HERE I STAND

Here I stand, on the brink of the abyss, staring deep, deep into its gaping maw, my eyes and intuition desperately searching for any glimmer of light.

A safe descent or soft landing I seek, an avoidance of the leap of faith I yearn to take though my conservative inner self cannot release the sanctuary of the mundane.

One step, and before me lies the infinite.

Here I stand, gazing upon the faces of Sufis, devotional love radiating from within. Eyes closed, they utter words beyond my vocabulary that I may only ever feel. Their impassioned song embraces my heart, unnerving it and, like my feet upon the lip of that yawning crevasse, it promises wonders I could never envisage if only I just… let… go.

Their harmonious voices evoke an unsettling in my soul, a confrontation of conservatism bred of the conflict between heart and mind. “Listen to your soul,” they seem to sing through words I have never heard, while conscious ego clings to the safety of conformity.

Here I stand as the dawn heats foreign lands under my bare soles. What might welcome me into this day of the unknown? Danger? Fear? Hope? Adventure? The endless love lost to a world of nine-to-fives, dollars and cents, one foot in front of the other on a beeline for the grave?

A sigh escapes me, drawing me deep into the terracotta earth beneath my feet. This place, so far from my life, has released time, recognized it for nothing more than a concept. No driving force or governing power is held by each sweeping tick, the incessant circumnavigation of the clock’s unstoppable march.

Day — night. These are the only etchings upon the face of this land’s timepiece. No hand relentlessly pushes us through every action in this place beyond hours and minutes and seconds.

Here I stand as myriad fragrances waft on gentle breeze, their breath the whisper of flowers and creatures, of tradition and cuisines that have never touched my lips. I journey the world beyond sight, visions of aroma engorging my imagination in wonderment.

What could this be, this foreign scent? How has something so radiantly sweet remained a stranger to me for these many years?

I want to gather it up, place it in an ornate vial of green glass and silver, a home worthy enough in beauty to encapsulate its vibrancy, and present it to the world, saying, “Take, smell. This is the perfume of peace, the scent of an innocence that only nature understands.

Here I stand, on a prow of timber as it severs the azure waters of oceans beyond the compass. Tranquil seas holding my escape unfurl like the crisp cotton sheets of a fresh-made bed. Silken they offer themselves, promising the embrace of perfect relaxation, a weightlessness known only to the stars in their nocturnal linen of obsidian.

In every direction lies my fate, the gift of love or loss, of terror or boundless joy. I may clasp at the gunwales as emerald atolls pass, a panic reaching into my core, squeezing tight, asking, “Is that my home? Is that my destiny? What will I miss? What dangers lay in wait? We must stop, for here we are, and here is safe.

But my ship’s course stays true and in it I place my faith, through fear, through storms, through the tumbling fury of waves like snow-capped mountains, a thousand hands of salt water clutching at me, desperately endeavoring to claw me from the deck.

My body is tested, strained to the brink of succumbing, pushed beyond my comprehension of limitations. But beyond lies paradise and for that my grip will never fail.

Here I stand in the light of a fire, respite from the chilling kiss of the snow that blankets this world. In these elemental contradictions lies the wisdom of balance. At my back, the winter beckons, frozen diamonds scattered across mountains and trees. Like Narcissus I could stare at its beauty, my life ebbing away, consumed in adoration as it steals my warmth and heartbeat.

Before me, acid tongues of amber, gold and crimson yearn to taste my flesh, straining at their tether of glowing embers. They are my guard dogs, protecting me from the icy intruders that threaten this sanctuary of light. But never must I forget that, but for the constraints I have placed upon them, they too may pierce my skin with razor teeth, engulf me in their anger and thirst for the wanton destruction of all they touch.

Here I stand in the silence of a forest, canopies of leaves offering protection from all that may be cast down upon me; tormenting rain, relentless sun, judgmental eyes or punishing words. Here I may rest my head on soft moss, still my mind, release my heart and drift upon the wind, carefree, until I choose to return.

But in this place all sound is stolen from me, shadows conjure unseen foreboding and a patchwork of shadow is striated by the gnarled torsos of a thousand trees. The unknown lurks in these places and, good or bad, the disquietude it evokes steals too the peace from my soul.

Here I stand in the presence of these places, blessed with the endless gifts they present, denied only by my own fears. Wildest dreams and endless fantasies are only reached by the journey through the unknown. In that we despair. In that we relinquish our potential, for success, for joy, for love.

But here I stand embracing the unknown, poised to dive into its depths, to play with its fires, and melt its snows, to illuminate its shadows and explore its secrets. I do not know what lies there, but I know its value and its miracle.

Here I stand… lost in distant worlds, lost in her eyes.

– This article first appeared on Rebelle Society on Oct 11, 2014

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