Everything's Waiting for You
By JS Nahani
There are moments when the River is as numinous as clouds, days that stretch on
past boundaries, beyond rainbows. In this spot I see the shadows and the gloss, feel the warmth of strangers, taste the freshness of squash.
Today I am told that vision is a dog’s third most crucial sense, and I feel grateful for my own. The couple with their six-month-old bald boy stands at the corner, holding hands, touching. As sun hits the baby’s bare head, their hands drop. In one fluid motion, one hand shields baby’s eyes; one hand grabs a soft hat, places it gently onto his head. I begin to feel a hunger, an ache that I don’t think Pietro’s Pizza will cure.
After a while I understand that everything passes: the yellow light, Mike’s Ice Cream customers, this urge, that mood … hybrid cars and Franz’s Good Bread truck, a man in a bandana and one in a winter hat on the same square of sidewalk. Everything passes—Baby Bjorns, life. It goes like that, from beginning to end, and the middle—the middle has the tasty juice.
I close my eyes, open my mouth, start to sing. It is a song about the woman who invites me to sleep on her lawn, rinse off in her shower, make tea from her kettle. It is a song about returning to the nectar of life and honoring the Earth, a lullaby about the depth of this River. It is a melody about the woman who has placed the same order at Sage’s since age eighteen. An instrumental break for the woman four feet away who reminisces about camping as a young child, when she screamed so loud and so long that her father would offer her bourbon before her mother intervened.
It is a slow hymn about knowing ourselves, trusting that which we learned to doubt. I sing the low notes and say hi to the ladybug that lands on my leg, nod at the woman who reminds me it is good luck, remember how—looking into her clear eyes—everything makes sense. I quiver at the shifting clouds, startle at the skateboarder’s approach, wince for the large girl who sits, alone, at the same table as two slim girls who only see each other.
On the mosaic bench, I become still, feel myself still becoming. All the new growth is about change. In this it resembles the old growth. Beginning to end. What develops comes from nothing—forms something. Like the dog who must now learn to enhance his other senses. Like the words that tumble to the page with longing to meet your eyes, to recognize you. Like the peach from B’s garden, once a seed, now so succulent I have to reach for a towel.
JS Nahani is an artist, coach and editor. She is excited to be part of Plein Air 2008 and grateful to call the Pacific Northwest home. Nahani’s performance piece When Truth Came Knocking debuted in Berkeley, California, in June 2007. She is currently collaborating on the photography/poetry book, Chasing Memory.