Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Excess... and Blindness

Star Maker, Les Edwards

You wander from room to room, hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck. ~ Jalaluddin Rumi

* * * * * * * * *

Years ago, when I still lived in Egypt, I traveled to the Sinai Peninsula annually. Every November, for six years, I separated myself from the chatter of everyday life, went into the desert, and prepared for my climb to the summit of Mt. Moses. On the morning (or rather, the night) of the climb, I would wake up at 2:00 a.m., wrap myself in as many warm layers as possible, wear two or three pairs of socks, put on my hiking boots, and board the bus that would take me to the bottom of the mountain, where I would begin a cliff-ridden journey speckled with small chapels and other niches of worship, that would end at the top just as the sun was about to rise.

As I stepped off the bus and stood at the foot of Mt. Moses, there was never a need to look up into the sky to see the stars. Everything around me was stars! The sky was everywherehumming against my cheekbones, rubbing against my skin. I remember the falling meteoroids, plunging to their final rest so beautifully, like a platinum firework. We like to call those “shooting stars.” But they are not shooting. And they are not stars. They are dying pieces of rock that sing their swan song as they fall into our atmosphere in an explosion of light, as if to say, I am eternal. Always remember me.

Here is an excerpt from my journal from the trip I took in 1998: Walking in the supposed footsteps of Moses, passing beneath the night shadow of what was believed to be the original burning bush, I never once stopped to think about the holiness of the place from that context. The holiness for me was in the heavens. And the heavens were not up there, but right here… enveloping me like a blanket. It was all so overwhelmingthe brightness, the aliveness, the sacredness, the now-ness. How to take it all in?

Most haunting were the sleepless nights that followed, as that brilliant image lingered inside my psyche, knitting the tips of my darkest nights with interconnected haloes.

These memories called me outside again, last night, like innumerable nights before. And I stood at the step leading up to my front door, beside the “Welcome” garden gnome who perches there, my head craned back, my eyes scanning the heavens. The sky was so dark… the stars so bright. And I wanted so greedily to see it all. Every star. Every glimmer. Every dip. Every pose. Every eloquent and timid hue of purple. And silver. And black. And as I swiveled my head up and down, left and right, in my hunger to take in this immenseness, I realized the absurdity of my greed, and how insidiously it metastasizes.

Jorge Luis Borges once said that when he went blind, he became an insomniac. He’d slept all his life in total darkness, and now that he could no longer see, too much light danced behind his eyelids, haunting the receptacle of his absent sense, and stealing his sleep.

Ah, yes!

Last night, after countless insomniac nights… insomniac years… of searching the sky for stars, my neck sore from trying to support my ricocheting head, I walked out onto my front lawn, planted my bare feet firmly in the grass, and understood: The stars are there, even by day, even when I can’t see them. I need not search for them.
They are there.
They are there.
They are there.

And…
I can’t see it all,
Can’t do it all,
Can’t have it all.

And the beauty of it is that I’m finally… finally… perfectly at peace with that.



24 comments:

  1. what an inspirational and very profound piece, my sweet friend!
    i cherish every word you've said. ans yes, i could lose myself in your brilliant thoughts and inspiring writing.

    also, i did adore your last lines. so optimistic words...this reminds me of a quote that goes something like: looking at the stars with your feet on the ground. "we can't have it all!" that's for sure.
    i fond of your writing (always amazed at your writing skills) and your creative fire.

    sometimes insomnia hits me when i let myself get over-busy and feel stressed, but
    it's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear...

    big hugs to you, my dearest!!

    xxx

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    1. Dearest Betty,

      Thank you for your always careful (and caring) reading of my work in any form. It's always such a delight to have you swing by. And what can I say to your thought about the mind being most clear at night except... Yes! That is when the 'sorting through' happens. Thank you again, my dear, and big hugs back!

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  2. ...and thanks so much for your always lovely comments, they really mean the absolute world!

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    1. It's always a pleasure to visit your lovely space, Betty!

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  3. This was a fascinating juxtaposition of the incredibly rich history of your native land with a powerful understanding of how each moment today, too, is unimaginably rich. None of us can ever really fathom the complexity of it all. And therein lies its metaphorical simplicity.

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    1. Your last sentence says it all, Judy. What an insight!

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  4. Wonderful description of Mt. Sinai, Nevine. I would love to make that climb some day/night and drink in the excess -especially the holiness of that place. Until then, thanks to you, I will remember to enjoy the beauty that surrounds me and I will try to capture the peace that is here for the taking. No more searching for the diamond necklace around my neck!

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    1. I can't even begin to describe the intensity of that climbing experience, and the profoundness of witnessing the sunrise while you're surrounded by people from everywhere around the world, and from all walks of life. I highly encourage it! Thank you for the heartwarming words.

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  5. So much to love in this post, Nevine Queen, but with this line I especially identify:
    The holiness for me was in the heavens, but they not 'up' there. The heavens are right here, right now. From your journal...

