Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It took me a while to land here after returning to Brooklyn. It has nothing to do with Brooklyn, it has to do with all my memories of dunes, marsh, sand, and tide pools being stirred up by our recent trip to the Delaware shore. I remembered being very small, along as my family dropped someone off at Ocean City, MD. For some insane reason, we weren't staying there, I guess we had somewhere else to get to but I don't remember where. Briefly I got to look in a gift store at the end of a pier. I remember becoming enchanted with an aquatic diorama modeled with sandy lyricism within a large scallop shell, feeling not only did I have to have that but I had to live in it. There must be a way to shrink oneself. I've never seen a souvenir I liked so much. Sadly, I didn't get it, that's life, it was too fragile for a child.

Traveling seemed to scatter my soul among numerous vignettes and forgotten memories of sea side vacations (and souvenirs). I think my father was especially happy at the beach, and me, never happier than toddling into a tide pool and melding with its topography, its shallows and tiny currents, in some way. It is the apotheosis of puddle allure. It feels as if there is a part of me that will always be there waiting at some welcoming shallow pool for my return.

Such fragmentation is a danger of tourism. I recently met a woman who seemed remote and distracted at a workshop with medicine man Vernon Foster. She volunteered to be a subject when he demonstrated a healing ceremony. The ritual went on for a while Vernon worked with astonishing generosity and tenderness, dancing with passion and compassion around her, sometimes cleaning the air around her with feathers or using them to unbind currents of energy. At the end of it the woman's face was full of color and her eyes sparkled. "I didn't realize I was gone", she said, full of shock and relief to have herself back. "I left my soul in the Amazon, I didn't want to leave there. My friends have been asking me, what's happened to you, you're not yourself...."

My little one whimpers to go back to Arizona sometimes- she was pretty keen on the red rocks. I doubt will get back there for a while. Wrongly, I took one or two river-smoothed hunks of sandstone. Perhaps to coax a soul home along with the luggage. Wholeness is constant work.

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