My mama once told me of a place
With waterfalls and unicorns flying
Where there was no suffering, no pain
Where there was laughter instead of dying
I always thought she’d made it up
To comfort me in times of pain
But now I know that place is real
Now I know its name
Lyrics to “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (Salt Lake City), Book of Mormon
how mortified my children would be to see me taking a picture from my airplane leaving Salt lake City today. (We laugh at “those” people-yikes. Shame on us.)
I had woken early this a.m., after way too little sleep, and dressed in the dark. Last minute I grabbed my newly acquired yellow cashmere sweater off the shelf, one of many I have assimilated from my mother’s closet. It was handy, and I thought of Raelynn, half thinking I would wear it for her, in case I got to see her.
As luck would have it, I did. My flight was early and my layover in Salt Lake long enough to run by the “Express Spa” for her amazing work, the best upper neck and shoulder chair massage ever.
The timing was perfect, my flight was early. I walked up to the Express Spa just as she became freed up. As always, she said “it’s good to see you.”
A few weeks ago when I was passing through, I got a wonderful massage from her. She complimented me on the orange cable knit sweater I was wearing and how much she loved it. It was particularly soft, and she relished the feel of it. I told her it had been my mother’s and was one of about 100 that my sister and I were sorting though. I explained that at the end of my mom’s life, with so much closing in on her, she continued to enjoy beautiful things, and had acquired an almost obscene collection of cashmere. “I understand,” she explained. “I would like one for every day of the year.” .
Clearly, Raelynn is in touch with the beauty that surrounds her. She spoke today about the mountains, the trees in bloom and spring weather in the air.
Here’s the thing. Raelynn is blind.
At first I was uncomfortable with her – how to greet her, whether or not I explain to her who I am. Now, I am simply inspired by her. Her love of nature, her uplifting exchanges with strangers, the good work she does on sore travelers’ muscles. I am inspired by her vision of beauty, described with conviction, but mostly imagined.
Today as my plane left Salt Lake I found myself glued to the window, awed by the beauty of the magnificent landscape. Jagged white peaks meet the edge of the sun-drenched high desert landscape and the city below. And, of course, the great salt lake, still, aqua, and blue. It’s hard to imagine such beauty lay only a few hours plane flight from the dank Chicago dawn I left behind.
Thinking about Realynn 10,000 feet below, I pulled out my phone and took a picture, like a big fat tourist seeing it for the first time because, in many ways, I was.
“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” ―
Today~ Pause. Breathe. And make this a mantra of sorts. Remember the word sankalpa, the “I am ” intention:
“I am facing the sun…” (if I cannot see the sun, I imagine it as beautiful! )