Writings

directions

compass.jpg

"directions"

  1. i have learned that asking for directions only really works if you are willing and interested in entering into another’s world. because they are not just streets and lines drawn on paper napkins and landmarks. they are stories. so what you learn in the open plains when pulling over to inquire how far to go until you reach the next town, is different than what you will later know when you asked the way to the cemetery tangled in moss and heat from the woman sitting on the curb drinking coffee. and the difference has nothing to do with destination. directions are stories. listening to them will take you places you can’t get to alone.
     
  2. what do you call that place (that is really that experience) where you are both returning and beginning at the same time? when it is like the green smell of the ground and concrete after the thunderstorms shake and leave, the blank wall waiting to be written upon, but it also feels like finding your way back to something, a lost thing returned, rightful owner finally found. like discovering your own origins given back to you, the forever hungry child finally fed. what is the word for that?
     
  3. tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar.
     
  4. i could fill pages of stories of getting lost beyond all recognition, miles away from where i meant to be, and getting lost in the same four block radius and how my mother too would get lost and we would, all five of us, wander around in the heat after going to the pool, wondering how to find the bus stop that had always been right there on the corner. stories of running out of gas and showing up hours late. stories of crying in bathrooms and cursing anything next to me. because i have no natural sense of direction when it comes to navigating streets. i get lost all the time. i don’t want to go many places without my gps, and having one seriously changed my experience of being the world. so how then do i explain the difference, between that and what is internal? whatever it might be called (intuition, instinct, gut, sixth sense, sensitivity to the moment light gives way to dark) it is the truest thing i know, knife blade sharp and meant to be trusted.
     
  5. how far away is home?
     
  6. north. mictlampa. region of transformation. the dark eternal stillness. ehektatl the wind.
     
  7. south. huitzlampa. roots. region of willpower. atl the water.
     
  8. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
    - Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
     
  9. it was a book covered in paper that was a map, that she handed to me. and i wanted then to have another language, because anything i ever said would never be quite “it”, the thing that everything in me wanted to say.
     
  10. my son is telling me about the compass, north and south poles, how he has learned it is about magnets, how it’s positive and negatives. “really, if you think about it, everything is magnets,” he tells me. and i wonder of the ways some things and people find each other and the pull is so great you’d swear it was like some things just fit or belong, drawn and pulled until they point the right direction. so yes, maybe it is, the world is held together by imagination and magnetic fields. “really,” he is saying, “it’s about the iron core. this is how gravity works. it’s how all of us stay here.” and all day i thought about it, the gravity of being called toward a thing, enough to make you stay this time instead of leave. “what do magnets and gravity both have in common,” he asks me, as if quizzing me for the test he might have to take, or asking me the meaning of why any of this exists.  “i don’t know,” i say. “there are theories,” he tells me. “but the one that makes sense to me is that they are both forces,” he says. and i think to myself, so are you.
     
  11. if you become lost enough, you are no longer lost. you are just where your feet happen to be standing. is there anything more terrifyingly hopeful?
     
  12. nut was the sky goddess in egyptian mythology, the oldest recorded diety, appearing in the origin creation myths. believed to be the gate or protector that separated the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world, she is pictured as a woman arched over the earth on her feet and her fingers, touching the four directions, and her body is a star filled sky. she is “coverer of the sky”, “she who protects”, “mistress of all”, “she who holds a thousand souls.” i think of her sometimes when lost or found, when standing at the crossroads, when navigating and wondering which way to go. it is those moments when i stop, when i remember. that there is no one who is going to come tell me what to do. because it is my life. but how beautiful to imagine, that whatever i choose i am here walking and wandering and loving beneath this covering of some kind of protection, found again under the belly of a woman filled with stars.
     
  13. we all have to find our way through and out, i said, when i showed up in her dream that night. which is to say, the key is not just entrance. it is unlocking. it is navigation.
     
  14. east. tlahuizlampa. Illumination. region of light. tletl the fire. to create and shape life’s existence.
     
  15. west. cihuatlampa. region of female energy. tlalli the earth. solidity and the mystery.
     
  16. no one can tell you where you really want to go, or what here really means. so maybe it’s ok, to make your own maps, and to fill them in as you go along, the kind that only make sense when reading backwards.
     
  17. it's called falling. except most of the time, when we say this, what we really mean is a kind of euphoric flight. a state of flutter and furious lightness of being. how we feel higher up, rising, even in moments limitless. and i'm not saying it's not these things. because yes, it is.
    but right now, it is also the other meaning of the word. falling, the direction of down, of solid ground, rooting into something real. a life force and door walked through, that is as strong as it is electric.
    so maybe it is this. . . i am falling, in every direction. and it is the center, my center, which remains, anchor and arrow both.