Archive for September, 2010

My fingers felt frozen to the pen.  I shook my hands and burrowed deeper into the layers of sweaters around me and waited.  The Brown Buffalo sat across from me, staring into the fire, sipping his coffee with obvious relish.  He radiated content and stillness.  I was resolved to wait as long as necessary for him to speak.  To stop thinking about the cold, I began my usual mental catalogue of recent failures.  The stalled outline, the scattered research schedule, fighting with my wife.  It went on.  The Buffalo couldn’t be rushed.  His time was mountain and stone time.  River time, the slow ticking of water through rock.  I shook my hands again and returned to my list.

He was a big man; shaggy, bearded, and the color of mesquite bark.  His eyes were large and didn’t look at you so much as sweep over you, seeing everything. Just as I put my pen in my right hand in order to reach down for my coffee, he cleared his throat.  I almost dropped everything and the Brown Buffalo smiled a small, mischievous smile.

“You’re dead.  That is, you’ve just died. Your spirit floats up out of your body and leaves all the pain, doubt, and scheming for joy behind it.  As you rise towards the light of the next world, you are stopped by the voice of the Divine.  It tells you that you have been granted extra time back on Earth.  It does not say how long that time will be, but you know that this is something special.  Something precious.  In the next moment, you are in your body again, feeling the weight and the energy of your flesh, the words of the Divine echoing in your mind.  You open your eyes and the world is different.  You can no longer look at it the same way.  It’s time to get to work.

This is what I tell myself when I sit down to write.”

The Brown Buffalo went back to sipping his coffee.  I took a deep breath and began to scratch my pen across the page, warm now beneath the words.


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