Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Seekers at the Portal
When I was finishing my master's degree,Wendell and I took a trip across the United States from California to Michigan to pick up a new-to-us, pre-owned car. On the way there, we took a detour to explore the Arches National Park. As they say, it was hot but it was a dry heat-which only means that it was extremely hot! The hiking and the landscape seemed to burn through my my mind and melt my limiting but comfortable perceptual boundaries. I ran over the boulders with my long time friend and canine, Lady Blue, arms flailing about and brushing up against- wait this is the desert! There is no brushing up against anything here-my left arm flew over the top of a sharp-tipped succulent, which acted as a needle, and pierced right through my vain. As I looked at the tiny hole, it started to spurt out in a wide arc over the rocks and grace the land; a sacrament? First-aid scripts ran through my mind, apply pressure until it stops the bleeding. I held my arm, while watching the circular antics of Lady Blue's hunt and chase, and soon I became unconcerned. Effortlessly, I released preconceived ideas about life and ambition. This created a spaciousness that felt familiar and welcome; I set up a red portable grill on a smooth flat rock and made my one standard girl scout I-can-cook-outside meal, i.e. I combined a slice of potato, onion, and carrot on top of a lentil burger, seasoned with salt and pepper, and wrapped it up in a small aluminum tent which was then roasted over hot coals for an hour. Somehow cooking outside there in the heat with the coals radiating on my face, connected the familiar with the unfamiliar. Later, I inadequately relayed to Wendell, "I got hurt but I'm okay, see?" Though inside, I was different, life-affirmed. I felt secure, patient and welcoming of any change that we were headed toward. The land became my guru, a portal to view another way of living. I was small compared to this spaciousness but as an indefinite part of this space, I was unlimited.