26 November 2009

Impa and the desert (2)

In which Impa thinks herself Sleeping Beauty and keeps the scorpions at bay

Sleeping underneath the stars rather appealed to me. I'd had a few incoherent thoughts on scorpions beforehand, but had dismissed them. We were to have faith in the cosmos. It would know just what to do with scorpions. And so I went looking for a place to sleep. How do you go about that in the desert? Let's see. Several thousand kilometres of space that way and several thousand the other way. That wasn't really a criterium, then. Were there other people near I didn't want to be sleeping next to? Because in the wide expanse of the desert you wouldn't want to end up next to a snorer. Typically. I saw the last rays of a torch reflect off the rocks in the distance, and then dissapear. There was no one near.

I looked up and looked down again immediately.

One billion countless four hunderd trillion stars were making my head spin slightly. I decided to lie down first, so I wouldn't be found in the sand next to my sleeping bag the next morning, suffering from hypothermia and grunting with happiness.

I chose a spot in a bowl worn away high up in the chalk rocks. The Bedouin camp stood on the sand plains at the foot of the hill. The fire had almost gone out, the camels were dark shapes quietly ruminating in the distance.

I spread my bed, fished my bright pink socks from my bag (there's no reason why we shouldn't make life in the desert as wonderful as possible) and got into my sleeping bag. It had a hood that left only my face bare, especially designed so you didn't have to miss a single breeze when sleeping underneath the stars in the dark. And just as I was ready to surrender to the starry sky I pictured those smooth, black venomous stings again. I felt cracks between my face and the hood of the sleeping bag that were positively gaping - from the perspective of scorpions, that is. (I'm very good at putting myself in their shoes.) Cracks scorpions would come dawdling through at leisure, looking for warm, dark holes and bright pink sleeping socks. (You can't fool a scorpion.)

I decided to take strict measures. If the cosmos had my best interest at heart, they would certainly understand if I handled the limitations of nature and science somewhat casually. I decided to install a forcefield. If they did it in Sci Fi films, I could do it too. I imagined lying there on my hill with a gigantic, glass dome over me. If a scorpion came pattering along unsuspectingly, it would hit the glass dome head on. All scorpions would then clear off happily to look for pink sleeping socks in warm sleeping bags elsewhere. In exchange, I promised the cosmos I wouldn't kill any animals in a panic. It would make me extra peaceful, loved by man and animal alike. Knowing the cosmos, they would rather take to my proposal.

It was done accordingly. I slept a deep sleep, completely scorpionfree, and emerged from my sleeping bag the next morning with two pink socks and a deep sense of happiness.

During the meditation at sunrise, a bird came to sit on my knee.
(image not by Impa but by Disney, obviously)

25 November 2009

Impa and the desert (1)

In which Impa says goodbye to the dust but keeps the desert with her

I lower my body into the tub. My skin wears the desert dust; there's sand in my hair. As the water encloses me, I hesitate. My hair is stiff as string, twined by the desert wind for a week. 'A threefold cord is not quickly broken.' I'm reluctant to wash out the dust and the sand, to let go of the last tangible bit of desert. As I sink into the water deeper and deeper, I feel my hair starting to float and wave through the water. I feel my ears fill up and close my eyes. 

As soon as my face is submerged and I return the desert dust to the elements, I feel I'm in a different place. The water encloses me the way the sun did. The whirl caresses me the way the wind did. The water carries the softness of the dust, the same mild caress as the endless light and space of the desert.

Taking a bath is different with the new senses the Sahara desert gave me. With my heart still so wide open and surrender still so close at hand. And then I realise that I can simply let the desert go, there, in that warm water, because it is all around me. Because my senses can drink in silence, space, movement, stream and light anywhere. 

'Everything is just right the way it is. The people you will meet, will be the right ones, at the right time. The things that will happen, will be the right things, at the right moment. Things come and go as they do, and what's past, is past.'

The next morning my love and I walk along the river in Nijmegen. I feel the wind on my face and hear the sounds of the city waking up. The traffic, the ships. And underneath the noises I can hear, very clearly and very friendly; the silence. 

24 November 2009

Impa and the little man on the stairs

Halfway up the stairs lives a little man. He sits there and giggles. I'm not sure if he's really sitting: he might be floating or being present or being spread out across the walls and the ceiling. I'm not exactely sure how that works with little men like him. But he lives on the stairs and he hurts you. And then giggles about it. With shiny little eyes.

When you walk up the stairs, he gives you a little push to make you bump your head into the low ceiling. When you walk down the stairs, he makes you slip on your socks so you bounce down a couple of steps on your heels. And when you are really careful walking up and down the stairs because you won't be had, he makes sure you scratch your own face while talking or stab yourself in the eye with something you're carrying. 

He does those things because he thinks you take yourself too seriously. Because you work so hard and try to make life as pleasant as possible for yourself and others. Because you worry about the environment, great suffering and the energy system of all things in general. He also considers those things very important but he also knows you have to take a step back once in a while. Or maybe he thinks there's another perspective inside of you that needs to be shaken loose. That's when he hurts you and then laughs about it. 

And when you look around, outraged, you see him sitting on the stairs, chuckling. With gleaming little eyes. It distracts you from the greater scheme of things for a while and brings you firmly back into your body. And then you can continue. Upstairs, where the moon shines through the window, or downstairs, where the dishwasher purrs. 

You rub the sore spot, shake your head, feel the pain and laugh at yourself. As you walk on, you also laugh at the little man on the stairs. 

And then you kick his behind. 

3 November 2009

Impa says tweet

Were you tired of Impa's garden yet? You weren't? Would you mind if I shared this bluetit with you, then? I have many more of those, and with great tits and red breasts too. It's a coming and going like nothing else.

My sweetheart took the photograph. He's the undisputed master of tits, photography-wise.