Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wednesday Wish (34)

Scented memories spoken with pictures. I think I’m asleep when a movie begins to play, its scent ridden in on the back of a breeze. I inhale the strangely sweet char, watch the tall green blades of grass begin to appear and suddenly, I am transported back, deep into the Papua New Guinean jungle….

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My sandaled feet, lightly dusted with dirt, are taking me to where we are living—a hut in the middle of a coffee plantation in the Eastern Highlands. I breathe it all in again, to be sure I am where I was called, and this time I take in not just the blades of grass but the scent of bilums (bags woven from tree bark), and fried flour balls, bottles of blue kerosene, and wisps of unnamed smoke, and let me not forget the ginger stewing in the bottom of my tin cup—all of it wiped with an invisible rag across my face. It’s with with me now, as if I never left.

I come up to the tightly woven walls my adopted family and I call home. The fire in the dirt courtyard is smoldering. A tarp piled high with red coffee beans waits for tending. A baby pig grunts as he scrambles out of my way. He came from inside the house.

A group of women are waiting for me. It’s the day they have decided to transform me, to make me into one of them. I find my strength—breathe and trust—that what they will do to me wont hurt and it wont last. I am so present that I don’t even remember to get my camera ready.

They are gentle with me as they undress me to my underclothes, as they paint my body, as they decorate me in feathers and woven tree bark, in bird beaks and leaves. My face, my arms, my legs, my back and chest—I am multi-colored, shiny with pig fat, my skin alive, immersed in loving attention.

They mumble as they work and even more, they laugh, oh, do they laugh. And not a controlled laugh like the kind we westerners are used to. A high-pitched squeal that isn’t just fresh and wild to twenty-five year old me, it reeks of authenticity. They are happy! They are excited!

“Its time,” they say between giggles.
“Time?” I ask, still not sure of the language that I am trying to speak.
“Yes, time for you to ‘sing-sing’,” says my adopted mama, her hand upon my shoulder.

And as I peek my head out the door to emerge from the palm thatched roof, I know right away I won’t be ‘sing-singing’ alone. Kids, dogs, pigs, even my elderly bubu with a missing finger for every child she lost over the years was ready to accompany me. They start to chant. Someone bangs on a drum. And then they begin to bounce. We begin to bounce. All the way down the street…with high pitched squealing, dogs barking, old men staring, and kids fighting over who can dance next to Linimuto, little mountain, a name that I will never, ever forget.
Image by Jerry Oldenettel via Flickr

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My Wednesday Wish for You?

If you can’t travel this week, journey with your imagination. Visit new lands, meet new people, open your mind to new ways of seeing, thinking, feeling and believing.  Resist stagnation, embrace change, for change keeps our spirits alive and our hearts beating with passion. Passion? Yes, passion for life.


  1. I am not sure I would have the courage to do that - to let go that completely... I'll have to think about that today, while I do some traveling close by. Provacative story...

    1. If I think about it from afar, I dont know if I would either, Michael. But I did. Its not something I thought thru at the time so much as felt thru. The women were kind and caring and that sense won out. Just as it would have for you, if you were there. No part of it was sexual. Sensual, yes. Intimate, yes. But I had many intimate moments in New Guinea. When we lose our 'modern' layers and go back to being the raw vulnerable souls we really are its the natural way to be...intimate. We connect. Maybe thats why I love living with people who are more closely connected to the earth. They teach me to be more of who I really am and to share that me with others.

  2. Actually is it a provocative story...

  3. I could do this, simply. I have no modern layers, and if I did, they would be but light raiment, dropped unheeded in the heat of day, a simple wrap that failed to find its home upon my shoulders.

    I do this in daily life, allowing others to clothe and decorate me in the fashion that makes them comfortable, and ease communication and interaction. Though mere thoughts and expectations, they are but cloth to drape my form. It is not permanent, and if it eases their fears and makes them comfortable with my spirit, I am at peace. I wear many different raiments throughout the day, and though they change my outward appearance to those who can only look, they that see, see that I remain, myself.

    I would relish the opportunity to be changed, by those who would make me their own. I am of many tribes, and accept much adornment. Those that would dress me as they, that I may be welcomed into their heart and village, would be most welcomed. It is nice to dress to fit in, how much better though, to be be transformed by those who wish you to be a part of them. That is the difference between a splash of sun dancing on a hardwood floor, and the beauty of standing in an open field, the sun filling your soul with light and the heat of passion.

    Thank you Linimuto, for sharing your transformation. I was there with you, singing their songs and dancing their dance.

    1. dear, dear John...your words are beautiful but the sentiment behind them are even more beautiful. Your comments outshine my post, dear soul...soOo touched and soOo happy that you share as you do! Thank you, my friend. You squeeze out the essence, you taste the nectar, you take a bite of the juiciest core and share with all of us the elixir you taste within. Joy!:) Happy Easter, John!