Rounding a corner in the garden… the shock of seeing you. Fully dressed with flowers. The air electrified with quiet hum, an aura of deep, delicate, intimacy. I have walked in on you, walked in on a bridal moment. Shining bumblebees hover close to kiss the flowers, reverse back out into spring sky, flower upon flower no branch decipherable, only the paradisal weight of blossoms uncountable, and the halo of ecstasy I have stumbled into. I am taken in; transfixed. Flowers of benediction break out in answer in my heart.
I hear my voice, left on a field as a child.
This voice like a desert rose, porcelain, fluted, shell pink.
I turn it over and over in my hands. The wind moves across it, playing it like an instrument. I put it to my ear, all of my body remembers.
My voice was held within for safe-keeping, in the centrefold of the rose, till the time was right. Till the war was over, and there was peace on the land. Till the dove flew overhead with an olive leaf in her beak, and the sky was eggshell blue.
I hear my voice, I hear it with the ear of my heart.
We are the stars that sing above the valley at night, above the winding dirt road.
The sky spellbound with diamonds, the mountains folded into each other.
We are the birds that fly, wing to wing, hunting the wind, surrendering into slowness, melting along rivers of the night.
My heart is a tuning fork, sung open, spiralling on thermals of joy.
I will always remember this night. The valley asleep, the houses far and bejewelled.
The grace of your wingspan, the tenderness of my heart flung open, and the night streaming through unbound.
Today we went up the mountain looking for Serruria hirsuta, an endangered fynbos flower that grows in only one place in the world, on the slopes of the Swartkopsberg. Winds from the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet here, tiny boats moor far below in the harbour. And then we saw the first flower… although we might easily have walked past. Delicate, in full ecstatic dance on the wind:
“I have been here from the beginning. Next to rock grey with the ages, crusted with lichen. Next to the sea, blue as Mary’s veil. The wind blows Pentecostal, searing the slopes with exultation. And I, crowned with fur and lace, tethered between sea and sky, complete unto myself. The glory of this mountain is my Queendom.“
I have waited for this garden for so long, looking for it in small towns, near monasteries, beside fields and streams. But it is enclosed in my heart. This is my home, my mother’s home from the beginning of time, where I am complete. A deep breath passes through.
There are old-growth trees here, clear springs, a treasury of plants, the wild rose. Prayers write themselves, a doctrine of signatures in every leaf, petal, stone. And the garden says, this is your home.
Tonight you make a sound I have never heard before, ethereal, thrilling, drawing me from the cave of my mind into clear air: Come fly with us, come!
In this late evening between worlds you skim water on the wing, swooping, soaring. Oh how I remember joy through you… how I remember! Your overflow calls forth mine and I must give back in words what you give in song, pouring back and forth, one to the other, joy upon joy, song upon song, flight upon flight.
You lift me from convoluted concerns into hosannah, and I am spellbound with lightness, filled with simplicity, a fountain of yes.
Your notes flow clean through me, sounding my heart, drawing this slow human into the communion of prayer, the eucharist of this moment. My cup is brimming.. you sip from it in a flash. Joy begets joy begets joy. Bless you for your visitation, your invitation, your illumination of prayer.
There is a lineage of ecstatic love writing, such as found in the Song of Songs and the poems of Rumi and Mirabai.
Here are two simple love letters written in the moment:
To a stranger after a conversation one night
In the deepening dark your lamp-lit face, energised, potentised, and the alchemy of my silver dreaming and your bright gold rockets a hallelujah into the twilight that is our wonder and joy.
Madonna of the Void! You desert bloom in a halo of lightning flashes, you orchid with stripes, you supernova of stars! Where did you come from, where did you go, in your red velvet gown on this summer’s night?