    I have a 'happy' whenever I see our 'new post' announcement in my email!
    Thank you.
    PEACE!

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    1. Thank you for sharing the lines you felt the most, Steve. I always appreciate that. And I always appreciate your kind and wholesome thoughts... always. Thanks again!

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  6. Coucou ma belle Nevine!
    Ce sont de bien jolis souvenirs si merveilleusement racontés!
    Ton texte est plein de vie et on se sent transporté sur le flanc du mont Sinaï parmi toutes ces étoiles filantes!
    Ça me rappelle que l'année dernière en vacances dans le Cantal, un ami malien (alors que nous scrutions le ciel dans l'attente de voir des étoiles filantes) me disait que dans son pays, on pense que chaque étoile filante est l'âme d'une personne âgée qui vient de mourir pour laisser la place à un nouveau-né!
    J'ai aimé cette vision des étoiles;o)
    Et tu sais, pour moi, le rêve c'est les pieds dans l'eau (dans la mer de Nazaré;o)) et la tête dans les étoiles!

    ***
    BISOUS x 1000 et BELLE après-midi, mon Amie****

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    1. He he he... oui, je connais bien ton rêve. Et merci d'avoir partagé ta conversation avec ton amie. On a tous nos histoires avec les étoiles et le ciel... et avec la mer aussi, non? :-) Merci, ma belle amie, pour les mots gentils. Bises bises!!!

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  7. Ah, j'oubliais de te dire!
    Le tableau que tu as choisi pour illustrer ton texte est tout simplement sublime!
    Et j'ai aussi beaucoup aimé la musique et reviendrai l'écouter;o)

    ***
    Re-BISOUS et une bise amicale à qui tu sais;o)****

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  8. ...ciao Nevine. Mi chiamo Sergio. Un giorno, non so come, mi sono ritrovato a passeggiare fra le tue stanze, E che stanze! Mi sono anche preso la licenza di trasferire un tuo post con video sul portale di google+. Questa sera sono stato rapito dalla tua prosa poetica A un certo punto mi sono ritrovato nelle tue scarpe. Sul monte sacro a Mosè. Ho usato i tuoi occhi per mirare il buio della notte e il nero broccato del cielo. Per mirare stupito i corpi incendiati attraversare l'aria della Terra. La tua capacità di coinvolgere l'anima è sublime. Tanto che vorrei dedicarti questi semplici versi per ricordare la bella lettura cui hai fatto dono al mondo questa notte:

    questa notte
    più di ogni altra
    miro le stelle
    sento che ognuna
    porta con sé un segreto
    anche la più piccola
    la più vicina
    la più lontana
    altresì quella che non vedo
    che brilla per altri occhi
    porta con sé un segreto

    questa notte
    più di ogni altra
    vedo ombre
    ombre di uomini
    e sento che ognuna
    non porta con sé un segreto
    stentano a mirar le stelle
    la più brillante
    la più piccola
    la più grande
    e ogni ombra che vedo senza vederla
    non porta con sé un segreto

    questa notte
    più di ogni altra
    miro le stelle
    le miro ad una ad una
    la più vicina
    la più tenue
    la più lontana
    e in quelle che non vedo
    vedo gli occhi miei
    gli occhi tuoi
    e tutti quelli di coloro
    che portano con sé un segreto
    e so che il mio è il tuo
    il tuo il loro
    e il loro il mio.

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    1. Che bella poesia, Sergio! Sono incantata dalle parole che hai scelto per esprimere l'unicità che condividiamo. Sono anche molto commossa che tu potessi rivivere la mia esperienza con me. Siamo tutti molto simili in tanti modi, e i nostri mondi si convergono in tanti punti. Ti ringrazio per i tuoi pensieri profondissimi!

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  9. Coucou Nevine!
    J'espère que tu as passé une très bonne semaine et je te souhaite un excellent dimanche!
    J'étais partie dans le Jura pour quelques jours et comme mon chéri est en vacances je suis moins présente sur le net;o)
    Donne mon bonjour à qui tu sais;o)

    ***
    Gros BISOUS et à bientôt, ma belle***

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    1. Merci, ma belle amie. Je vous souhaite des vacances géniales! Et... je lui donnerai ton bonjour... oui! He he he... :-) Gros gros bisous!

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  10. Oh, Nevine, how I have missed drinking in the sweet wine of your words. Bless you. You forever take me there, wherever you are, and make me smell and taste and feel and touch and taste it all. You are a gift to this world. A gift, sweet friend.
    Love, Deborah

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    1. Deborah, what a lovely surprise to see you here! You've been away for such a long time. Thank you for your delightful visit... and your even more delightful words. I'll swing by soon and see what's going on in your neck of the woods. Love back to you, lady!

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  11. Incredibly inspiring to discover writing of this quality. Fabulous.

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    1. DrDx, Thank you for the kind words. So very nice of you...

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.