I met a woman outside the juice shop. She looked so familiar to me. I said, You look so familiar to me. She mused, Maybe we know each other from church? No, I said, it wouldn’t be from church.
Because I don’t go to church, but I didn’t tell her that. My church takes place on the yoga mat. My Ohm is my hymn and my prayer. My Ohm is where I write myself back to, a starting, a becoming, and a place to lay my head. My ohm is every sound in one sound, the sound of wolfsong, the running with.
But back to the juice lady.
I said, after having volleyed our “where?’s” and “maybe’s” back and forth and coming up empty-handed, I said, Well maybe I’m meant to know you. And she paused a second and so did I, my hand on the door of my quasi-mini-van, thinking, If we are meant to know each other, let’s make it so. We could make a few more moments to stand around and chat, or I could ask her her favorite juice (the flavor I had picked was nasty) or get her—I know, how old-fashioned of me—phone number. But my daughter was waiting, I had to get going for all the reasons we always have to get going. So that was that.
I met a woman out for coffee on al-Fitr. I wore my new green blouse and she wore her khimar and every time it slipped, she rewrapped it but no matter how tight, it kept slipping over and over again. We both dunked our butter croissants in our creamy milky coffees and made messes with the crumbs down our fronts and in our laps, but we hardly noticed, so busy were we giggling about our husbands and gossiping about our sisters and touching each other’s arms, palm to fabric imparting how glad we were to break the long winter’s fasts from each other’s gazes. We spoke about expanding our capacities. About how growing old and older shifts perspective, about wanting to do good, not just seem good and the difference between the two.
I met a woman at her dinner table. She cooked for me and poured wine for me. Her friend said the whole God thing seemed a little far-fetched. I said, God has no other hands but ours. The table went quiet. The stars came out. Somewhere in the distance, the wolves sang back the bones of their ancients, and in between the beats of the new pop and the classic vinyl and our hearts in synchronicity, we heard their song.
I met a woman in a Red Tent. We dropped our masks and beat our drums and shed layers of collective uteri and at the end, she asked the group, When you see me later, at the grocery store (or tennis court, or juice market, take your pick,) will you see this me, or will you see Juice Market Me? and I promised her, I promised her, I will see naked you and even with my mask on, from behind it I will oooooze my cosmic energies in divine recognition of the Naked Goddess, Drum-banging You. I will radiate from my pores the sisterhood that connects us. Oh, I will see YOU.
At the center of my wheel hub is the Naked Me, the me that hangs on for dear life even as I let go the little birds I have collected in my nest. The me that feels a little less sad every morning and a little more remorseful late at night. The me that shared an ice cream cone with my dog on the day my mother died and then my dog died and I have never shared another ice cream cone with anyone I love as much as I loved that dog.
I will share an ice cream cone with you.
I will give you eggs so you can count some unhatched chickens. I think we should explain each other what we mean when we talk about our yonis, when we stand on sacred ground, and how it feels to touch the face of God on a cloudy day in the middle of now. I want to meet you on your prayer mat, at your juice bar, at the center of your wheel hub and you can learn me why your passions are your passions and I can learn you how, in these wooded suburbs, land of quasi’s and secret gatherings and the many many reasons we tell ourselves that wildness is dangerous, church is for Sundays, and everything has its shiny, tidy place, to bang your drum, to worship your brave creativity, to bare on your skin the ways we know each other. I can teach you how to see the you that I see. I can teach you how to sing back to the wolves, how to run with your naked showing, how to let loose abandon and dunk your goddamn butter croissant in your cream. The wolves don’t care about the crumbs.