The room smelled sweet. Soft white noise blocked out the world. Pillows covered the white plush sofa. She pulled a curtain over the door, and another over the window, closing the space off from the outside.
I sat down. We talked for half an hour, her asking, me trying to answer. There were uncomfortable pauses that I felt I should fill.
Mostly, I didn’t.
I knew that if I tried too hard to find something to say, all the words would leave and be replaced with the panicky fog.
I waited to be asked.
I answered as best I could.
It was good enough.
When I dared, I looked at her face.
Calm – no, serene.
There was no rush there, no expectation, no judgment.
It felt right… as it should be… as I’d hoped it would be.
And then she talked about finding a safe place.
I was told I would have to walk down ten flights of steps. This was a little disconcerting. Either I was up ten stories – not something I enjoy – or I was going to descend to an underground cavern. The thought of going deep into the ground made me feel like I couldn’t breathe.
I closed my eyes, lulled by soft music.
I had to choose.
I was in a round tower. I told myself it was safe, strong and secure. No one else was there. In front of me was the arch of an open window. I couldn’t see too much, but I knew I was high above the ground. I wasn’t yet certain what was down below. I found myself wanting to approach the window, but I was afraid to, being up so high. It made my hands and feet tingle as heights always do.
It was time to head down the winding staircase. I ignored the numbness in my hands and feet and walked down the first flight of stairs. I rounded a bend and saw an identical arched window. Outside it was bright and the sky was summer blue.
After descending another flight, I found another arched window. I got a little closer. Below I saw green grass with lavender patches spread out in the sunlight.
It's the purple meadow!
I knew the bench was there, but I couldn’t see it yet.
It must be directly below me, near the tower.
Another flight down and then another. From the sixth floor, I was even with the tops of the tallest trees that surrounded the meadow. I remembered being in the meadow - the one in the real world. I remembered how exhilarating it had been the first time I stepped out from the trees and saw the open space surrounded by trees and covered in grass and lavender. Anticipation turned the memory to reality. I hurried down to the next level.
Half way down. No time to stop at the window.
Safe, protected, warm, inviting.
I had to see if the bench was there. On the second floor, I paused, hands on the window ledge. Leaning out a little, I could see the bench. My clipboard and pen were there, waiting.
The bench in the purple meadow
(taken during my private retreat last month)
The Purple Meadow
(Taken during my private retreat, last month)
Sitting, I looked around at the blooming meadow. Like a waiting friend, a deer took a step toward me, moving halfway out of the woods beyond the meadow.
I smiled at her welcome.
I reached down to run a hand over the tops of the blooming lavender, feeling the caress of their soft petals on my palm. The breeze moved my hair against my face.
So safe and warm, so incredibly comforting...
When I looked up, the deer had come close. Cautiously, I reached a hand out to stroke the side of her face. The instant I touched her, she stared into my soul.
It was intense.
Strength and knowledge, love and wisdom emanated from the moist and dark-brown depths of those eyes.
Leaving my body behind, safely seated on the bench, I stood up and walked with the deer. She led me across the meadow to a pond I hadn’t seen before. Pushing aside the tall grasses and cattails, I stepped to the edge and looked at my reflection in the glass-like water. I was beautiful; ageless, knowing, light, and unafraid.
In my eyes I saw determination.
I don’t have far to look to find myself.
I am here.
I’ve always been here.
I’ll always be here.
“When I count to five…”
It was so unexpected, so sudden.
I was swept back into my body.
The deer watched me from the edge of the forest.
I rose from the bench and turned towards the tower, but already it was losing substance, wavering, fading before my eyes.
I closed my eyes, locking the vision of the meadow behind my lids. I felt the gaze of the deer on my back and I knew it would always be there.
I opened my eyes.
I was back in the room with the pillows, the sweet scent, the white noise…
Back to the real world.
Or is it?
(Here are two computer drawings I did this afternoon.
I posted these a few hours after putting the rest of the post up.)
Seeing the Pond