Trippin' with Shel
This is a journey from back in August. Shel is one of my writing peeps.
It takes some time. More than usual. I am out of practice, out of breath, too much about breath.
Shel meets me. We are climbing up a granite face using ancient hand and foot holds carved into the vertical face. I lean into the mountain. Cool stone beneath my cheek. Breathing. Shel urges me on. I am not afraid. As we approach the summit, a curving set of narrow stairs winds around the peak. At the summit, we stand hand-in-hand.
“So. What’s up?” I ask.
Shel says nothing.
“What am I supposed to see?”
“Why did you drag me up here?”
“Is it not enough that it’s beautiful?”
He’s right. It is beautiful. Rolling emerald hills unfurl below us alternately lit and shadowed as the sun ducks behind scudding clouds. Still I am restless, fidgety.
Shel sighs. “We are here to call back the pieces you have lost.”
Now it’s my turn to sigh. Finally, I think.
“Where do you think they might be?” he asks.
“At work,” I answer.
He nods, reaches out as a barn owl swoops in and lands on his hand. He turns and presses the owl into my chest. There is discomfort as though wings flapped about in the cage of my ribs, but this feeling settles as things shift inside me to make room.
He gestures again and a pelican glides in to his hand and then into my chest. I name other people, other events other places where I have lost myself, let my energy go. One by one the pieces wing back to me in bird form. At some point Shel stops receiving them. Instead they fly directly into my chest, into my heart. Each one lands and rocks me back on my heels, threatens to tumble me off the mountain.
I am not frightened. Shel is always there to catch me if I fall.
After the last arrives, I turn toward Shel and ask, “Where are they? I know there are more.”
“That is enough for today,” he states.
We stand hand-in-hand once more. He’s right. It is beautiful. And it is enough.