Friday, June 15, 2012


it is the details that make living this life so special. 

   -  the blades of grass waving lightly in the wind.

    -  the bare feet sponging off the earth when we walk,

     -  the breeze that is right now cool and fresh and pleasant, wafting down from the Neem trees and tickling my face. 

      -  the tear that rolls down a child's cheek.

      -   the child yesterday, speaking in the sweetest clearest French, translating about his own heart murmer between his very worried Arab speaking parents. 

watching the things Roland has filmed is breathtaking, slowing it down and there it is, right in front of the you, the things that surrounded you all along as you barreled through them, shut off to them.

slowing your breathing and opening your eyes and being still, and in that stillness - in that stillness the life bursts forth around you

the breathe of life in slow motion.

         the blood dripping slow and steady disappearing into a tiny vein,

the fly that crawls across a sunken cheek,

        the thin and wrinkled wrist that twists and flaps next to the mother's calloused hand. 

the tribal scars marking the high cheekbones.

         and the colors, the colors, always the colors. 

in the stillness you can reach for compassion.  not the obligatory facade but the true compassion.

 the compassion born of attention:  turning off the other distractions and focusing in on the vibrant drama of life playing out right in front of you

 reaching for the story I know is there. taking the time to unravel the layers behind your smile, behind your tears, reaching into the flashes you have seen in those deep eyes, putting your hand over someone's heart and feeling it beating, strong and trembling, rhythmic under your fingertips.

 the food is gone, they say.  this is the third time she has been sick this month, the second transfusion.  tired and haggard fathers with strong skinny arms.  taking the time to know more.  because what we see is only the tip - only a small thin fragment of the complex and rich story of how the individual became that individual. 

 looking at you, my patient, in the eyes.  reading your face, seeing your trepidation.  reassuring you and meaning it.  being honest with you and inserting clarity into your level of understanding

.   taking the time to sit. 

to talk as one person to another,

 watching tiny ducks and chickens chirp fluffy infant shuffle across your feet.

 appreciating every drop of rain.

 being at someone else's level without thinking you are dipping down to their level but rather moving across time and space to connect at a point where 2 very different lives intersect.  

 and that point of intersection, that is what changes the world.

 that is what gives hope, changes beliefs and behaviors, tiny shocks and twines of one life meeting another life. 

at that point of intersection both lives will be changed.

 another color.  another thread is added to the fabric to the tapestry that weaves the moments into moments into a life.

 giving a medicine, holding a hand, sitting silently, sitting in the middle of dirt paths in the night in the heart of Africa with another wild kindred spirit, lightly breathed wishes to the shooting stars and expressing fervently all the things that matter, toes in the sand - this is who i am.  this is who you are.  this is how i got here.  there is where i want to go.  this is what its like to be me, here. 

 being exposed to opinions, beliefs, lifestyles that jar your world view over a cup of tea.  sometimes they solidify your perspective, sometimes a conversation can shatter all you know to be true.

  the universe, the network of humanity is constantly shifting and breathing, groaning and shuddering.  moaning and leaping, stewing and steaming, rising and falling, but what creates the movement, the force, the cohesiveness of the mad and shuddering whole are the intersections points -  when one life moves through time and space to connect with another.  in any and every capacity.

 it is this that shifts the shapes of the ages.  it is this that writes history and wrinkles the forehead of time, that gives meaning to the individual and creates the dynamic story of the collective, that makes every conversation, every smile, every idea, every passionate sharing of what matters matter. 

the most precious real and potent thing.  

like sand that slips through your fingers.  this is life.  this grain, this snatch.  this moment.  where my path crosses yours

and i can only pray to be worthy of each point of intersection.  to view it with wonder and gravity because at every moment, every touch, we are changing our world.

 may we be worthy of our moments. 

watching the smoke.  blow.  blow.  and curling up from the cook fire, the sticks slowly eaten melten molten pushed further into the center, the glowing charcoal and sizzle of onions the dripping drop of school uniforms, a line of flapping drenched blue, clothelines bent into a silght smile at the centers, bright blue in the sun against the backdrop of mud brick and mango trees,

sneaking our fingers into the pot of freshly ground roasted peanut butter, thick and creamy curling around my nail,  sucking it clean, smacking our lips as it exits gooey and saliva drenched, its, ppst pop smack and Arnou dips the same finger copying each other, one dip 2 dip triple dip , smack the lips and lick smack the finger and bob the head and bob 1 bob 2, exchanging knowing smiles.  he is 2 i am 24 but in this moment we are co-conspirators.  we look seriously at one another, with slightly raised eyebrows, nodding gravely in unison, because we know only one thing, that this is GOOD. 

 toss sift of the rice and pounding pima with salt and magic cube and ginger.  i i want to do it i said and my arms feel the burn and it is the burn of being alive.  piles of clothes to be washed the greens and striped oranges, nothing matches here the dirt and hard grit of the soap tears your clothes and being ragged is beautiful.

 i want to throw my watch away and live in this day, this fabulous chaotic day, barefoot and blessed and happy. 

slowing down to see the details

the details

being still - and watching in wonder as life unfolds and flutters and dances around you

taking the time to sit

to laugh

to share

to drink tea

to hold a hand

to hear a story

points of intersection

the brilliant meaning it gives to being human

may we be worthy of our moments. 

1 comment: