August 27 – Keep the Colors Wet – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“I cannot tell if the day is ending, or the world, or if the secret of secrets is inside me again.” Anna Akhmatova

The longer I live, the harder it is to discern between the stronger emotions. They all spill into each other where they begin. The longer I go, though, the more I can tell between not feeling and feeling. For this is all that seems to matter. Not feeling puts me on the sideline, makes the world black and white, and me,a dry shade of gray. Only feeling keeps me in the scene, keeps the colors wet.

The other day was very wet. I went for groceries and the old man packing bags was staring off. I knew by his heavy, silver eyes that he was a widower, and just as he lifted my no-fat cottage cheese, he was seeing her floating somewhere before him, and the soda and the swordfish and the English muffins were piling up as the black belt kept moving, and I gently took the cottage cheese from his hand, and he returned, looking at me, a bit dizzy to still be here.

I’ve worked so long and hard to be able to feel my way into the lives of others, only to realize we are all this way, and it is not just sad, it is more than sad. It is the ground of heart where we all meet. Sometimes the skin of mind is torn and we are no longer separate beings. When the talking’s done, we become still proofs of love. I left the store that day feeling more than one heart should and couldn’t tell if I was in trouble or on holy ground.

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