Smoke rising into the night, plumes of flame in the barrel. Stars scattered across the sky, Milky Way bow tie stretched against the black. My friend Jordan and his pipe, sweet scent of tobacco. Looking out at the dark, silent water, which stretches on and on, shrouded in the back of his family’s home. I tuck my legs tighter under my blanket and lean into the cool air, hidden from me for so long. I am continually in awe that I am in this moment, this breath, atoms of afterlife colliding with the now. How his family so graciously lets me into their lives, gives me space to stake my soul about the water.
He takes another puff of his pipe, expelling smoke to mingle with the ashes rising from the fire. I’ve waited a full year for this, to say goodbye to my unfamiliar, wavering life and head north of the tension line, to a palpable quiet, a forgotten existence. To rest in slowness, nowhere to go, no thoughts to think that raise my pulse.
So many stars splitting open wide the night. He teaches me to spot Polaris. The North Star. Guiding light. I count out the spaces and marvel at how ordinary it looks, same size as its brothers in the sky.
How is God no beginning? he asks. I nod my head languid, drowsy with the freshness of island, saturation of my soul. Without knowing, I am lifted to the place I crave, where my heart rests, refuels, simply is.
Read more of one of my favorites (so far) at ALTARWORK: Infinity Within