Saving Face

a hand full of rain

I woke this morning to a roll of thunder and the smell of rain. What a gift! Maybe because I’ve been out several mornings lately, moving the sprinkler head from one corner of the yard to another, and rain gives me a day off.

I felt comforted and secure, here inside the house. It’s a left-over feeling, I’m sure, from childhood. On the farm, we still had to do morning chores, but then I was free. I could sit in my room and read, watch out the window, dream. That’s what’s offered today: we are both finished with teaching for the week, Cliff can sleep late, my calendar is empty, and I can sit and dream in the rain’s whisper.

I’m grateful for these times of gentleness whenever and however they arrive, times of not having to push – or stumble, when the to-do list, while never empty, is absent of flashing red lights and checkmarks.

I’m working on a new book, and yesterday’s writing centered on a market in Durango, Mexico, and its “magic corner” as I named it, a corner of herbs and incense and votive candles. A tree trunk guarded the corner in Durango.

About four feet tall, the sentinel stood rubbed and sanded smooth. Near the bottom, a face looked up from where a sculptor’s hand had uncovered expression in the natural creases,  carved folds into a mantle of beard.

What would it be like to have a face uncovered, I wondered? Not the face shown to the world or to lovers or the office, but the one molded to who we really are? What lies behind a face?

The gift of showing a true face comes from figuring out who we are, perhaps, and in part from not worrying so much about who we are. Or at least that’s what it seems this morning, dreaming out the window as I listen to the susurrus of rain through tree branches. And at base, I guess, I’m still the same kid as on the farm, grateful for time off, grinning at the rain. And I thought I’d changed.

Where does your face come from? What does the kid see who looks out of your eyes?

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