Although we aren’t in immediate danger, fires are springing up all around,
so we’re taking time this morning to pack boxes of pre-digital photos, a few books,
a trinket box of precious family mementos… It’s an interesting process
to decide what you can’t live without. Finally, all memory is made up
of stories that we carry with us, whether the object continues to exist or not.
Let the fires take what things they will and spare the people.
Stories are sacred and survive as long as we are alive to tell them.
We must remember to tell our stories
so that others might find their way through the ashes…
~ Kim Barnes (Moscow, Idaho – August 22, 2015)
-line breaks mine-
“Is there one single thing that you wish you would have taken that you didn’t?”
she asked someone who’d lost it all.
I’m not sure what’s going on. I had two days change of scenery. One full day of which I let go all intents ‘productive,’ making my second busy writerly day okay for vacation. Everything normal, until my first night home. I slept hard that night. Deep deep down hard all the way to the edge of dawn. Woke floaty, unfocused. I even let my hair appointment slip past. gasp And I napped, deep deep down hard. In it relived painful rejections by my first husband. A man I forgave decades ago in a state of grace. But in my dream I told him I hated him. Words I’m positive I’ve only uttered once to another soul. Worms boiling up. And floaty continued. I dreamt I drove carts down open hallways between shelves and stacks of boxes and books, all dead-ends or wrong direction. Again and again forced to back up. Then a simple map of lines on a white sheet of paper was laid before me. ‘Here,’ a voice said, ‘go in at this point. See. It’s connected to all the other roads.’ I remember the entry’s at the lower right side.
I’m working hard toward a Vision these days. Studying and looking for where I fit in the landscape of authors, coaches, and others with successful offers in the world. How I can bring who I am and what I know, and do, to benefit others. A goal I’ve held a long time, now can’t put off. We’re healthy, but getting kicked by surprising transitions of life. The kind that feels downright scary when I let my internal story carry it to all possible outcomes. And I’m feeling resistance.
Fires are not new to that region of the country where Kim Barnes lives (read her stunning essay ‘The Ashes of August’), but this year they’re fierce and plentiful. Reading her posts brings up memories of a few summers back in New Mexico. Fires on three sides. Two of them close. The obliteration of blue from the sky. My horrible allergic reaction to the smoke with chemicals. How some nights the sun set blood-red, the air yellowed like end days depicted in movies. A line of cars on the roadway one evening, people looking up. And the time I woke at 3am to my own home on fire. Hidden but for the power outage, the smell of burning electrical, the haze you could question for middle of the night. How when I pulled down the attic stairs after praying “please, not in the walls,” saw the flames, the ceiling brilliantly lit flickering gold, a wash of helplessness flowed over me like gentle water. My life could change forever right now my only thought, after how beautiful. Apocalyptic moments. And I’ve attached the word apocalyptic to this transition I’m in. One of Kim’s friends sees something different in these wildfires. “Some years ago I was driving in a remote corner of Wyoming at night with my daughters,” he wrote, “when the road ran along a ridgetop pointing us at a giant blood-red moon just rising. On either side were wildfires burning in the night, It was pitch black, no lights of houses or barns, no other cars in sight. We stopped and got out and felt were witnessing the dawn of time.” Kevin Taylor saw Creation. Apocalypse or Creation, associations we get thru image or experience, or both. Lightbulb! We can choose.
I had my palm read once. The woman said I have so many unseen guides and guardians, I would rise to the top of a tsunami. Could be true. I’m lucky enough to look up just as sunset on the Gulf colors the sheet of clouds overhead, turns the air golden or pink. Lucky enough to sometimes get out, stand in it before it fades, watch bats fly by. And just now, lucky I popped over to facebook, read this by Christine Mason Miller: Trust your dream. . . the one feeding you, pulling you, whispering in your ear, ‘Go this way, try that way’. . .all you have to do is let her lead. Christine’s talking about a Vision. Maybe my Vision drew that map. Whatta ya think?
Another small journey to mindfulness. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A Secret: I saw my first lotus at Epcot three years ago. It was a spiritual experience.
A Favorite: Waterlilies and Lotus flowers.
Fire by Anthony O’Brian, taken from an eatery in the small town of Kamiah, Idaho
Lotus Flower in Ritan Park by Dan on Flickr