Turned Around at Laity Lodge
Am I really here?
All week we’ve gathered in the Great Hall, sunk in soft sofas or perched on chairs, and faced the fireplace.
And my heart burned with words and songs, and tears flowed, but they could not extinguish the flames.
Since Thursday, I’ve felt embraced by the canyon and living avatars.
This morning, Sunday, the room is turned around to face the glass wall, a window to rock that rises above the Frio.
The elements wait–icing on the cake of community we’ve shared.
Steven invites us to share (I forget what order this all happened), and I raise my hand.
I want to tell of the gift and how being here is a gift and how my heart is so very full because of the gift, a gift delivered straight from the hand of God through a vessel of clay.
You see, I’d entered the “contest” to come and decided that if I “won,” I would take that as a sign that this was my season even in this time.
And when my name wasn’t drawn, I contented myself with the hope for next year.
But then came an email that an anonymous someone had given a gift, and God had written my name on it.
I want to articulate how my tied-up heart has been unwrapped, but I choke and snuffle, and my pretty words (and dignity) puddle on the floor.
I’m glad I’m in a place where there’s safety in unlocked rooms and hearts and strangled voices.
I know my life now is as turned around as this room.
Before we leave this place, I walk past the fountain, past word-bearing rocks, and down the steps to the dock.
And I remember:
Squeals and hugs here as the virtual morphed flesh, and the real became more real.
A white-billed duck, rock that showered water, and trailing fingers in the river from a kayak.
My room and gentle roommate, coyotes that sang, and a scorpion that didn’t sting (a photo fail.)
A hike up Circle Bluff, and how just when I thought I could not climb over one more rock, we reached the top and a magnificent view.
A room where I could play with paints and scraps and plunge my thumb in glue and create something flawed and beautiful.
A circle of poets biting into the round jubilance of word peaches.
A plate of brownies and friends who spoke of rhythms and rumors and writing while hummingbirds scuffled.
The crunch of red stone underfoot as I walk the path alone in early morning.
A late-night discussion about how to have an online funeral if something should happen to one of us. Just the thought of that tears a hole in my heart.
And red hibiscus tea-spotted white pants (don’t ask), trays laden with grapes and cheese, steaming mugs, fresh-baked bread, Asian soup with shredded coconut, and Laity Lodge Christmas cookies.
A vulture soars above, and I realize that something has died in me. But something else has taken root, and I feel its pulse.
Did I not ask Him to enlarge my territory?
How do I explain these things?
How do I explain what’s happening inside?
I try to wrap my heart around all of it, but I don’t think I can contain it.
It bulges like an overstuffed suitcase
I turn around to go, but I don’t leave.