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TEN FINGERS SPLAYED TWO PALMS DOWN JUST WEST AND SOUTH OF HERE
Without budging from this spot, without straying from this moment, I can visit anywhere I’ve ever been, any time I’ve ever lived.
That’s the beauty of being a writer, a diarist, a teller of tales, tales both true and actual.
I can bounce about inside the bubble of memory at will. I can recall and re-examine what has been. I can look over my own shoulder and observe what is happening this instant.
Here I am this very instant standing among chatting stragglers after an evening meeting in the western part of the county. While other attendees discuss the lecture we’ve just heard, I quietly look down, finding that my hands are resting on a lectern, ten fingers splayed, palms facing downward.
What causes me to pay attention is the uneven texture of the lectern’s surface.
I bend to examine the grainy wood. There are hundreds of scrawlings left by previous touchers of the lectern. In merry disarray, the carvings are evidences of errant visitors who just had to make their marks with knife, pen, pin or random pointed object. There are dates, symbols, initials, first names, secret notes, Morse codes for those who know the language, indications galore that someone no longer present was just passing through this hidden rehab facility and needed to find a way to tell a life’s story.
While my hands and fingers run over the wood, I am suddenly transported to a long ago time, a place south of here, where another lectern is experiencing the pressure of my touch. This time, I am feeling graffiti of a different kind—the stitched softness of a hand-made quilt that covers the lectern.
I am in the presence of the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, where I and the attending crowd are enamored of the quilts, the quilts filled with signs and symbols and documentations of lives once lived. Stories told in code and in secret from a time when not all voices were allowed to be heard.
Ten fingers splayed, two palms down, just south of here, feeling the electricity of lives lived differently from mine…another time, another place, where people just like me thrived and left their marks for later archaeologists to bring forth for re-examination.
It is a privilege to be the designated Noticer at any place, at any time, the teller of tales who desires to point out that which is so obvious it just might go unnoticed.
Whether I am west of here or south of here, I know that right before me my ten fingers and two palms are just waiting to learn something new, anxious to discover something that might give me new hope or at the very least a momentary peek beyond my own bubble
© Jim Reed 2018 A.D.