Weather's Store - an excerpt

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La Cantadora/The Storyteller

It is that hour before darkness when everything on earth is a black paper-cut silhouette against a near colorless backdrop. It is the hollow hour when I feel like I’m the only sentient being left. In this absolute void I want to reach in and hold onto my own soul.
It is the time of evening when a light-hearted friend suggests you “pull the curtains, turn on the house lights and have a drink.” But there are times when the light shifts and the darkness empties the dimensions from houses and trees and mountains and you are left staring at flat paper cutouts. Then, you have to look right at the space you fear and remember.
            In that empty hour I want to tell my story to someone, even if it is only the waiting darkness. I want to believe it all happened just the way I remember it. Just the way I’m telling it to you, now.
            Once as Weather and I walked the circumference of the lake near his store, he told me that the sacred places of the earth cling to us as we pass through them. He said that everywhere we touch the earth we leave our sweat and breath. Sparks of our spirit remain so that we never really walk alone. Those that came before us walk with us and those that come after us walk with us and we with them.
            The truth of his words resonated to the core of my being one afternoon out on the llano. It was there that I found myself gathering herbs with women of a hundred generations. That happened months after I came to Weather's Store. It was only one of many encounters I experienced, some with Weather, and some with Maya, the curandera, and some alone.
            What I did before Weather’s Store or after doesn’t matter. Between the time I was there and now, years have passed. Now, what matters is telling my story. Now, the time I spent at Weather’s Store comes to me like an old dream, in luminous scenes that fade or shift before I can capture the image in my mind or hold its essence in the hollow of my hand. It is gentle, now, as dreams grow gentle with time. There is no substantive form to that whole experience. I am afraid that I may lose the whole of it. If I don’t tell it, it may be gone like a wish on the slipstream of a dream, distracted by the ordinariness of my life. So I have to tell it and hope a little of its spirit clings to the listener.
            Yet, there is something about Weather that defies this telling. He touched the still point in my heart where words were useless and I was exquisitely alone. That enigmatic something made me wise, even if only my solitude admits my discovery.
            I still cherish the intimate bond I had with Weather. For he is always with me; strengthening me daily with new visions of myself. Through him I began to understand the intensity of my link to the ancient elements that gave my tissues life and surround me in oceans of air. Weather knew all the secret rhythms of my life. Breathing and being, that is how Weather knew me and how I knew Weather.
            Nothing at Weather’s Store was ordinary. All the encounters were quick and unrelenting as lightning. Like lightning stinging the earth and merging its elements into strange glass, lightning glass, all the elements of the moment came together in those encounters to form a completeness that was at once, longing and contentment.
            You will still find Weather and Maya in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Their sweat and breath, the sparks of their spirits are left on that earth, but to know them intimately, you would have to encounter them as I did.