Saturday, September 08, 2007

Beneath the silver pool

Cortijo Romero, Andalusia, Friday August 31, 2007

Dawn bright, eastern morning light,
Feathered touch, breath on warm skin,
Fleeting thoughts to bright ideas
Dance on the timbre of my joyful voice.

Southern Sun, flames of fierce fire,
Dance in spirals of desire,
Interweaving, interlocking,
Consuming and transforming.

Soft waters of the West,
Holding, shaping, moving me
Lulling with tender love
You cradle me in your depths.

Belly to the ground, I lie
Cushioned by the thick soft grass
Held by the bold great mountains
I rest, replete, satisfied.

Sunlight poked warm fingers through the arched window and splashed upon my crossed ankles. I stirred and stretched. Climbing carefully to my feet, I walked slowly round the room running my fingers lightly along the walls as I moved. My circuit complete, I came to rest in the warm pool of sunlight opposite the east window, feeling its heat on the soft wooden floorboards beneath my bare feet. I sat down and leaned my head against the cool wall.

Bare feet slapped purposefully on stone floors, receding rapidly into the silence. The cool enclosed air held the memory of their fall, an imperceptible echoed just out of range of my hearing. Where was I?

Cushioned by moist dew drenched grass, soft beneath my feet, I walked quietly through the still pre dawn garden. My path wove between the trees, dark against the grey. I moved on and felt rather than saw the sky lightening with that thinning of air that comes as dawn approaches. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught something white amongst the trees. I turned and moved towards it.

Behind a tall and elegant tree, I saw a solitary white rock. Moving closer, a second rock appeared. Then I saw that it was the dark opening of a cave behind a rough hewn bowl into which a spring trickled, shining silver in the lightening sky.

I dipped my fingers experimentally into the bowl. The water was freezing. Raising my cupped hand to my lips, I sipped the freshest of cool water. I bent my head and put my face into the water and began to lap thirstily.

My thirst slaked, I raised my dripping head and shook it like a dog. Looking round, I saw again the dark dark opening. I stepped behind the rough bowl, stooped and entered.

It was cool and dark in the huge hall. The sound of my bare feet pattering softly on the cold smooth tiles was tossed back to me from the high vaulted roof above. Silver grey dawn light fell in bars across the wide floor from tall arched windows to left and right of me. Half open doors, gave glimpses of other rooms, corridors and gardens beyond. I stepped from darkness to light and back to darkness again as I made my way across the space.

In the far corner stood a huge closed double door, covered with tooled carved latticework, its handles, twisted wrought Iron loops. The wood felt warm beneath my hands, the iron cool. I pushed gently and the door swung in easily and soundlessly.

Light dazzled me, light shaped and stained with dark curling lattice patterns. I stepped onto smooth cold stone slabs and stood blinking and listening to the sound of the courtyard or chamber. All was still and quiet.

In time, the space defined itself as my eyes grew used to the light. I was standing in a great stone rotunda with floor to ceiling unglazed windows above which, an arched canopy fashioned from intricate open-weave ironwork rose. The space was empty save for a perfectly round pool of about six feet in diameter set in the centre of the stone floor. The pool shone still and silver, reflecting back the ornate roof and the light pouring in.

Moving to the edge and peering in, I saw my own face gazing up at me, framed by the elaborate roof. Eagerly I bent lower until I found myself falling, falling down and down into the pool’s coolness as I dove into its very depths.

I flicked my tail and moved effortlessly into the dark tunnels, breathing easily as I swam through into a round chamber. Cool soft daylight shafted in from the right, shining on the water lapping a dark flat rock and throwing shadows upon the walls. I climbed out into the rock and tucked my tail around me, pushing my long straggly hair away from my eyes.

And there she was, as she had been before, a fresco carved into the rock, but yet a living, moving figure. She sat in that half lotus position, her hands in their familiar gestures, one hand, the tips of her first finger and thumb together her other fingers splayed out, the other hand holding a lotus root. Her smile invited me to relax.

I curled up on the rock to rest. The boom of waves on shingle echoed in the chamber. My eyelids grew heavy and I breathed deeply the salt tang of the sea.

I was being watched. I raised my head and looked toward the grey light and saw a dark angular shadow, an ugly long legged bird standing in the mouth of the cave, the grey sea beyond him. I bowed my head in respectful greeting and humbly withdrew my eyes.

Light glimmered on the rocks. Kwan Yin’s smile was warm and serene. I felt bathed in love, curled up, happy and safe on my rock in the gently moving water. But I couldn’t stay here for ever.

I sat up and looked towards the cave mouth. The bird stood watching, the grey sea shifting behind him. I looked up at the rock face and saw its rough surface, her features carved there still. I bowed low to her and to the bird and slid off my rock back into the water.

In no time, I broke the still surface of the pool and climbed out, my legs my own again. Kneeling by the pool ‘s edge, I bowed low to it, thanking the water for holding me so gently, and got up, retracing my steps back through the great hall and out into the wet green garden, now gilded with morning sunshine.


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