On the last day of my stay at the French Alps, where I went to visit my friend, fellow artist, and benefactor Tony, something subtle but extraordinary took place. During the short time i spent there Tony showed me how to make friends with several goats and a beautiful donkey. We fed them and they accepted us in their midst. Sitting with Tony and his mum on the last day, soon time to say my goodbyes, the donkey came galloping, stopped abruptly at the fence some 30 metres away, and stared directly at me. Without thinking, knowing exactly what was taking place, I stood up, walked towards the donkey, fed her some grass, patted her foreface and said goodbye, a bientot. She turned and galloped away.
Today, some weeks later, I went for an evening walk, planning to be back by 7pm. More than halfway through the walk I had a subtle feeling telling me to take a longer route. I managed to bypass my natural laziness and went for it. During this detour a decision and challenge I have been bargaining with and postponing for a while came up. Without any difficulty I accepted it, knowing fully well that it will require patience, sensitivity, courage, and a complete change in my lifestyle.
It is a mysterious night. The Wind blowing, strong enough to be felt, but sweet in a strange kind of way; the desert-like hills blending with the sea in the thickening dusk, the sky and clouds dreaming away in a glorious array of pinks and indigos. My soul was bursting with a sober joy, my body full of energy, my mind focused, alert, pliable. It was time to turn right and head back home. But no, an inner impulse showed me the left, towards the ancient temples. I tell myself, “I am hunting power, and power is hunting me.” I know this to be true even though I cannot say I fully understand it.
I am familiar with the place, but it's very dark. The landscape is rocky, similar to a South American desert. Shrubs, sharp rocks and debris make walking safely a matter of concentration. The eyes are useless, I have to rely on instinct. I position myself at a point that roughly forms a triangle with the two prehistoric temples. I know what I am here for. I feel the presence of forces I do not understand, and even though I am sure they have accepted me I feel apprehensive. I have a conversation with the Wind, express my fear of being alone in the dark in a place of power. He is very kind to me, puts me at ease with perfectly modulated changes in pressure and intensity as responses to my questions and remarks. I remember that during my walk some trees looked like dancers. So I sing and dance in circular fashion. My song says “please show me the way”. Then from behind the soft howl of the Wind I hear the voice of a donkey. Instantly, with no contribution from reason, a sentence forms in my mind: “Carry your burdens with dignity and total commitment.” Then more knowledge comes to me. The donkey: humility, servitude, sweetness, simplicity, and a secret intelligence. And on the other side of the balance (keep in mind we are in Libra time), “let go of the burdens you don't care for.” From one side “Don't be a donkey”, and from another “be a donkey”. I understood that perfectly. I am ready to face the challenge ahead.
Back home I found my mobile phone on the table. I checked the time. It was 20:02. Balance.