I was ready to fly home after teaching in Albuquerque, when the sudden light on the underside of a palm trip took me to another time.
Waiting to Be Picked Up
A burst of light makes me look across the way,
where a sliver of dawn slips under the leaf of a
palm tree. The lift of the palm feels Egyptian and
the trap door to our age opens to all time. Sudden
light can do this. Like now. And I realize in this
breath, before getting on another plane, it doesn't
matter how that door opens. We can run into walls
or bounce off each other. We can fall, thinking we
can fly. Or exhaust ourselves by asking life, "Why?"
Or turn in sudden pain. Or rise from our knees in
awe. Or trip when a stranger from the side looks like
someone we've lost. It doesn't matter how the trap
door to our heart opens. My driver is here. I can
feel him watching me stare off. I can't stop looking
at the light in the palm. I feel certain, if I go and
touch it, we'll all be in Egypt before the Pyramids
were built. I wheel my suitcase to the car, knowing
that once in the open, the light will find us. When
no one's looking and we're out of things to say,
the ancient light that lives beneath words will
fill the hole in our heart that we show no one.
A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or a loved one, describe what you feel when you suddenly have nothing left to say.
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For more by Mark Nepo, click here.