The difference between being here and being a memory does not seem so different lately. I speak to you with my mouth but my mind wanders. You answer me from your island and I am still reacting to my own thoughts. I walk in cluttered silence. Sunglasses shield my eyes from this luminous place. Crowds of school children in red t-shirts squeeze past me, I slip in my sandals on the uneven sandy ground. Their laughter echoes through the canyon, and I am frustrated by feeling cut off. Sometimes we travel for long distances to discover ourselves, or to escape the parts of ourselves that seem less savory. I am a monument in this slowly morphing landscape. Its solidity is merely my hallucination. I run to you in fear of you. I stand in my body here as a reminder of my vulnerability, praying that the evaporation process releases more than earth and liquid from my embrace.
The indigo formed a black violet film – reflective like gasoline. The label warned me not to touch it, and if it got on my hands to wash them immediately. Until now I had not walked with a toxic substance, or considered the toxicity of my own thoughts. Upon arrival at Tent Rocks I kneeled beside the car and sprinkled the indigo dye onto the plate. As I took my first steps, I noticed that the liquid behaved more like mud. It stained my fingers immediately, and dripped intrusively onto the white desert ground. I wiped the plate clean, dusted it with earth and poured in the water from my canister.
Sometimes meditation feels like a practice of frustration. Some times grief has nowhere to stand. Not all experiences can or should absorb the processing of loss. Looking at these images of me through my mother’s lens, I appear serene. But I also see two of me.