Following my surgery three weeks ago I've been resting. It's been difficult for me to think about writing or being productive. My body is knitting itself back together: new grafts on my cardiac arteries, the sawn split of my sternum weaving new bone, the long cut on my leg slowly becoming skin and scar. A few days ago while in the cafe in Glen Ellen I was reading when an image came over me. I opened my notebook and two pages flowed from pen, almost autonomously; if felt not so much as if I was writing but more like I was recording images from an imaginal realm. It took me a couple more days to realize that I had received an image of my own threshold experience.
My heart surgery has certainly been a threshold experience. For a while my heart stopped beating. Then it was started again. This was expected, a part of the surgery. I had decided in advance to make it a ceremony of death and rebirth. Not knowing what I am to be reborn into, what shape my life will take, has left me with a sense of inquiry, a great wondering. Who will I meet when I gaze into the mirror? How will I meet the world? Will I at long last begin to learn how to embody the man who I have always hoped I would be, that elusive being who has been hidden behind a lesser being, a man-in-becoming often swamped in the confusion of life?
These are open questions for me. And as questions they carry a charge, an energy that drives my work. They are the batteries of the soul. Deep questions are at the heart of the immersions we do in Wild Communion. I know that for many people the immersion experiences they've had have also served as thresholds, simultaneously into new knowings of Self and new not-knowings, a deepening of gnosis and of the questions that drive the continuing quest.
In the story below, two of the beings who have long inhabited my imagination point to new possibilities.
Coyote Sets Sail
After many years together, and many shared adventures, Coyote and River Otter set out on a journey that brought them at last to the shore of a dark sea.
Arriving at twilight, they saw anchored a ship built of planks of ebony with gossamer sails. Coyote and River Otter gazed at the ship. Presently a skiff lowered from its decks into the water and began to float toward where they stood on the shore. Gentle waves washed it onto the beach.
“For me, I think,” Coyote said.
River Otter stood silent, feeling the breeze in his fur, feeling the presence of his old friend. Feeling a moment outside of time, a Kairos that having arrived held them both in its embrace.
Thus they stood for some time. Then Coyote turned to River Otter.
“Here is my tea set,” he said, giving otter the worn canvas case that held, carefully wrapped within it, his tea pot, whisk, tray, and cups. “I cannot go where I am called if I carry the things I love,” Coyote said. It was not known to whom he spoke. River Otter and he held the same thoughts and after their many years of companionship the same knowings were in their hearts.
“And you, my friend,” Coyote said, “here is where for a while we part ways.”
River Otter said, “The ropes that bind us are infinite and will be be severed.” He paused, raised his paw about his head, and made an abrupt downward chopping motion. “I sever them,” River Otter declared.
Coyote bowed. River Otter bowed back.
Coyote stepped into the skiff. Immediately it started floating away from shore, slowly at first, then with a steady purpose.
River Otter watched in silence. Coyote, carried into the twilight, lit by the field of stars that just then brightened into the deepening night; Coyote on a darkling sea, borne away.
“See you soon, my friend,” said River Otter.
--Glen Ellen, 02.20.2020