Saturday, December 4, 2010

That One Moment

It was only a moment. A blip in the life of a mechanical clock turning around on itself every 24 hours, a cycle without end. It was only a moment, and yet it hung suspended in time, holding in its wide hands vast amounts of matter and lifetimes, its presence so large that I just let it wash over me like a wave of light, taking my sense of self as I sat still in the moment of eternity that was not the blip of a clock- it was the only now that had ever been, has ever been, will ever be.

The highway climbed up the hill ahead of me into the rising sun, a white hot burst of burning life flowing into yellow and then bleeding bright blue into the receding purple of pre-dawn. I had not seen a sunrise of such intensity for a long time, perhaps ever, for these were new eyes in a new time that didn’t end. The colors sang for me- they dropped their cloaks and stood naked in the day that was forming. I took off the goggles, the layers, the thoughts and gauze, I let it fall as time waited for the soft gaze of truth to emerge.

Light unraveled in a slow, sensuous dance. The world stopped.

Between the highway and the Rio de San Juan was the old governor’s ranch. I watched as it became a fixture in eternity. I held onto its curves with my eyes, feeling the dark blue veil and misty grayish green floating over its ancient stucco walls.

The highway led up to forever. My destiny sat there in the east at the top of the hill, invisible in the blinding white light, yet seen as it hit the middle of my brow; seen from the core of my abdomen; seen as it washed over my head and down my spine. Seen by the part of me that has no eyes, seen as sight melted into every other sense, flowing up and down through me, in and out with my breath.

I floated up into the washing, waving light and looked down at the frail body sitting in the old station wagon beside the motel on the highway. There was a streak of weak light from the stop sign several feet away, the pale yellow and brown crust of a lingering harvest moon.

Past prayers and vague hopes reached through me and shot out into a fearful future and a humbling promise of what was to come. Threads of events flowed around me and filaments of light spread and receded, winding and weaving together in a vision of an arduous journey and precipitous rise. Sounds vibrated melodious and rhythmic in an exhortation to go forward, to be without trappings, to build faithfully. My being melted away and flowed into the vastness of light and shadow, movement and silence.

For that moment, I was no more. I saw the haunting past and the harrowing future, two roads converging into the me that was no longer there. I understood the course a life must take to have what is asked for. The choice had been made, there was no other path. For that moment, I was the colored light, the dry hands that had built the motel, the men on the line assembling the station wagon, that body down there, the trees in the distance, all those that had coasted down the highway and those that never would.

Then there was a blip, a tick of the mechanical clock springing forward. I returned to the confines of the body, feeling my arms and hands once again as my own. Slowly and statically I turned into the motel parking lot. I worked and ate and moved in silence for the rest of the day. I was detached, my movements unreal and mechanical. Fear and doubt grasped at my body at each turn and my mind kept repeating, "take care of what you ask for and have no pride in receiving it.”

Soon I would take that highway out of town, away from the place of childhood and into a world of mystery and misery. Yet that which I received at that one moment as the clock stopped and held time in its hands, that moment in which I traveled out of body and out of time, that has never left me. It strikes again in moments of listlessness when the sun begins to change and the road leads to forever.