What I notice first is the trembling, like a piano player trilling the high notes, Art Tatum levitating the house, and the house is the sea, flickering with those bright notes, and the tree whose long fingers in the wind are his, and the knowledge that all this music is coming from something invisible, that the maestro is the wind, and it is determined to delight.
What I notice next is my breath, and a sigh of gratitude for it. It is a time when breath is the precious gift nobody in the world knows how to protect. But what I see all around me in this moment is the giving of it, the wind in the trees, in the waves, in me, and the maestro is the mother of us all.
In the distance, amidst the makeshift maze of gleaming white roofs, a few with curved terra cotta tiles, stacked toenails of some mythical earthen animal, stand four triangles, a diamond-shaped window cut into each one like an eye. They remind me of the Egypt that I am always waiting to discover, a part of me, just out of reach.
What are you waiting for? the four triangles say. We are waiting for you. The pyramids are not a mystery, my dear; don't complicate things. It's obvious. We are designed to open your inner eye, and isn't that what all teaching does? Don't look so far for what you're looking for. Don't invent the unattainable, or romanticize ancient times. Look how simple we are, like props in old movies, the fronts of saloons on Main Street in Dodge City.
A roof or two beyond the pyramids stands a white slab, like a miniature monolith from Stonehenge, a small round hole near the top, through which the blue of the sky shows. As in a dream, it represents my eye, and how I use it. It is the eye of the needle I must thread with my breath. It is no accident, I know, that next to it stands an antenna, the kind that look like the skeleton of a fish, pointing at that hole like a target.
Aim, it says, take aim. This is what you are not in the habit of doing, my dear. But this precious breath that is loaned to you while you are here is the Golden Fleece that you can spin into thread as it rises up out of your lungs and throat and into the air. It is a fiber that can go anywhere, like a ray of light, but you must thread it through the needle of your heart's highest intentions, and this needs your focus and your steady hand.
I see no people on the street below. We are in quarantine. Doctors and nurses at this moment all around the world, with exhausted but steady, devoted hands intubate those whose breath is waning, aiming the life-saving oxygen tube into the trachea, praying the precious breath keeps flowing.
I tell myself, notice that the gift of breath is not being ungiven. Notice that the mother of life is not withdrawing her love. Notice that the sky is not falling, the air is not shrinking around us. It is something else, but it is not that. The love that surrounds us surrounds us still. And it moves our fingers to perform the music expressing our love for each other in any trembling way we can.