Like this, she said, hands open, singing. Gonna let it move me, she sang, and we followed, fingers splayed and pressing into the space of the circle we made with our attention. Now stir, she said, and we did, and it stirred us up.
Let it come, she sang. We laughed, cried. Feel this, she sang, and by then we couldn’t help ourselves because our centers had shifted to the space between us, and it was this that we pressed with our open hands. It was into this that we poured our voices, surrendered our attentions––
And we held it like that, stirring and singing together, here. Something shifted, and we went with it.
It is something, isn’t it, to reach the end of a day and count the moments that one’s life is spared, and perhaps something else to start the day with such a list, considering all the excellent reasons there were, after all, for not having anything to begin, ever again.
What, you mean this? It can help to know that you are already here.
Parents have been sending the children to school with special stickers: names, telephone, blood type––in case, in the event––unmentionable, but. Some schools made these stickers mandatory. They have been practicing. In case of fire, one drill; bomb, another. The idea is not to panic.
It can help to know that––
Not to say too much. We want them to feel normal, say the mothers.
We pray, says one mother. We pray a lot, she says, for peace.
But how can––
Look. We are already here.
We hold the babies, hold the prayers. We hold on, and the windows are shaking.
Shhh, we say, shh. What else?
For the mothers and the babies, the brothers, fathers, the missing, and those holding in solidarity and love.
To see a baby elephant splashing and take it as a suggestion.
May I know it for answering thirst, and to wash; for cooling feet, brushing teeth, boiling food; for baptism. May I swim to you through it. May I always remember the depths of its substance, the hidden multitudes beneath its infinite unknowns, and the speed at which I might be swallowed whole.
And yet, let me also remember what this little one knows at first touch, when she is feeling only surface, undistracted by depth: how it presses back against skin, against the pressure of whomever leans in. How this willingness to return touch magnified makes it best for splashing.
The first praise song ever uttered goes like this: Splash, tap, tap, splash! Open hand, open mouth, open foot. Again, again! Not to make a point, but for the delight of having none, but this.
Inspired by this video of Chaba, a rescued baby elephant, enjoying the water in her new tub, which I encountered on My Modern Met: