The Wailing Wall

 

A quilted patchwork of stone,  pristine and immutable to centuries of wind and rain and sun, breaks at the rim to blue.  Jews and seekers and the penitent congregate at the base of the cascade of ivory, a bulwark before the devoted and curious.  Tatters of parchment, icing the cracks and crevices with the glue of hope and heart, silently petition in their presence and poise.  The human condition, an impetus to our collective Muses as we face the blocks and links and layers, welcome of some ethereal ascent.  Motives of chant come in and out of audible, prayers bolstered in voice and vowel, or behind sealed eyes of the reverently motionless.  In the density of those searching and attentive and opening and silencing and sweating, you breathe “the breath inside the breath.”  Indian mystic, Kabir, understood the unspoken fraternity that comes alive in whom and to we’ve always been native.

The sanctity of the Wailing Wall, or maybe it’s a constructed sanctity rising in the air around it, regardless, is still alluring and enticing of a reality commonly lived outside of.

I miss it.

an earthen sonnet

What is the mountains were the fingertips of Love reaching up through the ground?  Her fingers must have gotten too cold before breaking through the earthen blanket.  Longing to reach us, to hold us in the hollows of embrace; she said, “Oh, I’ll trace shorelines, hugging them with seas of heaven’s tears.  We mistook “laughter for tears and tears for laughter,” afraid to do more than skim the surface, sheltered in vessels of an opening too deep.  Then I’ll greet them from the skies and trees, with colorful ensembles to sing and whistle of their loveliness.  To remind. Invite.  I’ll meet them at their bedroom window with the warmth of the rising sun.  I’ll fly around their heads, giving life to sound.  Then I’ll paint the black and blue.  Spackled lights, mists and vapors and currents, an expressive medium of impermeance, castles and charicatures, they’ll want to catch every fleeting fluffy, temporal masterpiece; so I’ll roll out blankets of grasses to lie and exclaim and dream and kiss and be silent.  Defiance to mirror their true selves, wholly beloved.  Misunderstanding justifying isolation, refusal to face the reality of their be-ing…..I’ll keep singing and painting.  I’ll keep reaching and crying.

The Perfect Room

Is it possible to shift into a posture where openness, expectation, hope, and joy become our senses? Senses that explore those daily moments, instead of move passively through them.

“Please, step inside sir.  Room is ready for you. Thank you, please.” hurriedly gestures the Nepali hotel clerk, always kind to tac a misplaced formality on the end.  

Unconvinced, I start to make my case, but before I get out “the light doesn’t even…,” it blinks faintly into life.  

“See, perfect room.” exclaims the hotel clerk.

We both looked ridiculous trying to validate our argument’s stance as the electricity came and went into the room.  Graciously, he had spent the later half of ten to fifteen minutes working the bulb in the socket to fix the dilemma, only realized upon entry.  I didn’t have the ability to be too argumentative; the monsoon rains were about to make their reprise, with the pitter patter of a soft sprinkle upon tin roofs loomingly giving the introduction.  I had just gotten off the bus in Besishahar to start the AnnaPurna Circuit, long into the nightfall from Pokhara with no sleep accommodations made upon arrival.  The coming rain was making my hopeful plan of throwing a hammock up in the tree line a conclusive impossibility.  The price was even three times that of a higher end hostel with solid reviews.  

With a wry, defeated “Thank you,” I stepped inside.  Once he walked away I took my pack to the bench outside my window on the balcony, laying down outstretched with a nice improvised footrest.  You didn’t need a light to be knocked over by the smell of mildew and I got a glimpse enough up the staircase of the accompanying critters.  The air was thick and heavy with moisture, blended with the scents and smells normal across a cityscape.  Sheets of rain started falling.  The sounds muffle tea shop clamor and conversation as increased intensity urges people to hurry home.

Perspective. This idea of experiences and circumstances, completely independent of labels or the need to be defined through a scope.  Moments have the potential to blossom and unfold with a vibrancy and vitality to taste life, a reality we numb ourselves from living, moving, and having our being.

When compartmentalized as bad or awful, emotional baggage subconsciously tempers our embrace. Anxiety, angst, and fear than limit the approach and amass behind the reflection.  Learning opportunities are then stifled, relationships ticketed with a self-dictated worth, and vulnerability withheld.  There’s a bitterness in your mouth.  Ruled by entitlement, like we deserve better service or someone’s affection, or exposed as a hidden vein of self-preservation.  When I associate good or bad to a created space, divinely inspired, I’ve consequently brought along accepted connotations and emotions that paint the picture for me.  

Maybe separate from the experience, there lies the ability to come with some level of broken, human obectivity and see that which is alive, hidden, and ultimately good.

Is it possible to shift into a posture where openness, expectation, hope, and  joy become our senses?  Senses that explore those daily moments, instead of move passively through them.  What if our day wasn’t given a blanket statement over that one sour incident; instead, drawing on consolation and desolation sprinkled throughout the day in appreciation and remembrance.  One of the most profound teachers and relatively recent directors of my spiritual journey, Abraham Heschel, says it beautifully:

“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”


The air was now thick and heavy with moisture as I lay on the bench, blended with the scents and smells normal across a cityscape.  Sheets of rain started falling.  The sounds muffled tea shop clamor and conversation as increased intensity urges people to hurry home.

Rainfall belongs on a list of mine.  One where it buddies next to an evening comforted by my brothers, laughing and dreaming;  the stillness of the morning before the sun breaks, shared coffee with another, the scent of a Ponderosa pine, touch from a friend, classic jazz, and community.  I could go on for awhile.

The weather stayed a comfortable temperature throughout the night, leaving me to pleasantly enjoy my bench bed.  The hotel clerk was right, I did have the “perfect room”.