Yesterday walking up the moist front steps Tammy sniffed some mineral earthy air that her memory associated with the white quartz.
‘Let’s rent a car. Take the day off.’ Tammy offers Malik to agree with her fresh idea as she walks in the front door.
Malik stands up straight from his work desk, takes in a big breath and looks her dead in the eyes.
‘Tammy ..?’ His voice, simply saying her name, went through a 2 – part process of getting her attention with a strong ’T’ and dipping at the end trying to bring her back to earth. Her spontaneous whims always threw him for a loop. What’s wrong with planning? He says with his eyes.
‘Malik ..?’A It’s-all-part-of-the-package look was how she responded to his need for a plan.
After a two hour drive out of town the next morning they set off on a five km hike into the forest following the curving river lined with attentive cedar and spruce. On the riverbank the cedars’ gnarly roots suction themselves to the iron infused sedimentary rock that frames the river. On the forest side of the river bank tree roots delve quickly into the forest floor littered with spongy, green rock cap moss.
It’s a good 5 degrees cooler under all the verdant trees where the river quickly narrows and drops four feet through the effervescent rapids. Just past the brief rapids as the river widens again slightly is a massive white quartz. Although radiant and striking, it is so ensconced in the place it can be confusingly easy to miss. Tammy can’t remember how they found out about it. Malik remembers and relishes holding the mystery.
A mystery that the quartz holds is its size. The carpet of bright green moss acts like a receding hairline on the top and also grows on one side hiding where the quartz meets the riverbank rock. The outlines of the massive white boulder hinted that the beautiful crystal extended some metres beyond what was visible. In his enthusiasm to find out how far it reached Malik confused it with the pockets of snow clinging to winter under the tree skirts; playing hide and seek with the invigorating rays of the spring sun.
They came to dwell with the quartz, to remain in its presence, seeking to be transported deeper within and higher up. The quartz made you wonder. Wonder with confidence. Wonder up. The massive cool fresh quartz engages you as if you were on time and up to speed on your life trajectory. It draws your truth out of you.
They agreed to eat lunch in an hour and served themselves some steaming tea. They sat cross-legged on their yoga mats 10 metres apart on the river bank. Once settled in, breathing and clear of mind Malik found his faculties subtly intrigued. He was being pulled to grasp what was going on: it was the rapids. As the rapids bounced the water all over the place, they were challenging the river, asking the river how important the flow of water was to it. The river, regaining its composure a few metres downriver, always answered the same: I may bend but I will never break.
Tammy didn’t like a sudden burst of her bubble of connection when they were in nature. Malik knew that. But the words just popped out.
‘I don’t think nature…,’ Proposed Malik, impacted by the electrical wash of the huge quartz. ‘… knows the concept of: in the meantime.’ Hearing himself speak he realised he had broken the connection bubble but for him this was a pretty deep thought so he just kept going. ‘Nature is always in the here and now…never waiting… endlessly passionate.’ Malik liked how his poetic kites floated into the early afternoon cool air. Soaking up the moment with his sense of transcendence he sought, Malik breathed in deeply.
Tammy, chill, aware and reflective in the robust, rewarding afternoon was shaken by Malik’s declarations. Hearing him utter in the meantime jolted her out of her cozy emotional vacation and dropped her into an unsettling mental state. Tammy went from cupping the thermos cup of green tea to strangling it.
In six year old Tammy’s mind meantime was what she called the episodes of her parents arguing. She instinctively recoiled under her bed in her and Shelly (her half-sister’s) room. Her bookshelf was empty. Her story books were in piles under her bed. Tammy lay among the dust bunnies and socks turning pages until the yelling and screaming stopped. She found a corporeal focus that completely blocked out life in the meantime. Fifteen year old Shelly wasn’t around so much so Tammy ended up being the flag bearer of her own safety. It seemed her parents first had to be mean to each other before they could approach her smiling saying:‘Don’t worry sweetie, come out from under there. Everything is going to be ok. Mommy is happy.’ Nine months and two police visits later there was no more meantime.