The Frio splashes on tires, and Charity rolls down the window so we can bathe in the sound of it. Right away I feel a shift in my spirit and a nauseous-not-nauseous sense in the pit of my stomach–anticipation as I melt into this thin place that’s thick with the presence of God. The sacred embraces us, and bushes flame all around.
The bubbling and tumbling of the main fountain greets us, and the water seems louder this time even in the small places, like where it trickles from Anna’s fountain and down the rocks by the library.
And then there’s the rain that comes in a mist, in droplets, and in sheets that blow across the river.
The weather’s not conducive to building cairns with Gordon, so he invites us down to the library to talk about the wellspring of creativity that flows through our unconscious minds and how to tap into that dam even when writing under deadline. The room is chilly, and some share blankets stretched across their laps as we chat.
Gordon invites us to sit in silence for a stretch of time, and I don’t know where to look if I’m facing the group. I know if I close my eyes, there’s a good chance I’ll fall asleep. So I turn my back on everyone to stare out the window at the river and the burning bushes that line it.
We talk about the importance of paying attention to things around us, and Gordon tells of an impression he saw in the stone floor that reminded him of an ear pressed in tight… listening?
He tells us to pretend we’re children, to explore the room like a child, to see what catches our attention. I’m drawn first to the bookcase and touch shelves and spines and leaf through pages. I open cupboards and drawers. Some spaces are completely empty. Some hold kitchen items of hospitality. Someone has found some little white balls and spends most of the time spinning them. Others are intrigued with stacks of drink coasters and their designs. Another strokes the wood table and later describes it as closest to its mother.
I’m uninterested in any of this and find myself again in front of the window that’s now coated with condensation from… the breath of life that flows inside this room? As I watch the river, I notice a mist rise and fall from it’s surface, and I’m mesmerized by it. I know scientifically the water’s probably warmer than the air, that I’m seeing it evaporate only because the air is colder.
But I’m arrested by the impression that the river is breathing. I lean in closer and seem to see the surface rise and fall.
The river is alive.
It flows with tears that have been shed here, beats with hearts that have fluttered here.
It breathes life to this canyon, in this place where the breath of life itself hovers and breathes life into chaotic lives.
And in this cold, thin place, we’re all wrapped up in the warmth of it.
Standing here on holy ground, I press my ear against the veil and listen. I melt into the the breath of this presence, embraced by the sacred beside the burning bushes that flame all around.