Tuesday, April 15, 2008
With a borrowed pair of feet on a borrowed piece of time, I walked on earth, the dirt, not owned by any man. I ate food I did not cook and I rented an unfamiliar language. I paid with money I couldn't count. I was not president of anything. I breathed the oxygen in the air, a gift of happenstance. My heart beat with a scientific precision I did not understand. I tripped on cobblestones, and past-tense verbs, I tripped on my own loneliness and vocal chords. The keys to doors were awkward in my hands. I did not stitch up wounds, I hardly knew to pray. I did not build houses or churches. I did nothing but walk from here to there with my eyes open. I saw a sunrise from the top of Tajumulco. A vision only angels can explain. I saw brightly dressed women whose beauty outshone the rainbow of vegetables they sold on the street: tomatoes, carrots, frijoles, potatoes and corn. I saw waterfalls pounding out the glories in a voice so loud and wide, breath became inaudible and butterflies fluttered by. I flew with no wings of my own from city to city. I heard the shine of a virgin's golden rose in Lima's cathedral. I saw tombs of the men who wrote history. In unmetered taxis or ancient school buses on the back roads, at the moonrise over Lago Atitlan, or a cafe con leche sunset, I kept my eyes open. And he wooed me with the wind. He danced with me in the discotecas, he found my bag at the baggage claim. He pointed me to the hostel with the empty bed. He stayed awake so I could sleep. He listened to my heartbeat when I was not sure if I was alive. He pushed me out the doors and when I was afraid to go. He was my walking stick. He caught all things that fell, and if they broke he helped me understand. He was my cure for the altitude. He read my heart before I could speak. When I returned home, he reminded me to walk slowly. He reminded me that his kindness does not change with language or borders. That all dreams could fit well into his hands and would not get lost, even as he remained watching the sunrises from the tops of volcanoes I had long left behind, even as he was counting in languages I would never know, even as he was mending the broken hands and hearts of street children and coal miners I might never meet. I still hear the wooing in the wind outside my window, on the 37 bus, through the chain link fences of Los Angeles and its gives me the faith to pray.