now i’m aware that i alone am in the vast
of the sea
and cause the sea to be the sea.
go on with your story.
– dainin katagiri roshi
i dream. i am an old sea turtle. scarred and barnacled. and i am swimming for my own shore. my odyssey nearly complete. i have made my way there to the deep. deepest. now, i am on my way back. i saw things there in that fluid mystery. soft things. sweet things. dangerous things. and i tell you, all of them holy things. they live there in that liminal space. the place between the here and there. magic stones, wise old trees and pages from ancient poetry books line the bottom of this strange ocean. i swim above seagrasses that sway like prayer flags in the wind. flocks of silvery sheep race me. the sound of their bells muffled slightly by water, salty and blue. i hear voices gurgling out the names of god. and not just one name. but All of the names. i have visited other realms and other times. i drift now along a winding and sunken road. beside me pilgrims row small boats piled high with treasure and transformation. each bounty different. every voyage unique and filled with healing and meaning. pearls, scallop shells and hot bowls of con leche. … and i see my beautiful poet friend there. the one who made her journey to that ‘sacred deep’ as well. Coma, her vehicle. she is on her way back, too. see you there, she says to me with a wink and a flash of understanding travels between us. she swims and double-somersaults as gracefully as the words that she writes. i wave a flipper her way and give a lazy sea turtle smile. see you there, jto. yes, i am swimming slowly. back. i hear the holy om, deep and low. this mantra fills my ears and drowns my sea turtle heart. my internal compass bobs and lines up to its vibration. holy om. aum. i repeat it. again. and again. it becomes holyom. hhhooommm. home. home. ah, and where is my home?
i am coming closer. closer still. solitude. silence. i am now making my way alone. my traveling companion set his stone at the cruz de ferro and with his mission complete, now continues his journey back home from there. we traveled together well and for so long. we’ll see each other again, i believe. we have an appointment. back in the real world. and so … i continue.
i have entered the watery realm of galicia. i feel its mystery and oldness. gnomes, faeries, witches and ancient stories infuse this road. farmers and their gentle animals. a landscape that carries a scent so unique that it could be bottled up with simply ‘galicia’ on it’s label. one whiff and everyone who has ever passed this way would remember all things immediately. green fields. leaf covered paths. fresh rain. and … ah, those beautiful cows.
and so, for almost a year now … i sometimes waited, often wandered and have slowly made my Way. i will be honest and tell you that i am tired. my clothes are worn and tattered. my body aches a bit. i am sensitive and tears come easily. i feel like a vagabond. a nomad. a spiritual tramp. but, when i look in the mirror, there is a light within my eyes that is, well, … new. and with this light, there is a longing deep within my heart that swells and expands as i come closer and closer to the end of this journey. i ask that you keep me in your prayers, if you can. i still have a ways to go. 100 kilometers to santiago and then another four days or so to reach the end of the world. my odyssey nearing its completion.
i saw things there in that fluid mystery.
soft things. sweet things. dangerous things.
and i tell you, all of them holy things.
they live there in that space between the here and there.
go on with your story.
i am coming closer. and closer still.