XCIX. A Sense of Place

January 15, 2013 — I awoke this morning thinking about thinking. It is a dark and dreary day, damp and cold, one of those days when daylight never really comes. Such days impel me to sit at my computer and think and write.

This post comes with a soundtrack: go to my player “The Dream” playlist in the right sidebar and click on number 13, Alexander Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B, 3. Andante.

Some of us writers seem to write best when we are out of sorts, unwell, or confined – I think of Christopher Hitchens and Oscar Wilde in their last days; there are others. When I posted my thoughts to my LinkedIn women writers group, my writer friend Val commented, “Gee … I thought we’d all earned the right not to have to think so hard.” Wise.

Before reading Val’s words, I visited my blog. It smelled nutmeggy as I entered, like Moriarty, the Phantom, but I didn’t see him anywhere. By his signature aroma, clearly he had been around. Here, it was bright and sunny, so I strolled outside, across the meadow, down towards the stream, crunching on dry little earth balls and broken stems, and rustling through the sweet-smelling tall grass as I went. I found a sun-baked, large, flat tan rock amidst leggy green-brown weeds. I sat upon it and mused. The mid afternoon sun over my shoulder cast my body in long shadow upon the ground.

In the sun of afternoon I sat and mused on the dark shadow of morning I had left. Here it seemed I was in between: it was neither dark nor light, it was neither pain nor pleasure, grief nor joy; it was warmer middle colors, serene. I don’t like being kept in the dark. When I am, I sense that I am. Of course, if I were thoroughly kept in the dark, I wouldn’t know it, would I?

Have I reached the synchronicity of the meeting of the dark and the light? My friend Susan Scott, writes on the potential acausality of the phenomenon of synchronicity in her recent blog post: http://www.gardenofedenblog.com. I invite you to read and explore.

Susan makes me think. In her book, In Praise of Lilith, Eve & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, she writes of our inner opposites, the dark and the light, suggesting that we allow ourselves to venture into our dark side, our shadow, that we dare to be brave enough to face it.

Oscar Wilde wrote a story called “The Fisherman and His Soul”. The fisherman falls in love with a mermaid and desires to lay down his life to be with her. A witch hands him a knife and tells him that, if he dare, he must cut off his shadow, for his shadow is his soul, and the only way to be with the mermaid his to cut off his soul. The fisherman dares; he takes the knife, stands upon the beach, bends down and cuts off his soul. The shadow is gone. He lives blissfully under the sea for many years with the mermaid. Meanwhile his soul goes off on many adventures. When the soul looks in a mirror, he does not see himself. Curious. Where is the synchronicity? Wouldn’t he, the soul, holding a mirror and looking into it cause the mirror to reflect him, thus synchronizing the soul with the illusion of himself the mirror reflects, like your computer screen mirroring the data that you have called up? This is a paradox. If it can be true, also it can be false.

It turns out that the soul committed many cruel acts. When the fisherman cut off his soul, he kept his heart. I leave you to seek the rest of the story yourself.

Susan Scott climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She writes an essay about it in her “Lilith …” book. I cannot imagine myself doing that. Oh, the MUD, she says. She found the mud nearly unendurable. Caring for Emma was my Kilimanjaro. So often was I stuck in that deep, slippery, tacky mud; so often I thought I could not go on. But I did. I learned to have patience and faith, to trust and to relinquish some of my independence. It was the only way.

Now, afterwards, I am down off the mountain. Where to now? While I cannot deny my feelings, I would not sell my soul to be with the mermaid; and I’d most certainly want to keep my soul and my heart together. What is a soul or consciousness without a heart? And what of the paradox of twin souls?

I had to allow myself to experience this dark day, to go through it, face it, reflect on it, then take myself out into the light, and then to stay in between somehow. I have left that place of caregiving for Emma, and I have not reached a new place. I feel myself to be in an empty space. So, I strive to understand what I have been taught, that is to stay in between. The silence in a musical phrase makes the music.

The sun now low in the western sky, I must go inside. About to arise from my rock, I look up. I see dear Moriarty’s face filling a windowpane in the cupola, Moriarty who would be dismayed to learn he is but an illusion. Wildly gesturing, waving his arm, he is pointing to someplace over my shoulder. I turn, and there is the Blue Deer, the Blue Deer with her blue and white spotted fawn, Batik.

As I wander back through the weeds and tall grass, I think what if the dark and the light forces do not combat each other, rather that within each there abides a gentleness and a patience of the one for the other?

—Samantha Mozart