone.

and i couldn't quite move. i felt suddenly undone. i couldn't, in that moment, completely grasp what it meant, but i knew that it was important, for a million different reasons, not the least of which was that he took the time to look at me ... look inside me and through me and to connect. to give me this little gift of his insight. unexpected and curious.

it's been with me for awhile now. i turn it over and around in my head as i move into my new life, wondering what he meant and when i'll feel what he felt in me. i've been waiting. and a whisper in my mouth, in the deepest, darkest part of the night finally convinced me he was right. i was a comet ...

a small body, something out of ice and stars (cold and painful), orbiting the sun. my layers melting and evaporating; my tail of dust illuminated by someone else's light. i would appear out of nowhere in the sky and gradually vanish out of sight.

and now, maybe i am a volcano ...

an opening in the surface of the earth where the plates, like thoughts, have shifted. coming together, pulling apart in an erratic dance of history and mystery and magic. a head in gold tipped clouds. steamy pillars rising into blue skies. smoking green lakes. the wild play of colours on the walls inside, once dormant, now showing signs of unrest. heat rising, steam seeping, turning, rolling, spitting, grinding, laying bare my insides. the molten marrow, undiscovered deep below, breaking free into the boundless sky and landing softly on new ground bourne of fire.

unimagined, unspoiled beauty. unbound power. perchance, and weather permitting, the sole true power you want to surrender to.

and i'll never let anyone tell me differently.


BizyLizy said...

Such beauty. All of it.

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