Fire & Rain
In the MRI tube, “Fire and Rain” pulses through headphones amidst the insistent rhythmic imaging racket. The music takes me back to 1970 walking along Main Street in Falmouth, MA. I went into the little record store two doors down from what is now the Pickle Jar Cafe but was Loreen’s back then and purchased my first LP—‘Sweet Baby James’ by James Taylor. I hadn’t has sex yet. I hadn’t smoked dope yet. I wore a granny dress. I had long straight brown hair parted in the middle. I gazed into James Taylor’s soulful eyes, imagining him gazing back at me from the wide portrait platter of cardboard cover, and later, listening to the record, was touched and moved by “Fire and Rain.” I felt myself in my core. Even though I was young, naive, and innocent, yet to slog and soar through life’s offerings, I knew who I was.
Tonight I gaze at the arc of white Star Trek tube. I am in terrible pain from the testing position—my legs taped together in a way that strains my hip injured sockets. I want so much to cry, but I can’t move or I’ll muddy the test results. I need to tremble and weep, and will later, but just now I clench my abdomen to be still. Later the nurse will help me lift my legs onto the table for a different test and I will think of how much my back hurt every time I lifted Dad’s legs onto the hospital bed, but not caring if it hurt, wanting his comfort above my own. Foolish maybe, but also perfect. Waiting for pain to subside so I can stand and hobble out, I will miss him. I will think later on of how I’ve wanted to cry until my hip sockets empty out the pain of loving and losing.
Door to the Moment
I was the same person in 1970 as I am now. I don’t mean that I haven’t changed or learned, but in my core, at my essence, I’ve always known myself. How bizarre to realize this in the cool medical room late on Friday night in 2014. I don’t miss what is gone, or what I was, or how I looked, or what I could do, or what I did, or what I had. I am content to have been there and no longer be there. I am not my life. I am something inviolate and eternal at my core, a place that billows into constancy in the Moment.
When I first heard ‘Fire and Rain’, a door to the Moment opened and I entered myself. It wasn’t the song all by itself. It was that moment, in the granny dress, in the autumn. So what is life for? To recognize that what we live through comes and goes and isn’t the true Self; it is series of decisions or responses to external challenges through which we veer farther from and closer to ourselves.
By New Year’s Eve 1970 I would have lost my virginity and smoked my first joint. I would be fighting with my parents over which college I wanted while they stressed over the tuition costs. I would begin life out of the nest, but before all that, I had a moment with my true Self. Not the first and certainly not the last.
“As I Found the Source
When your soul was born,
it was like a still ocean that had yet to experience its infinite life.
God then came to the shores of our souls and gazed upon the
immaculate splendor that His divine heart created.
He then took off His clothes and dove into us.
Nothing on their own have
your arms ever done,
the movements of your feet
are caused by the waves She stirred.
Light baptizes life wherever it falls,
and every religion and all upon this earth is a shadow.
A shadow may move but it has no real power of its own,
though it can affect the weak and frighten them, and people can use
that darkness to exploit others.
As I found the source of all we do,
as I found the source of all our desires,
so humble God became She admitted:
“Yes, I caused all things.”
—St. Teresa of Avila (trans Daniel Landinsky)
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