meeting the muse

“you’re going to meet your muse today,” a voice of higher authority said to me. 
“hmm..” i respond in a soft high pitch tone of curiosity. 

sure, all of this may sound a bit off.. 
but after a year like 2020, 
you begin to suspend what you view as reality,
and begin to take each moment as it comes. 

i find myself, far from the winterscape i call home, 
and back to another place that once welcomed me in- 
the west coast of Koh Phan Ghan Island, Thailand. 
i take in the joy and relaxation of being reunited with a place that mattered to me, 

but the realization that so much time has passed, 

that i am no longer that person, 
the type who can just relax into a tropical sandscape.

so much has happened.. 
so much has changed.. 

all five senses being seduced back in to tropical ease, 
the turquoise waves glistening against the bright beige sand, 
the scent of salt water and sunscreen, 
palm trees lining the beaches, 
and the itch of hot sand under my bare feet. 

it felt so damn good… 

it just felt off… 

not quite sure where i should go, i decided to walk half a quarter mile down the beach until i found a perfect place to perch,
a palm tree growing at a slant, reaching out towards the ocean, 
providing both shade and a promise of protection. 

i took a seat. curious on what was to come. 
i wonder who my muse will be. i daydream to guesses of gender.. of age.. of background.. 
i suppose i will learn soon enough.

watching the waves
steady, calm, 
single point of my focus.. 
damn i can’t believe i lived here..
this was my life in a chapter of my journey.. 

absorbed.. 

wave after wave.. 

gentle.. subtle.. 

i look up and see a woman approaching me. 
it’s a wild moment, i cannot fully express- 

i know who she is.. 

she is me.. 

or was me? 

me, in the end of february of twenty-twenty, 
before the world shut down.. 

i had a conflicting wave of embarrassment as i realize how egomaniac it is to have oneself as their muse.. but there has been so much stuff happen, almost life times, between her and i, that although she is i- we are two different manifestations. we are two different people. 

“same same. but different,” i remember with a smile, the catchphrase of the locals on this island.  

i look at her- 
tanned skin glossy from coconut oil and sweat with long messy wavy blonde hair
wearing rose pink tank top, loose green pants, a white sheer short sleeve cover and a purple floral sarong tied around her waist. 
she had a bright pink woven shoulder bag with golden threading intricate elephant scenes, it’s strap hung across her chest. contents peaking out- a camera strap, water bottle, and a notebook. 
she’s muscular from long days of yoga asana and trying to burn off the kind of anxiety that arises when you meet your fear of dying alone. 

there was a fluid, flexible, light presence about her. 
her brown eyes were full of joy, warmth and love. 

i feel a wave of self conscious, her with me-
me now, with short brown hair regrowing from major hair loss, chunks still missing.
emotionally heavy from 10 months of a global pandemic and broken dreams, 
plain faded long jeans and a black tank top. 
my eyes are empty, damn i wish my eyes glowed like hers. 
maybe they will again one day? 

so many thoughts are trolling my mind- 

i wondered how much into the future she saw?

there was an air about her… like she had seen it all 
and saw it was all going to be ok, everything had worked out. 
there was a grounding depth of her, 
the kind of heartfelt presence only time spent in Cambodia could gift..time spent on the killing fields of a genocide swept under the western rug.  

i wanted to ask her.. 

everything.. 

instead we just sat 

watching the waves, 

taking in the oddity of the moment
past and present colliding, to co-create a future endeavour 
yet, there was a zen like calm.. 

i feel a train of thought – of all the infinite possibilities of parallel universes, am i sitting with the version of myself who didn’t make it out of Asia when I did? am i sitting with a present self in a different unfolding? 

i stop this flow of irrational thought. it’s all a bit too much to grasp. 

all i know is that i am here, 
and she is here – me but not me- 

watching the golden hues of a thai pre-sunset shifting through,
i sit with my knees bent and soles of feet on the ground, hugging my arms around my shins, hunching my shoulders in protectively- 
she sits softly, cross legged, her hands softly folded in her lap- elegant posture, without a thread of tension in her body. 

i’m not sure how much time has passed. 

twenty min? thirty? an hour? two? 

no need to speak, 

we just sit, taking it in, 

watching the waves. 

i look at her, 
she looks at me, 
and we begin to laugh at the absurdity of the moment. 
mirroring each other, we both smile, and sigh deeply. 

quiet seeps back in, 

soothing ocean waves. 

pinks and oranges are beginning to showcase across the sky

i feel this grounding of wanting to remember this moment for ever..

“well?” she breaks the silence, with kindness and curiosity. subtext that it is time to go. 
“yeah,” i reply, knowing it is time to part. grateful for her breaking the moment, 
the thai sunsets seduce you in, only to be left to navigate your way home into the dark. 
she demonstrates she has mastered the art of knowing when to arrive and when to leave. 

“it’s time.”

she stands up, brushing off the sand from her green pants and smiles warmly. 
i stand, not quite sure what to do or say. 

“ill see you,” she says, pausing with full presence as she looks into my eyes with such grounding depth. i smile, in response, in acceptance. she says those three words with such ease and confidence, i feel no stress to make plans of when/where/how we will connect next. i am aware that logically i have no idea when i will see her again, but i believe her words and i believe in her character. 

she turns around, heading back to the direction she came. 

i watch her silhouette as she playfully walks on the sand barefoot.

i turned back to the sunset. 

smouldering hues over take the sky- 

salmon,
fuchsia, 
lavender, 
pomegranate,
against the backdrop of a savoury blue sky- 

the collusion of colors that makes atheists believe in god, for just a moment. 

“unreal”. 

i am left in awe. 

i want to grasp at this moment, instead i take inspiration from her, 
gracefully continuing onward, knowing what needs to happen will happen at the time it is meant to happen. 

and with all of this, i take a deep breath in,
inhaling, deeply, to the fear + unknown,
then exhaling, appreciating the chaos that is. 
the mastery of creative surrender. 

-kp

feauture image photo credit:
Anna Kanifatova via Pexels

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