A Web of Time

27 Aug

pastDuring these late summer days, it feels as if I am returning from somewhere. Suddenly, my eyes lift and I am in a vaguely familiar wood, walking in well traveled shoes. The road appears unturned, yet becomes crossed with webs of memory. The shape and turn of the lane so familiar, but the wood is so different. Like walking through a spider’s web, the strands of memory tickle and brush my skin so subtly, so invisibly the eye cannot see to wipe them free. Time is a vast web of connections, of stories. You walk a place and all the while, never thinking of who you might be upon your return.

For now I can see a small white chapel upon a mulched hill, round the bend among a shaded wood. I am in the part of this journey where I have to make peace with things. For to be sure, I have been ignoring something diaphanous, spread wide in the corner of my memory. And his near decade presence in my life will have to be acknowledged just as the excruciating ten minutes it took for him to leave. This weekend, I return for the first time to the Maryland Renaissance Faire and it will be more important than I had imagined. For I haven’t walked this road since his leaving. This place and its significance is so much a part of my core self that I can’t leave it behind, can’t stuff it in a memento box, can’t pretend I am that person anymore. Part of the person he left is still part of me, and to see her there without him must be seen.

Many years ago, when we met, our love of all things historical united us. Celtic, Medieval, Renaissance, even 19th century Japan . . .we walked our characters through the love of learning culture of the past. Perhaps we shuffled our exterior identities so much that we neglected to cultivate the ones underneath the armor and the frills. Our first visit to the Maryland Renaissance Faire over a decade ago, yielded an image: the two of us standing in a tiny white chapel, arms linked, as if we had just been married. Subconsciously, I may have known then that we would eventually fall in love. But intertwined with that knowing was also a tiny flame I could never NOT see…the distant light of his leaving. I think I knew that all along. Maybe that belief caused the demise in part, I’m not sure. But we cannot keep what we most desire, what we would gladly die for, for it will be the ruin of our souls.

We went to Maryland only three times, but countless other festivals and faires. Our garb and it’s details were the outward expression of this inner passion. The second visit, nearly a decade after the first, after marriage, after a home in the idyllic neighborhood, before changes that began to push us apart, was the happiest for me. But I saw in his eyes a yearning for something I could not give. And I let it destroy what was left of my self esteem and my light. The last time we went to Faire, I stumbled through the park in a haze. I felt so very tired, so very old. Dried up, used up. I felt like a wrinkled blossom next to a lush blooming bush. In separating myself from him that day and walking the park alone while he sought the fragrance of other blossoms just flowering the vine, I made up my mind to finally embrace whatever it was that I needed. Because I wasn’t getting what I needed and knew that the only person then who could give it  . .was me. I let go of him that day and began to hold on to me. I didn’t know it then, but we were already walking a divided path.

So in a few days, I will walk into the white chapel…alone. And I will try to reflect, send him love and light and then walk out again wrapped in the power I know is within me. Saturday night, I played  Ouija with friends. They sat across from each other, hands poised on the plancet; I sat to the side to watch. We had already switched places among the three of us, after questions of the past, of paths we three seem to be re-walking. They began a query down one line, a past life where my two friends and I knew one another in the 6th century. And before you wonder, it doesn’t really matter if its authentic or not. Sometimes insight you get from others is just as important as ideas perceived to be supernatural.

Were we related? my friend asks.

NO

She presses on. Were we warriors?

YES

Were we our current genders? I interject, seeing a possible story emerging in our close group.

YES

My thoughts fall to my friends who have been on a defined spiritual path much longer than I.

Were any of us priests or priestesses? I ask.

The plancet begins to move among the letters, their hands gently following along.

Y. . .O. . .U. . .

My friends’ faces turn to look at me. My mouth drops open in surprise.

It didn’t matter to me whether these answers were their projections or otherworldly, whether to the  rational world our requests were answered by self-confirming subconscious wish fulfillment. All I knew is that someone there, spirit or incarnate understood me to be a spiritual woman, one of power and self-possession. One who can approach and commune with the Divine. That gives me pause. For truly, I do not feel comfortable in owning that way of being until I can learn how to see it without ego, without emptiness or doubt. It means reclaiming the most neglected part of Self, but one that is deepest and most true.

This weekend, I will step back into the past, into a space that was witness to the most powerful love I have ever felt for another human. But I hope to emerge with a deeper love, one that holds it all, the then, the now, and the will be as this road of memory stretches beyond the space a mind can hold and into soul.

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