The fourth life of Pausha

December 28, 2011

It was a joke at first, you see. Or I thought it was. My yearning for magic could be nothing else after all. Chasing elven tracks in forests, looking under bushes, searching among the flower petals for fluttering fairies – I knew they were there, even as I knew they weren’t. They couldn’t be, everyone knows there is no such thing as magic. I knew that. But I didn’t want to know it. I didn’t want the gray, cold, lonely world where every step brought danger, where one false move meant disaster. I wanted elven pointed ears and fairy’s light step. And so when you said that there is a wizard living nearby, one that will turn me into an elf, I knew it was a joke. But I took the number anyway. And I made the phone call. I drove to see the wizard few days later. It was cold and misty up in the mountains, fog swirled in the canyon where the wizard lived shrouding the rushing river, the ancient oaks, the lofty pines. It was as it should be, I thought, climbing up a narrow path, up the mountain slope to a little cabin. It was just right for the master to live up on top of the mountain and for the disciples to climb up and claim the teachings. Claim the magic for themselves. The wizard had a white mane of hair and sharp, alert eyes peering from under bushy eyebrows. He looked at me and said something. Not much, one word, maybe two. I did not understand, but my body did. It woke up, suddenly it sprung to life, leaving me with nothing to do but to be and to feel. The wizard did not talk, he didn’t lecture, didn’t teach, didn’t explain. My mind, trained to thinking, considering, arguing, theorizing, was as useless as any old tool, discarded and forgotten. the mind that carried me through my life, that kept me safe, that was the mark of my worth, of my value, of my position and importance, had no place here. There was no room for my mind once my body woke up. The wizard spoke a word and energy exploded behind my eyes. Warm, bright, soothing, blinding. He spoke another word, and another explosion – in my breast, at the base of my spine. Another word, and the glowing suns in my body connected in a rush of heat and force, and my body arched in response. For a lifetime I sat in the armchair in the little cabin, up on the side of the mountain slope, facing the wizard. For a lifetime white, hot threads swept from the crown of my head to the tips of my fingers. “That is enough” the wizard said, years later, and I opened my eyes. They looked the same then, my eyes, round and green, but they saw differently. It was a different world, outside of the cabin. It was a different fog, pearly white and sparkling with raindrops. It was a different river, singing the songs with myriads of voices. And the trees were different, old, wise, rooted deeply in the earth, in the time, in life. It was a living world, and I saw a footprint of an elven foot at the base of a tree, and the flowers rustled as little fairies swooped in their mad, morning dance.

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