Seated awkwardly in the storefront library at Anchor Point, Alaska, I pause to recapture the capacity for deep reflection from its nemesis, butterfly thought … practicing, you could say, for a larger purpose. Admittedly, I netted that fleeting image from the title of another recommended blog, “Butterfly Mind” (Andrea Badgley). Presumably the image is akin to what is referred to in yoga class as “Monkey Mind,” the wordless chatter, punctuated with nosy gossip, that relentlessly seeks to unsettle the mind at rest.
My bare feet in sandals are freezing in the early September chill and I’m sitting too low to the floor for my own good, like a child in school, waiting in a side room to start a test while hearing the questioning young voices in the children’s room. Their whispers and high-pitched excitement remind me of my sisters conversing long ago in other rooms of our small house that I could hear only when I was down with a cold or the flu and mom was changing my flannel pajamas, pulling the tops unevenly up over my head, and gathering cough syrup and vasoline; why this gooey balm was soothing I’m not sure, since I balked at the smell of it. Probably the relief, in a bootstrap family, of being allowed the very occasional off day without verbal challenge and with my busy mother’s comforting bedside ministrations. This equally modest place in Anchor Point, despite my discomfort, represents sacred ground — a safe place to park and work, and for the privacy to think, feel and surmise a few random things about life.
“I’m looking for “Black Beauty,” a little girl announces to the librarian in a shrill voice for just information seeking. That could have been my sister Barb 60-some years ago. Do little girls still read about that horse and dream about his silky charcoal coat? I think so. Even more, I hope so. We saw a creamy-colored mare outside a nearby barn last night as we were navigating a nameless side road in the evening drizzle. It was an ill-conceived venture out of the cabin; we’d painted half the roof and couldn’t complete the job because of the wetness. Stuck in our tracks.