The alchemist stood there looking into the fire. He knew over the moments to come, something new would emerge from the mixture he’d so carefully shaped. In time, there would be something new where nothing stood before. It was the only thing that made him whole.
Have no fear, my dear friend.
Stand in the sunlight and in the rain.
Love the wind and the raging fires.
Be still and bear witness to all creation and taste its goodness.
For with each moment, another precious grain tumbles through the emptiness to find its place in your heart. And with it, you will become whole.
She looked up and saw him looking at her. She smiled at him. Her eyes locked on his for a moment and she smiled through her deep brown eyes and into his. His heart settled and his breath slowed. Her eyes held a sense of wonder. A simple curiosity that held no expectations. He stood in silence as he looked her. She smiled a slightly crooked smile and tilted her head a little almost beckoning him to speak. She blinked slowly and looked down to her baby who was now sound asleep. She continued singing but more quietly now. It was almost a whisper. He felt himself leaning in a little closer so he could hear her words as if to come closer to a warm fire on a bitterly cold night.
In another life, he’d been that baby looking up his mother’s warm and welcoming eyes. And in her eyes, there was the universe and all its wonderful possibilities. Everything was there in her eyes. No boundaries and no limits. Just pure joy and creation. He longed for that feeling once again. The love of making something pure. To return to the elemental. It was as intoxicating as any spirit and he begged for that spirit to return. If only for one more moment. And if it did, he would cherish it, hold it softly without the crushing weight of the dark forces that now occupied his soul. He’d need to live a thousand lives to find that moment again and he would if he could.
But he had this one life. And all he wanted to do was to cry out to force the cold dank air from his lungs into the depths of nothingness above him. To release everything inside him so he could live once again. He wanted to live again. He wanted to once again feel the fire inside him instead of the cool and unrelenting darkness that settled within him now. He wanted to scream to the heavens and to yearn for his spirit to break out. The fire would be his path to salvation. Not into heaven. But into himself. To love himself. To once again see himself through his mother’s eyes.
The night wrapped itself around him and he looked deep into the black sky. There were feint lights that resembled stars but he couldn’t be sure. He looked deeper still and looked for heaven and the sense of magical wonder it held. He breathed slowly as his gaze went deep into the blackness beyond him. Was it heaven or was it his mind looking back at him? He grew colder as he felt at once alone. He sat there in silence and he was filled with wonder.
“Comfort me”, he whispered to himself. He listened as he held his breath. He didn’t want the sounds of his breath to mask what he wanted to hear.
The town settled around him and streets wound around the houses in familiar turns. There were small shops scattered throughout the town. A baker. A cobbler. A shop filled with clothes and an old woman sewing as she pumped the pedal of the sewing machine. The needle slowly rose and fell. One more stitch added to each moment. One more stitch made with love. One more stitch that bound her soul to the cloth meant to cover a child playing in the sun.
And as these stitches fell upon the cloth, his own thoughts unraveled in him. He looked at his empty hands that were once full of marks of love. Now they were smooth, unworked and disconnected from his soul. For many years, his hands were the instruments of his imagination. He had feint memories of heart once pouring through his hands as they shaped the soft ore. The pain of those memories grew louder within his heart and head. At first he tried to stop the wave of emotions as he’d done so many times before, but, this time it was different. He couldn’t stop the growing noise of what once was. He closed his eyes and he tried to ignore what he was feeling.
That was when the pain began. First deep in his stomach and then up to his chest and into his heart as it began pound. It felt like it was going to jump out of his chest. He couldn’t stop it now. It was not the memory itself but the thought that he’d given into seduction. That he’d given up what was once pure and good for something else. He didn’t know why…or he didn’t want to know. Maybe he knew the truth but the truth was too much to face. How could he do it? How could he give up so easily? How could he give up without as much as a fight for his soul? That was the source of the pain…not what was lost but that he’d lost it. He’d allowed it to be sacrificed to lesser angels. No. Not angels. Something much worse. His heart saddened as his gaze dropped to the ground.
I just want to stretch my soul deep into the night. And let the universe hear my beating heart. To break the silence with whatever I have to give. To love. To give. To honor my seeking heart. To keep moving. And to become weak from breathing. To fall asleep into the deepening sky.
And when I need to get home…you are my guiding light….
His feet felt heavy as though the earth was pulling on them harder and harder. He wanted to walk but couldn’t. He held fast and stood there watching the child. The young mother carefully pushed away the baby’s red hair that had fallen on her face and slowly got up. She smiled at him tenderly and began walking away. He thought about following her so he could ask her name, her baby’s name. But he didn’t. Instead, he stood there in silence as image of the beautiful child’s face danced in his mind and heart.
The morning’s first brush strokes danced across the sky as the day stretched into a work of art. He breathed deeply and called it home.
She asked him, “why do you love her?”. He said, “she makes me laugh like no one else.”