The doorway of my heart
Opens to forgiveness.
In my humanity,
The doorway of my heart
Opens to forgiveness.
In my humanity,
Witnessing storm clouds
Bathed by their rain
An end to stagnation
Carries opportunities for change
Surrender to the beauty of the Great Unknown
For Truth never thrives in a life outgrown
A familiar face, long and narrow, levitates in the corner between tiles. Thin legs and arms drawn close, protective of her slender body. I’ve seen her here for weeks now, shielded her from downpour, and guided her to safety.
I bend to pump soap into my wet, warm hand. With my face nearer hers, I say, “hello, dear,” because she’s waving her arm at me. I reach my index finger to her and she stops waving to reach back to me. For a moment, she and I are like God and man on Michelangelo’s ceiling.
The next day, I look but cannot find her familiar face.
Shifting, bending, building her heart
Exhaling incense, honoring grace.
When efflorescence comes to Lavender’s branch,
She bows her head in devotion.
With warm fingertips, the benevolent sun
Lifts Lavender’s chin and says —
It’s your divine purpose to fully express the depths of our soul.
Passing life through bees,
Scattering seeds like words to the wind
For Gaia to choose
How she will live forever.
This is an excerpt from my Varanasi Sage collection, available in audiobook, paperback, and ebook. Originally written and published in 2017, “The Lucky Ones” was my first piece set in an art and music festival. The art that inspired this piece is “Phuture Pasture” by David Suckling for Burning Man 2017. Press the play icon below to listen!
The Lucky Ones
Twinkling lights strung around its frame, chain clicking in a dry loop, my bike created tracks on tracks in the dust, crossing tracks without pattern or reason.
The high desert mirrors the night sky; although the stars on the ground are colored, moving and spinning, careening chaotically. In the dark expanse, we put on our lights and become technicolor shooting stars.
By week’s end, the thin layer of dust on my bike will gather to look as though it had been left forgotten in the recesses of a workman’s garage. Dust on my clothes, my skin and my hair, in my nose, ears and lungs. By week’s end, I, too, caked with dust, will look old and forgotten.
A herd of cows appears. Dim lights twinkle from their insides, differentiating them from the dust and darkness. Stationary, unafraid, wooden skeletons wrapped in translucent nylon. Their twinkling lights, the same as my own.
In the darkness of the playa, amongst dust and art, these are the lucky ones. Peaceful bovines, sacred cows, bountiful goddesses of nourishment. They view passing amusements. Busses dressed like sheep and lighthouses, cars like genie lamps, golf cart abstract art, and bodies radically expressing themselves.
Our shared reality outside this city—the distortion of divine nature, the degradation of life by human command. Here, cows are not an exploitable object; a sentient being trapped in a pit of manure, in line for a violent death, never having eaten a blade of grass or stepped hoof in a meadow.
I, too, am a lucky one, in the darkness of the playa, amongst dust and art, not trapped in a war-torn city, used as a human shield.
The sadness of contrast, a melancholy inspection, thoughts and emotions rising from the depths of another’s creation. Here in the dust—in the middle of nowhere—surrounded by darkness and lights.
Musty perfume rises from sage and transformation
My boot squishes red earth
Mycelium parade on storm-felled branches
Their fabric assimilates my own
Harmony in exchange
Balance in giving
Crochet lichen wave to me from leafless branches
Unified in rhythmic pulse
Ferns reach, offering bright hands after pulling back in fall
Death becoming life never dies.
Waning moon ramblings
Heart spilling forth
Bubbles in overflow
Unbottled in time
To ether returned
From ether derived.
As the earth moves to the degree that aligns with my first breath, I am whole, having learned to tend to myself as if for the world.
I journey to a reminder of my origins. Crumbling orange bluffs, salty air, and windswept cypress trees. To the mother who knows my deepest truths and cradles them in nonjudgment.
Her winter spirit redecorated with remnants of trees carried down river, turned into benches and sculptures. An unrecognizable shore, aside from the turtle back rocks, gives me permission to see.
I am the sand, shaped and molded. Done and redone, uncovered and recovered. Swept away and built again.
I am the rock who has remained through every gale. Etched and refined into tide pool homes.
I am the wave, it’s lifetime unmarked by revolutions around the sun. Returning to the sea it never left.
I carry him on my back uphill. A broken pelvis, healed without intervention, disabled his body long before he was mine. Cool green manzanita leaves and prickly pine needles shake off their snow like birds in a bath. Beside them, I march; enjoying each boulder, each seed-bearing cone, each sage brush adorning snow. I slouch under dull pain in my shoulders. I had thought for years to train for backpacking, but never enough to start — until this disabled body showed up wanting the adventure as much as I.
Behind gauzy clouds, the sun moves through a sky that morphs from bright to dark almost without warning. I check my watch. We’ve arrived at nowhere-in-particular and must return downhill. I relinquish my body from the backpack, careful not to tip him.
His feet, wrapped in miniature booties, make miniature crunches on the snow-turned-ice. Perfectly timed to my pattering heart, evermore delighted with each mini-crunch. His steps a staccato. My strides: the baseline. Sloshing where snow and earth made mud. In one bright streak — a comet’s trail — still water reflects the sun that warms our backs, both covered in fleece. He looks back at me, checking on me, flashing his wide, toothless smile.
When I wonder too long, his mystery past roots sadness in my heart to guess. The only certainty: a guardian angel plucked him from death row. And here we are now, his steps and mine, crunching ice in booties and boots. Living our destiny.
My latest project is a collection of festival stories that take a fun and, sometimes, frightening journey into the fringe! All the stories are based on my true, lived experience. I’ve been compiling these for a few years, and I’m loving the way they’re coming together as a whole. I can’t wait to share some of these wild writings with you!
This collection is my second, coming after Varanasi Sage, which is comprised of true stories that honor our sacred existence and the ordinary miracles manifesting on earth. Varanasi Sage is available in audiobook, paperback, and ebook. Click here for more info!