What Do We Want?

I could have a mansion
That is higher than the trees
I could have all the gifts I want
And never ask please
I could fly to Paris
It’s at my beck and call
Why do I go through life
With nothing at all?

But when I dream
I dream of you
Maybe someday
You will come true

I can be the singer
Or the clown in every room
I can even call someone
To take me to the moon
I can put my makeup on
And drive the men insane
I can go to bed alone
And never know his name

But when I dream
I dream of you
Maybe someday
You will come true

Sandy Mason Theoret

***

At Gate C22 in the Portland Airport, a man in a broadband leather hat kissed a woman arriving from Orange County.  They kissed and kissed and kissed.  Long after the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons and wheeled briskly toward the short-term parking, the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other like she’d just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island.  Like she’d been released from the ICU, snapped out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing.  

Neither of them were young.  His beard was grey.  She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine her saying she had to lose.  But they kissed lavish kisses, like the ocean in the early morning – the way it gathers and swells, sucking each rock under, swallowing it again and again. 

We were all watching.  Passengers waiting for the delayed flight to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots, the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling sunglasses.  We couldn’t look away.  We could taste the kisses crushed in our mouths.

But the best part was his face.  When he drew back and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost as though he were a mother still open from giving birth.  As your mother must have looked at you no matter what happened after – if she beat you or left you or you’re lonely now.  You once lay there, the vernix not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you as if you were the first sunrise seen from Earth.

The whole wing of the airport hushed, all of us trying to slip into that woman’s middleaged body, her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses, little gold hoop earrings – tilting our heads up.

Ellen Bass

***

It’s simple really.  We want the kiss … and the eyes full of love

Day Twenty-Four: Longing

The Evolutionary Collective welcomed 125 people from near and far to its New Year’s Day Internet call. Patricia Albere, the founder of the organization, led us in exploring the topic of “longing”. Part of our time together was in groups of two and three. We looked at what aspects of society we’d like to say goodbye to. Later, what were our visions for the world we’d love to inhabit?

I felt into the questions and stayed open to the images that wanted to emerge. There was no “figuring it out”.

Here’s what I’m saying no to:

1. So rarely do we physically touch each other.

2. Kids respond rather than initiate. Their ideas are not as important as those of adults.

3. We are afraid of each other. Our tendency is to move away rather than go towards.

4. I’m right and you’re wrong.

5. “Home” is our own needs and wants.

And then there’s the vision of what is yet to be:

1. We laugh together at how silly life is.

2. We look deeply into each other’s eyes. We linger there … and feel the beauty.

3. We value ideas from whomever they spring, regardless of age, gender, status or what your peers think.

4. We go slow, seeing the moments of the world unfold before us, and we smile at what is revealed.

5. We hug, easily and often, including all in our positive regard.

It was a lovely two hours together. With Zoom technology, we could see 25 folks at once on our laptop screens. A simple click and there were 25 more faces. The infinite variety and grace of human beings was on full display. It was a privilege to come together like this.

***

Earlier, I sat in a comfy chair near Keur Saloum’s pool. To my left was a black family: mom, dad, son and yappy little dog. They were talking in English, and clearly enjoying each other’s presence. I decided to let them be. My vision for the future revolves around reaching out to new humans but it didn’t seem right to be intruding into their joy. The power of contact, however, was initiated by an unexpected being – the little doglet came close and really turned up the barking.

Mom apologized for “Simba”. I smiled and said it was fine. And then it came to me: tell Simba that my name was Mufasa (Simba’s father in The Lion King). So I did. Mom and dad laughed … and we were off to the races.

Where do you live? > For the next year – in Dakar [the capital of Senegal]. After that, back in the United States.

Where in the States > In California

Where in California? > Near San Francisco

Where? > Berkeley

In eight days, I’ll arrive in Berkeley. I’ll be staying for a week > (!)

Oh my. What can be created, what can emerge, when we simply move closer to each other? I think it’s called magic.

I told Penda and Solomon that I volunteer in a Grade 5/6 class in Canada, and that months ago three girls asked me if I would bring them something back from San Francisco. I said yes, in the spirit of rewarding kids who speak up. It turns out that they all wanted a necklace. Actually the very same design: the tree of life.

Do.you know where I could find “tree of life” pendants in Berkeley? > Yes. Your conference site [The David Brower Center] is only a few blocks away from a bunch of street vendors who carry stuff like this. Walk east on Allston Way to Oxford Street. South on Oxford to Bancroft Way. Three blocks east to Telegraph Avenue … et voilà.

So there!
From Toubacouta, Senegal
across the world to Berkeley, California
There is really no distance between us