8.04.2012

Turquoise




A woman in Tonapah, Nevada gave me a raw chunk of turquoise on a Sunday.  She asked me if I liked the light or dark, the green or blue and then she dug around the rubble of plastery rocks in an old plastic bag until she found the perfect piece. Deep, lake green with a rift of steamy blue.  The shape an upside-down house with stark inlets and points. A fracture near the bottom cracks outward toward the back where regular, grey rocks cover the colors like a dusty mask.  The turquoise, half the size of a plum seed, is the most opaque thing I've ever held.  I could never look through it, even if the brightest light were shining on the other side. Like every unknown thing could burrow itself inside that creamy color.  It is solid, and real and every bit tangible. Without a word, the woman from Tonapah with a husband who works the mines, sealed the lone rock in a cellophane bag and accepted our thanks, but no more.  I kept it in a special compartment in the glove box for the rest of the car trip home, and I pulled it out in Lee Vining, in Mammoth Lakes, in Yosemite, and in Modesto when it was almost too dark to see and we'd just cleaned throw up from Remy and the carseat for the sixth time that day.  Every time, I couldn't help but feel that the soft-armed woman living in the middle of the barren desert, would have made anyone feel so special.

A friend told me recently that in Cantonese, to spell or describe the word crisis one uses two different characters: danger and opportunity.  Just like she said she had, I thought about the possibilities for truth and for change in that statement over and over.   Because suddenly, the few things I could have pinned the word crisis to in my life no longer had endings in the word 'crisis', but move past a finality and open up into giant meadows I did not see were there through the thicket of trees I had my eyes so pressed to.

Another friend, who always has the right thing to say, wrote me an email in the which she ended with this: I know that to Remy and to Carl yours is the godliest face...Stand on the mount, proud.  
I have a perfect piece of turquoise that came from a rubble of ugly rocks, it is as smooth as the skin on the back of Remy's neck.  I know that the things I doubt or do not understand are not faulterings of my character, but something that happens to humans everywhere. A 'crisis' can be an opening up to an understanding even more beautiful and complex, and so there is no need to put all aside and only despair.  I remember now, that at least in moments, my face is the most godly to someone else.  And that is to celebrate!  I remembered tonight, even in writing, and re-writing that this world is a whole lot bigger than I ever anticipated, and it is not meant to be understood all at once.  Quick bits of thickest greens and blues sometimes make their way to my palm like omens.  I hold tightly to those.

6 comments:

tallia said...

The world is so much bigger and more complicated than I ever imagined. That is something I have been thinking about for the past few months as well. It is comforting to know I don't have to understand it all at once, and its something I have to remind myself of often. I wish we could have seen more of you while we were both in town. We love you guys

emilia. said...

oh the loveliness. hallelujah.

Michaela said...

Thank you for sharing that. It was exactly what I needed to read today. I agree with your friend - you even have a halo in that picture.

sara said...

stand on the mount, proud.

...

i'm crying. because i love you. and i miss you. and i'm proud of you.

Natalie. said...

You are so wise. I love you.

Carolyn said...

That was so beautiful.