alchemy of wandering

It's a peculiar dark spot in the middle of the road, the endless road that turns from a hot afternoon to a freezing night over and over in the waking part of the mind.  This isn't a memory, it's something that happens in real time, and happens over and over again often enough that I learn to pay attention to that particular repetition.  The dark spot comes and never really goes; when it comes again, it happens to announce itself in a way that tells me it never really left.  These are the things that I run over and over in my head, often enough that I tell myself this is who I am and this is where I live right now.

On one peculiar afternoon on a road, by a river, it became clear that the things I tell myself in my head are lies, and they have very little to do with what is actually happening to my body in real time.  It is this endless road, and it's not a metaphor for anything other than itself.

It happens sometimes, when the circumstances are just right (a weary heart, an impossible tightness in the neck and shoulders, and a thousand signals that misfire in every other direction) where, if the head has been tempered in the right way, by people who know about these things, that the eye of the goddess herself opens up at that peculiar moment, just long enough to say, this eye is real, and that dark spot is all you, and you can lose that if you want.

This has taken much too long, I tell myself, and I should have gotten this before now.

But if she is not judging me for that, then there's no good reason for me to judge myself, either.  And I can say that I don't understand why it has to happen, where we have to be broken down utterly, but I know that this is what has to happen before we can learn to see what we already know that we see. 

I would like to say that I never was that kind, one of the ones who adopt the masks that they are asked to wear, and that my kindred spirits are those who could always walk in lots of different worlds and not lose the golden thread.  But that's also a lie.  I have taken on too many masks, because they were required to stay alive in between one moment and the next, and they sometimes leave traces and scars, and my kindred spirits are like that, too.  We pretend to know who we are, but we get confused by all the masks that we ask each other to wear.  I don't know why that is, maybe it's because we're still trying on faces and wondering which ones will fit the best, when we already really know but we forget.

We're all so very forgetful.  On our best days we see each other clearly, but in between days there are unexpected demands from boring lovers and tired bosses and scores of others who want us to live and sin for them, because they don't know what it means to live in other bodies and other identities, and we are expected to do that for them.  It warps us, and we survive by learning how to become something else when the darkness comes, or the moon turns faces, or the ocean shifts in her sleep.  And even at our best, then, we forget who we're supposed to be to each other, and become something else, because it's comfortable, or it's novel. 

We forget that at the center of the wheel, there's that place we can touch and become the thing we're already well on our way to becoming, and on the dark nights we get confused about the faces we have to wear, and on the lighter nights they fit and they are honest in reminding us that they are not as real as anything else, and in the end, it's all a projection of the mind.

I got lost there somewhere.  Sometime in that space between dreaming and sleeping again, I got lost, from too many repetitions of the same combination of alcohol and smoke that told me I didn't have to be what anyone wanted.  There was something valuable in that, on those evenings, something like the golden thread, but it played itself out in drunken songs that sounded so sweet the next morning that they demanded another repetition the next day and the next. 

It took years to wake up from that dream, and in truth, I'm still just coming out of a very long drunken slumber.  And after taking care to clean up some of the messes I made of my life, I learned that my life was going on without me, but I would have to catch up to it in order to earn the right to live in it.  And I still make a mess, and I still make messes in other lives, but I'm learning to live with all the unresolved things that I can't do anything about, and take responsibility for the things that go wrong because of me. 

So it makes sense, then, that this new adventure started without me, and I had to fight my way back into it, and it begins in a stranger's house, with new ghosts, and a dog who can't stop crying when she sees me.  The water is divine and the rooms are bright and airy, and they smell like something has shifted with more certainty than I could muster in my broken attempts to make sense of things that can't make sense yet. 

But I can't pay any more attention to the dark spots than they deserve, which is only a moment's recognition, because the goddess knows me utterly, and she says that I know her, and all it takes is the action of opening the gift.  There are wild horses and wolves with blood on their chins running in my blood, and they want me to be true, to live in a life that's true, and not make things up any more.  So I don't know yet what is real here and what is an extension of a web that's broken, and I won't show any alliance to anything that I can't trust until I know for sure, and so I am only doing things that I know for sure, and that means deciding to be only among those who are already decided themselves, and the rest we'll figure out in the morning.


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