There is a place that I always knew existed, hidden behind a secret door in my soul. It seemed that I had searched for eternity. I peered into the darkness, hands out in front of me, searching for a crack in the wall, a keyhole, a sliver of light. Some sign of a way in.
I am unable to recall when I first learned of Namibia. Images must have paraded before my eyes – a National Geographic documentary, surely. What I do recollect: the absolute stillness of recognition. A paused heartbeat. Breath caught. Then, a nod.
It takes a vast soul to see the beauty in desolation. The enchantment of wastelands. Infinity in the emptiness.
August 2015. So there I was. The doorway was a mirror. My presence was the key. I stepped through. When I turned around, the door was not only gone. It had never been there at all.
The only shadow was my own. Growing, shrinking. Flickering. Candlelight from the abyss. Relentless illumination is much more unsettling than darkness.
Namibia now roams my psyche. A spectral, holy presence.
In my dreams that are not dreams.
March 17, 2017
Still wrapped in this morning’s dream flight. I was here again, in this otherworld called the Namib Desert. Solitary. The valleys were filled with indigo waters upon which boats drifted. I dove deep, dodging nets and other entanglements. Cautious but excited. So much more, here, than I saw before. I resurfaced. Dunes glowed deep red, like embers, under starshine. A mystery song in my mind. An orb swelled in my chest and I began to weep with gratitude that such a place exists and that I’m here again.
There is a map within each of us. Roads and destinations that call us to them. Is it one’s own artistry or that of a Divine Cartographer or a fusion of both? Follow the signs. Treasure beyond the imagination awaits.
The souls met along the way, at the intersections of personal destinies. Affinity captured in a glance, a phrase. A fleeting connection can be more profound than lifelong acqaintance. The role we play in each others’ story is often not immediately apparent.
She is, for me, the human face of Namibia. Madonna of the Dust.
Bare feet on cold morning sand. Grainy, dust-muted light. A serpentine shadow. The path itself is a wanderer. Ascend.
At the summit, I lift my head. What I feel transcends awe.
That for which there is no language, I understand. A song of sifting sands. A sigh, a whisper, a gasp, a hiss. The “I” inside me dissolves. The hourglass runs out. I no longer participate in the finite. I reach out and turn it over. It is that easy.
A flash from the deep past: a holy man traces a cross on my brow with his ash-covered thumb. My young face stares back at me in the mirror. The black smudge has already faded to a faint shadow. A shiver seizes my thin body. Look. I’m alive. The terror is profound, but I don’t avert my eyes. Deep within the mirror, a flash of white. A horizon without end.
“For you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:19