I went out walking with two friends,
Allured by the sun after long, clashing rains.
To examine colorful splashes upon the hillside
Left by newborn wildflowers,
Or to ascend to greater heights over the ocean
And over our own lives.
To absorb the sunlight into the depths of our skin,
To be nourished by the Mother beyond all mothers.
The time we walked streamed by
Yet towards its end
The beginning seemed long ago.
Sliding along dry, angled paths
Into the heady shade of bay trees,
The temperatures dropping vast degrees
Between spring’s sun and clinging winter’s shade.
Our track narrowed and descended,
Hiding under slippery, silken leaves,
Or widened into the doorstep of Earth’s blood
Splashing among rocks
That bore our weight without pains.
A height ascended, the entrance unlocked
From the corner of childhood memories’ rusty trove,
To the sacred medicine wheel,
Blessed by whom we did not know.
Silence blanketed, but for the wind.
For a time our number separated,
In body and sometimes in mind.
A direct line from my heart
Led to the shady islands on the furthest curve
Of the blue depths
Silently swelling the full descent below.
So high that no straight lines existed,
Each curve led to another,
Circling, circling our world.
As we returned, I slowed, last in line.
Perhaps a passing cloud,
Perhaps a ripple in the fabric of time,
But for a moment the illusion broke.
Or the illusion was made.
The solidity of the green shaded mountain
Fluttered before me,
As if a breeze had ruffled its reality.
My companions did not notice.
As though an invisible hand
Had grabbed hold of the ripple,
The rich cloth of the landscape
Was ripped away
Revealing iron scaffolding,
The true structure of the world.
We walked upon a massive stage set,
So well painted and textured
As to hold the delusion of reality.
The light of the sun, snatched away,
The rich blues of the sky, vanished.
A heavy, brown darkness covered all,
There was nothing to see
But the endless black leagues of scaffolding,
Lit only from below
By a glowing vermillion ember,
The putrid heart of the operation,
Driving it forward
Constantly and endlessly, constantly and endlessly.
My feet carried me onward,
But I held no awareness that I moved.
“Let’s say a blessing,” came a distant voice,
Pressing through osmosis
Into the pores of my lost reality.
The vision was gone.
Or, the vision was restored.
I stood between my two companions,
My feet in the clear trickles of a shallow stream.
We each looked up
To a rich monument of calla lilies,
Grown luscious from the spring waters,
Their sacred candles burning toward the sky.
I marveled at their curvature,
Their striving perfection.
I closed my eyes, hoping to be held in blessing.
My inward eye saw two images:
The furnace-driven iron bars,
And the crown of lilies above it.
Can reconciliation lie in this?
Questions flashed and flowed,
Of illusions, reality, layers, enchantment.
I let them sweep around me with the ocean wind,
Through me to my soul.
I opened my eyes,
Finding myself alone
Standing solidly before the flowers.
I looked forward.
My companions had pressed on,
And I wished to follow.