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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Singing In The Night And Crying On The Elevator

Here are two tales from me to you. Do you believe that they are true?

Singing In The Night (Norway):

You know the sort of feeling when you wake up feeling as though "something" woke you? That the waking was too unnatural to simply be your own body telling you you've had enough sleep?
Eyes fly open, heart beats quickly...startled into a stillness that is as alert as some ancient instinct that we've mostly long forgotten.
I don't move a muscle. I quiet my breathing.
There is a woman's voice floating down the hallway. High and unusual. Singing steadily in a language I don't understand.
My body tenses and then relaxes and I tell myself "it's only your imagination...a fragment from a dream you just had..."
But a chill settles over my body despite the warmth in the room and I actually feel each individual hair on my arms standing on end and there is no pause in the singing from down the hall.

Crying on the Elevator (Sri Lanka):

There were two elevators in the elegant hotel. I could see by the bright red numbers changing rapidly on the panel on the wall that both were on their way to the floor I waiting on. One reached the main floor and I waited for the doors to open. They didn't. I heard pounding from inside so I leaned into the door and asked "Are you alright?" as I pressed the open door button on the outside. Nothing. The pounding continued along with frantic crying now. It sounded like a child and there was no comforting adult voice speaking reassurances so I assumed the child was alone. "It's ok, just hang on a second...the doors will open." The crying continued, broken and afraid. A man walked up to where I was waiting and I asked him "Do you hear that too?" He listened and said "Yes, that's very strange." While he waited with the elevator I ran to the front desk and explained "The elevator must be stuck, it's been on this floor for several minutes now but the doors won't open and there is someone screaming and crying inside it." The man behind the desk stared at me in disbelief but came with me to the where the other man was waiting still. "It's this elevator" I said pointing "Do you hear the crying?" The hotel worker pressed the button to open the door (as I had done several times to no avail), and for him the doors opened immediately. There was no one inside. The worker turned to me and smiled condescendingly as though I was just another demanding, hysterical customer to indulge. I shrugged awkwardly "I just thought I heard someone..." I said as he walked away. I turned to the man who had been waiting with me..."You did hear something right?" "Yes" he replied "that was definitely weird."

And it definitely was.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Grace in the Going

Mandal, Norway

Do you know something? A secret? Something yours alone?
That you can hold loosely in your open palm? Or tightly in your fist?
A memory you can cherish, smile at, then let go of and send up into the chilly, distant sky?
Watch it scatter and flutter down around you like snowflakes caught in the blue-shine of a glittering December night?
Like tears too perfect to not be treasured?
Something lost temporarily that whispers to you of light?

Or maybe you know something the whole world knows too.
At its most vulnerable.
In the depths of its heart when it closes its eyes to sleep.
Maybe you see there is something fragile
...unutterably, unbearably, unimaginably...
Beautiful in each soul that will close its eyes tonight?
That will close its eyes and begin to leave a world so white with snow.

As if each snowflake were a gift.
Were a secret.
Tossed with joy by a careless hand into the air.

As if each soul were beloved, treasured and cherished.
Were created by an artist-God.
Tenderly, with the greatest love and utmost care.
As if each soul were a great work of beauty and art.
As if each soul were rare.

Rest in peace, dear Nils.