The day begins to light and birds are singing. It’s as though their notes draw the light. Which comes first, light or song, and what vibrates in me now?
It’s been thirty-one days since my brother passed. The curtain he opened, the veil, feels fragile today, as I continue to navigate two worlds, my own and what he now explores.
There is expansion in my chest, and my arms stretch a little wider as though encompassing more than I know.
In the book “In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey through the Bardos of Living and Dying”, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche shares how, with death, the elements let go, earth, water, fire, air, space, and I recall my visit to the Everest Memorial in 1993. I felt elemental as though I understood. I write about it in “Airing Out the Fairy Tale”.
Reverence waved within us like the prayer flags overhead as we entered the Everest Memorial. It’s a circle, a sacred site where those who have died on Everest are honored and remembered with cairns, simple piles of stones. I hadn’t expected the Taj Mahal, of course, yet I was shocked at the efforts to honor human life in an area so bare, with nothing to spare.
Celeste, Sante, and I separated, each drawn to explore different sections within the circle, each needing to find our own way to honor and grieve. The wind blew icy cold. Something new entered my bones. Not fear, or even grief. I stepped out—or was brought out—of humanness, into something more elemental.
The book “The Songlines” by Bruce Chatwin came to me as I stood there. Set in the Australian outback, it’s an exploration of the invisible pathways by which the Aboriginal ancestors sang their world into existence. I felt that in Nepal, as though those who’d died were winging their way through stars, as though the expansiveness of death was impersonal. It was as if the vastness between and within atoms was tangible. I could believe we sing the universe into being as we tune into the vibrations between the cells. We are tuning forks.
I’m with that now, awareness of the elements and how they come together, in this moment, in me. I’m awake, my song within, my heart a cauldron brewing what comes as I open to this day, this birth, each day, a birth and celebration of what’s new and wakes. I walk out into my yard, greeted by leaves, trunks, stones, and the twittering notes of birds.