Turning upside down in order to center. Doesn’t sound plausible, but bear with me.
When we take our normal picnic to our ritual ocean-bluff spot, we look at the biggest rock out west and see the slim black silhouettes of seven or eight or nine black cormorants perched on the top. We call them “The Supreme Court.” Today the rock was completely vacant, and I couldn’t help empathizing with them
However, my objective in this weekly (or bi-weekly) visit to Mama is to accept her majestic and loving presence and let the shit wash off—pardon my language, but it’s the way to express what is sometimes needed. Like today. No need to let cormorant empathy complicate the process.
After the sushi was eaten, after the hot sake was drunk, after the dessert of dark chocolate and crystallized ginger and pomegranate seeds had pleased us, it was time to sit in silence, in the sun, in the warm insistent breeze, and just be on that bluff, hearing the whump of the surf.
When Conrad felt like going back to the car, he asked, as he always does, whether I’d like to stay a while longer by myself. Yes.
I turned my camp chair 180 degrees to get sun on my other side, slumped down until my neck had somewhere to rest, closed my eyes, and began to let all thoughts drain away. That left more room for simple sensations. The sun was warm on the top of my head, the breeze was a soft cats-paw patting my left cheek, the sound of the waves was a heartbeat in my right ear, and the chair and earth under me were a comfy lap. Sweet.
Then an awareness that wasn’t exactly thought crept in. Earth, Air, Fire, Water. I sank into an image of the compass, but came out backwards. If sun-fire was my south, then yes, chair-earth was my north, but then air, the breeze, should be on my right and the water should be on my left. It wasn’t that way. I wasn’t exactly awake, but it still didn’t make sense.
My sleepy mind explored the conundrum. If Air was on my left and Water was on my right, which they clearly were, then Fire should be at my feet and Earth at my head, which wasn’t the case. If I put Fire and Earth in the right place with respect to my body, Air and Water were in the wrong place.
The stunning solution was that I wasn’t on my back, at the bottom of the sphere. I should be face-down, but since the whole front of my body was open to the elements, there could be only one answer. I was indeed face-down, but on the top of the celestial sphere, facing in. Toward the center.