Hide ‘n’ Seek. Remember the wordless buzz with which you would scatter about while someone counted to twelve, or to twenty, or to whatever number you and your friends would have determined with so much ease, using that superpower you had (still do! maybe just dormant) which instantly took whatever it needed into account and, voilá! Just like that:
“Twelve!” you’d say, “Let’s count to 12!”
Close your eyes now and there it is, right inside you, replete with receding whispers, breaking twigs, and excited waiting. No need for 3D glasses, no need for surround sound. Then is now!
Can you feel the roughness of that tree’s bark on your cheek? Can you feel the snugness of that crawl space you managed to —yup!— squeeze your whole goshdarnit body into? (High fives!)
How quietly and quickly, how without argument, it all happened. Just like that!
The best time for hide ‘n’ seek was dusk, of course. That magical time between light and night, between bright and shadow, between knowing and not knowing. A time when you’d switch from day vision, to that full-body, all-sensory, seeing that happens more easily when the world is dark.
Hide ‘n’ seek. Ahhh…
And then you grew up. You got busy. You started making yourself do things you didn’t want and not letting yourself do what you, truly, heart of hearts, wanted. Maybe you started telling yourself you were too big for crawl spaces, or too small, or old, or something for climbing places. Over the years, your thinking got crowded and, whereas before you’d have counted to 12 without a second thought, now you deliberate. And deliberate. And deliberate. And in between all that deliberation —hmmm… 12 or 20? Is 100 too much? Is 10 too little? Should we have a meeting? Make an agenda?— you bemoan the fact that you have no time, and that it’s so hard to make a decision, and and and…
Oof! Tired yet?
What if today looked like a game of hide ‘n’ seek?
What if instead of the deliberating you covered your eyes, counted to 12, and then just went ahead instead? Could it be that the next thing to do might be as obvious, if surprising, as the perfect crawl space which appears, magically, in the moment of hiding and not a moment sooner?
What if instead of pushing and pushing and pushing through that effing blah and blah and blah project you stopped and counted 12—?
What if instead of checking, once again, your smartphone, you went for a walk? Or gazed at your hands instead, maybe holding one in the other, or bringing them up to your dear face?
What if instead of yelling at the kids, or at yourself, or at Congress to stop with its bickering already you started twirling and twirling and twirling until your turning became a dance that they (or you!) couldn’t help but stop and stare at, all wide-eyed? (Who IS this marvelous, if dorky, creature? I’ll have what she is having!)
What if at the next red light you got all up close and intimate with your next breath as if it were your very first kiss?
You may not know this about me, but I share my hometown (Temuco, Chile) with belovéd Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Although Neruda died in 1973, when I was just a wee girl, still, I like to think that he and I drank of the same water, breathed the same air. In my dreams we walk down Temuco streets together: I am 8 and he is old and always we are walking. He has the kindest, sparkliest eyes, and we play a game which only allows us to speak in metaphor.
I like to translate my favorite Neruda poetry into English, my now-main language. Today I bring you one of my very favoritest poems of all, the one that always takes me back to Hide ‘n’ Seek:
Keeping Quiet (Pablo Neruda)
[translation (c) Heidi Fischbach, 2013]
Now we will count to twelve
and we’ll all keep still.
For once upon the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
for one second let us stop,
and not move our arms about so much.
It would be a fragrant minute,
without hurry, without locomotives,
we would all be together
in a sudden, strange unease.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to whales
and the salt miner
would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.
Don’t confuse what I want
with a total lack of action:
life is only what we do,
I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren’t all so complicit
about keeping our lives in such motion,
perhaps doing nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves,
this threatening ourselves with death,
and perhaps the earth would teach us
as when everything appears to be dead
and then turns out to have been alive.
Now I will count to twelve
and you’ll be quiet and I will go.
[Hear Heidi read it in Spanish: HERE]
Hey! Shhhh… Yes you! Wanna hide on my massage table? You can schedule your next session online HERE (easy peasy!)