Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly”. Frida Kahlo

The most beautiful paths meander through the darkest shadows, where we grow feathers when our legs buckle, bend and collapse.

It was a ringing blue Swartberg Mountain day, clear as a bell. I felt that I was known to these mountains now and that all my human frailties and poisoned half-born words disappeared when I heard the guttural squawk of my friend, the raven. It was as if all my cogitations dissolved into a sensory curiosity that felt like an ache in my thickening shoulders, like burly boulders aligning with the irregular contours of the mountain. I felt the weight of feathers growing on my birdlike body momentarily. My hammering heart felt light and strangely filled with Emily Dickenson’s hope that soared freely in winged verses – and then I remembered all the feathers that I have collected and planted in the sand or soil, always with the secret wish that it will grow into a bird, maybe a Birdwoman, that can fly, even if a virus has ruined her legs. And just at the right moment, I saw two kudus on the ridge of the mountain, ruffling their backs, looking at me. My body dissolved and slipped into the breath of the uttermost reality of an awareness of the ordinary, the ‘that’ or ‘thusness’ – a liminal space of alignment with wakefulness. This clarity shines, impossibly so.

Am I raven – an ordinary but inexhaustible mystery of uttermost reality in the moment? Could I be a signature or particle of the infinite light present in many kinds of beautiful lives? Am I awake in a collage where the boundaries blur in an abstract artwork? Is it possible that I have slipped into a cosmic chrysalis where there is an opportunity to dream this moment into reality?

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