There was once a BBC report, maybe before the second world war. This is the BBC on the hour, there is no news on the hour. Day 31, there are no new stories at this time. That’s not true, its just that I’m going to a place underneath stories. I see friends across the world, around the fire. Friends in Canberra, California, Charleston, Bath.
In stillness I know the exact moment of when a friendship would change me. Friendship is a dialogue in silence.
As I write this the herd of elephants have arrived to drink at the river. They are standing in the shining reflection of the sun. They suck up water in their trunks, they fling coarse river sand over their backs. To me there is a geometry as to how they stand. The water that touched them is already gone on its journey east into the Kruger National Park.
A river is how life befriends itself. Yesterday I walked down the banks of the river at midday. Africa’s witching hour. I walked through a stillness that was sensual in its depth. In a Rockpool of rain water I took my clothes off and slipped into another place. Floating in the silence on the surface. I was wrapped in stillness. Nothing was happening, but finally everything was happening. Not a place in the sky, not a Landrover, not a voice, yet there was a dialogue with the silence. I am friend it said.
In ceremony I see men and women weep for something they didnt even know they had lost. And when the weeping stopped, something deep down says I am friend.
Our presence here is ruining the great mountainsides and we are falling out with the rivers. I a ma person complicit without choosing in the way of the world. You are of the same silence, made in the same love. Its breaking my heart when it will be too hot to go outside. All death is the beginngon of something new, love what is dying because I am friend it said.
I see you there on all sides of life. A friend in infinity can withstand an industrial blink of ignorance.
This is why we are here, I have become certain of it. We are here to befriend ourselves as the people of nature. Wake up where you are. Nothing else is the worth the time. When the mind finally embraces itself in that deepening compassion, you will see that awakening was all that we are doing anyway and not even that was happening in the stillness.
Each day I have sit in stillness with the absolute certainty I will die. The ones I love will leave me or I will leave them. I will not hide from that last veil to love. You can hurt me love or teach me the truth. Trust this life that made this river. Trust that I will find this river. Take me to those shores of grace I ask, I have so far to go and I am afraid of storms and loss. Take me to the peace that passeth. I don’t know the way but I sense it there from beyond the edges.
I cannot report entertainingly from this place, I can only pray in a way that I never before understood. It is a prayer that does not come from me. There is no news except that I am on that current brushing against the legs of elephants and reed beds. I wonder if I will lose you here. I hope I don’t even though someone else’s devotion can leave us cold. Still with all that’s holding us, if I did I trust that would be right too. I am friend it said.
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